Seedstars World (SSW), the global community and platform for entrepreneurs in technology in emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes, hosted the Seedstars Summit, the thirds of the annual Africa Summit that connects the most relevant players in innovation and technology with the world and between each other.
After hosting competitions in 20+ African countries throughout 2017, identifying the most promising startups and analyzing the local ecosystems, Seedstars World brought together the best and most promising entrepreneurs with ecosystem players, mentors, investors, corporates and other entrepreneurs across the continent. The event was hosted by local ambassador organisation UX Information Technologies with Standard Bank as the main platinum sponsor and supported by local and international partners such as the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Embassy of Switzerland, Enel, Merck, Orange, Microsoft, amongst others.
The Africa Regional Summit lasted for 3 days and brought together over 500 attendees commencing with a bootcamp for the participating startups, an ecosystem tour, investor day and culminated with a Conference on December 14th.
“We have been on a long and interesting journey when it comes to entrepreneurship and technology in emerging markets. As part of the Seedstars DNA we want to be on the ground working directly with startups, corporates and other stakeholders. This is exactly the reason why we are travelling to 88+ ecosystems globally this year over 20 countries in Africa. We are very excited to be able to bring the entire network together in Mozambique this year and together look into some of the opportunities of the continent and explore how technologies can rapidly improve the current status quo in emerging markets worldwide.” says Claudia Makadristo, Regional Manager for Africa.
THE CONFERENCE –
The main stage was divided into 4 sessions and thematics followed by 20 startup pitches of the Seedstars local winners pitching on stage.
The Rise of the Underdog:The session highlighted how different countries are playing their part in changing the African narrative and building and improving environment for entrepreneurs in technology from the ground up, with the aim of turning Africa into the top dog.
From Informal to the Formal Economy: There exists a sizeable informal economy on which millions of Africans depend. This sessions deep dives into the untapped opportunities of one of the biggest markets in Africa.
From No Tech to High Tech: From arts to government and religion, there are certain industries that one usually doesn’t associate technology with. Over the past years we have witnessed some of these traditional industries connecting with the next generation of entrepreneurs to use technology to solve some of their biggest challenges. This session touches on the importance of collaboration between these different players and zooms into the life of pathmakers from across the continent
MOVERS MOBILE & MOBILITY: This session gives an interesting touch on movers, mobile technology players and reaching the “last mile”, whether it is delivery to those residing in rural areas, to reaching communities, countries and cultures across the continent.
In addition to the main stage session, a number of workshops were organised to address specific thematics from Sexual Reproductive Health to civic technology.
THE BOOTCAMP – Prior to the conference, Seedstars World will hosted a 2 day invite-only Bootcamp, where local and international pre-selected startups will work with world-class local and international mentors on improving their business models, growth strategy and mastering the investor pitch.
THE INVESTOR FORUM – The conference week also brought together the most prominent and active investors on the continent.
THE ECOSYSTEM TOUR – The main ecosystem builders on the continent as well as a delegation of VIP-invitees were also invited to engage with the local ecosystem in a so called “knowledge exchange session”. In addition, the delegates visited factories, incubation/acceleration spaces, and engage in discussions with government entities to get a better understanding of the locally applied policies designed to support entrepreneurship in the country.
SIDE EVENTS – In addition, a number of different side-events were organised around the conference. Such as the official opening of the Orange Corners Maputo Incubator by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
“They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.” – Mexican proverb
Seedstars is a Swiss based group of companies which has the goal of impacting people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. Seedstars connects stakeholders within these ecosystems, builds companies from scratch with public and private partners and invests in high growth startups. Through different activities of startup scouting, company building and acceleration programs, the team has now access to entrepreneurs, investors, incubators, corporations and government officials from 80+ countries.
The Seedstars group includes Seedstars World, a worldwide startup competition; Seedstars Growth, a four month virtual acceleration program; Seedspace, a network of coworking and co-living spaces and Seedstars Academy, a six months program to train aspiring local entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses.