Date: 02/05/2023
Theme: Vie d'I&P

Since 2019 with the support of the European Union, I&P has been preparing small and medium-sized enterprises in the Sahelian sub-region for investment through the I&P Acceleration in the Sahel program. Three years after its launch, I&P is proud to present the first lessons of the program, identified following the mid-term evaluation carried out by Dalberg consulting firm.

Read the summary of the mid-term evaluation report

Read the full mid-term evaluation report (in english)

 Learn more about I&P Acceleration in Sahel




About I&P Acceleration in Sahel

Deployed over a 4-year period, I&P Acceleration in Sahel aims to create innovative, competitive SMEs, fostering growth and job creation in Sahelian countries. To meet this objective, the program has 3 complementary components: 

  • financial support through seed financing to meet the financing needs of companies during their incubation or acceleration phase, for amounts ranging from €3,000 to €60,000 (between CFAF 2 million and CFAF 40 million)
  • technical support through training courses and expert missions to strengthen the capacities of the companies financed and the teams of I&P's partner investment funds
  • specific support dedicated to entrepreneurial support structures (incubators, acceleration centers, start-up studios) to enable them to better support companies in their fundraising


 Evaluation methodology

Conducted during the second quarter of 2022, Dalberg's mid-term evaluation aimed to measure the impact of the program's interventions from a quantitative and qualitative point of view, and to identify its strengths and weaknesses to improve its implementation.

After drawing a map of the companies and entrepreneurial support structures from the program, a review, quantitative and qualitative data collection and interviews were carried out.

Main impacts of support for SMEs in the acceleration phase and of Entrepreneurship Support Structures

At the end of this mid-term assessment, a number of lessons were learned :

« The triptych of "financing, support, and technical assistance" is an element of the program’s attractiveness and effectiveness with regard to existing tools in the financial ecosystems of the countries concerned.  These three support components are complementary and inseparable: a company cannot grow without financing and cannot grow sustainably without making good use of financial resources.»


« Support and technical assistance enable entrepreneurs to make good management decisions and to train and retain human resources through good social governance. They also help them to raise funds, particularly through the implementation of accounting and financial management, but also play a security role for the financier who has an eye on the management of the company. »

Specifically, this acceleration program enables companies to :

  • Validation of business model
  • Increasing in sales revenue
  • Company formalization and structuration
  • Job creation for women and youth
  • Improving working conditions
  • Improving environmental, social and governance (ESG)
  • Fundraising support

In addition, thanks to specific support, the program also helps to strengthen the skills and services of entrepreneurial support structures, and thus contributes to creating a favorable business climate for small businesses in their early stages.

How can the impact of accelerator programs be improved? 

While accelerator programs are excellent springboards for small businesses, the study identifies three key ways to strengthen theif effectiveness and impacts :

  • Larger, more flexible funding : Limited to €60,000 per company within I&P Acceleration in Sahel, more than half of the entrepreneurs surveyed and teams feel that the amount of funding received may be insufficient. 
  • Longer, more intensive support : To meet all their needs, some companies hope for a longer overall support period (4 to 5 years), to give them more time to validate their business model.
  • Simplify administrative procedures : While technical assistance missions are highly appreciated by entrepreneurs, finding specialized and available external consultants is time-consuming, with administrative procedures based on international standards often complex, which can weaken companies by delaying their business planning.


 Download the summary of the mid-term evaluation report

Read the full mid-term evaluation report (in english)