Leaders of 15 incubators, accelerators and seed funds were selected to participate in VilCap Communities Africa, an innovative programme led by Village Capital to accelerate the flow of capital to early-stage companies in sub-Saharan Africa. The programme is supported by the Impact Programme which is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
The 15 finalists will take part in forums this fall led by Village Capital in Lagos and Nairobi, capped off by a major convening in Cape Town in November, where they will learn and share the latest best practices, including Village Capital’s proprietary curriculum and peer-selected investment process.
Village Capital has run more than fifty investment-readiness programmes across the globe, including eight in sub-Saharan Africa that have directly supported more than 80 entrepreneurs and facilitated 16 seed-stage investments. VilCap Communities Africa will build on this experience to equip entrepreneur ecosystem leaders with the tools, resources and connections they need to catalyze impact investment.
“Passion and vision are important, but entrepreneurs also need to have a plan to deploy capital efficiently to generate a return on investment,” said Allie Burns, Managing Director at Village Capital. “At Village Capital we specialize in helping entrepreneurs think like investors, and we’re excited to share what we’ve learned over the past eight years with this elite group of leaders in Africa.”
“The number of incubators and accelerators in Africa has grown exponentially, but the number of successful startups on the continent has not grown at the same rate,” said Rachel Crawford, Innovation Manager for Emerging Markets at Village Capital. “It’s still hard to raise capital and scale a business in too many parts of the continent, and we know that entrepreneurial ecosystem leaders are the key to bridging that gap.”
The 15 finalists were chosen from more than 200 incubators, accelerators and funds that applied. They operate in 20 African countries, including Ethiopia, Benin, Tanzania, Senegal and Cote D’Ivoire. The group brings together a mixture of types of organisations, some from more mature ecosystems such as Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and some from very nascent ecosystems such as Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
Cohort One (Lagos)
- Energy Generation (Pan African) -An energy and hardware focused organisation aiming to solve African challenges with African-led technology and entrepreneurship innovations.
- Global Entrepreneurship Network Freetown (Sierra Leone)-The GEN Sierra Leone are building the nascent entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sierra Leone through their combined incubator and accelerator program. They run Freetown Pitch Night, the Creative Business Cup and Future Agro Challenge.
- Growth Mosaic (Ghana) – Growth Mosaic is a social-purpose business preparing small and growing businesses to access and manage investment. They reduce execution risks and improve the investability of clients. This enables clients to attract growth investment and improve deal flow for investors.
- Ingenious City – Sycomore Ventures (Democratic Republic of Congo)- Sycamore Ventures is a for-profit investment company with two activities: Ingenious City, a platform for incubators, and Sycamore Venture Investments, a venture capital company that invests in early stage startups in DRC.
- Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (Nigeria) – Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace (NHIM) is a convergence platform for innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, healthcare practitioners/advocates, NGOs, development partners and all key actors in the healthcare value chain from conceptualizer to end user. The marketplace explores and shapes alternative approaches to improving healthcare in Nigeria.
- Suguba (West Africa)– “Suguba” means “big marketplace” in Mande. It is a regional platform with the vision to develop robust entrepreneurial ecosystems in Francophone West Africa,to foster regional integration by connecting entrepreneurs of the region to create strong integrated value chains or gain regional market opportunities.Especially for youth and women led enterprises.
- The Innovation Village (Uganda)– The Innovation Village is Uganda’s launchpad for leading innovators and entrepreneurs. From helping entrepreneurs launch and grow high-impact ventures to attracting regional and global opportunities, their ecosystem approach converges multiple partners including public, private, academia, research and civil society as one force for good.
- Ventures Platform (Nigeria)– Ventures Platform is an enterprise development organisation focused on building and supporting entrepreneurs and innovators who leverage technology to create solutions to Africa’s most urgent problems. Their vision is to ‘create inclusive and sustainable wealth in Africa, by building the capacity of African entrepreneurs and innovators to create sustainable solutions to the most urgent problems on the African continent.
Cohort Two (Nairobi)
- Andela (Nigeria)–The Andela Entrepreneurship Center is a new initiative with the immediate aim of equipping Andelans with the required entrepreneurial skills and resources needed to maximize their impact and infuse Andela’s values into the global technology ecosystem.
- Anza (Tanzania) – An innovation organisation founded on the belief that entrepreneurs will transform Tanzania. Understanding the challenges faced by many growing enterprises, Anza provides personalised and strategic capacity building, affordable capital and relevant networks.
- blueMoon (Ethiopia)– Launched operations in January 2017 as Ethiopia’s first agribusiness/agri-tech incubator and seed investor. Their mission is to discover, incubate, and invest in exceptional, “once in a blue moon” ideas.
- Entreprenarium (Rwanda) – Entreprenarium Foundation helps entrepreneurs create and sustain businesses that will create jobs, income and wealth across Africa. Their mission is to make entrepreneurs’ businesses feasible, fundable, profitable, bigger, sustainable, and impactful.
- Etrilabs (Benin)–Founded in 2009, Educational Technology and Research International Benin(EtriLabs) is the oldest and largest technology hub in Benin. They leverage the unique opportunity of technology to jumpstart lasting change in the communities they serve.
- Jokkolabs (West Africa, Morocco)– Jokkolabs is a non profit independent organization that serves as an open innovation ecosystem and a virtual cluster for social change based on an organic entrepreneur community and a network of innovation centers. Their vision is to inspire and develop a community of collaborative entrepreneurs to invent the future for a shared prosperity.
- Southern Africa Venture Partnership (Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe)- The Southern Africa Venture Partnership (SAVP) is an organisation dedicated to countering the gaps in critical resources needed to sustainably nurture high growth potential startup ventures in Southern Africa. The partnership is an alliance between three entrepreneur support organisations; BongoHive from Zambia, Tech Village from Zimbabwe and mHub from Malawi.