American entrepreneurial pre-accelerator, Draper University and Smart Africa have announced a partnership aimed at strengthening Start-Up and Innovation Ecosystems in Africa.
The partnership, which was confirmed through a Memorandum of Understanding, is meant to support the work that the Smart Africa Secretariat is doing around Start-Ups and Innovation Ecosystems across the continent. This is a flagship project spearheaded by the Republic of Tunisia with Smart Africa expected to launch a continental blueprint later this year.
“The track record, experience and success that Draper University has in supporting entrepreneurs makes this partnership key in developing Africa’s Start-Ups and Innovation Ecosystems. We look forward to collectively creating relevant and robust acceleration programs and ensuring that our start-ups and innovators are ready for investment,” said Mr. Lacina Koné, the Director General of Smart Africa.
Smart Africa and Draper University will work together with member countries to create an acceleration program from African Startups, support the creation of a Draper University campus in Africa, support the creation of an investor capacity program for Africa and to provide relevant capacity building for African Startups. This is to ensure that startups in Africa can grow and that they can attract investment from around the world.
“Smart Africa is a crucial initiative in developing ICT ecosystems in Africa, but also in uniting the different efforts driven to support African startups boost innovation. We look forward to working with Smart Africa to train, accelerate and invest in African heroes. The world needs them today more than ever” said Mareme Dieng, the head of international partnerships of the Draper Ecosystem.
This partnership comes at an opportune time when African startups are some of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the success rate of existing startups has fallen. Through Smart Africa’s Startups and Innovation Ecosystems flagship project and with the experience and know-how of Draper University, startups are expected to receive a much needed shot in the arm across Africa.