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I&P Acceleration Technologies aims to contribute to the emergence of the first African digital startups in countries where financing solutions are still scarce. The program will support around ten entrepreneurs, giving them access to appropriate financing and skills.

Program overview

I&P Acceleration Technologies targets African digital startups (or startups whose a signicant part of their activity is linked to digital).

The program will provide selected companies with financing support. The funding will allow these companies to move beyond poof of concept to demonstrate their model and continue their growth. This financing will often be the first ‘’professional’’ financing, apart from family or friends financing.

The startups financed will also benefit from capacity building through external technical assistance support. This support will focus on technological issues (platform development for example) but also on the typical issues faced by young companies (accounting reinforcement, marketing support, team training, etc.)

Calendar             2020-2023
Size                      €2,5 million
Geography          Subsaharian Africa
Sector                  Digital, Tech
Portfolio              10 to 15 startups

 Context: why supporting the digital sector?

Investisseurs & Partenaires has been financing and supporting small and medium-sized African companies since 2002 and has clearly observed that African entrepreneurs have taken the digital turn in the last few years.

These startups are the place for technical innovations and of specific use to African situations: the emergence of pay-as-you-go for access to essential services (energy, water), access to healthcare services and health, online training services, artificial intelligence programs, innovative means of payment, dissemination of information (climate, market prices), or improvement and contribution to existing services (e.g. digital logistics to overcome the last mile problem).

African entrepreneurs took the switch to digital in a very clear way. The geographical coverage of the 3G and 4G network, the growing improvement of the Internet network, and the strong and rapid penetration of mobile phones are key factors in this trend.

 

However, these digital companies require specific financing and support tools :

⇒ They present a much higher level of risk than their counterparts in “conventional” sectors, their business models being often innovative.

⇒ They aim for a rapid and significant scale-up (large number of service users), and indeed they face significant financing needs very early in their development cycle.

⇒ They also have an extremely high potential for impact.

The Sponsor: the French Development Agency

The AFD group finances, supports, and accelerates transitions towards a more just and sustainable. Climate, biodiversity, peace, education, urbanization, health, governance… Its teams are involved in more than 4000 projects in 115 countries and French overseas territories.

Since 2016, the agency has been actively supporting digital innovation on the African continent, through initiatives such as the AFD Digital Challenge startup competition, the Afric’innov, AFIDBA, and the Social and Inclusive Business Camp (SIBC). The I&P Acceleration Technologies program is financed by the Digital Africa seed fund, which is a component of the Choose Africa offer by which AFD Group commits to devoting 2,5 billion euros to African startups, VSEs and SMEs by 2022.

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