2017 Winter Africa Startup Ecosystem

We launched 3 pilot accelerators last year and will offer 4 more accelerators across Europe, Asia, Africa, and America in 2017. This is the summary report for the Africa Startup Ecosystem.


In an effort to increase exposure of African startups to global investors and resources, Africa Startup Ecosystem announced the launch of the first digital startup accelerator for the region. The accelerator program begins with a full startup development boot camp covering ideation, product development, marketing, customer acquisition and funding. The boot camp is followed by workshop keynotes from Lean Launchpad, Forbes list entrepreneurs, and key investors. The program concludes with a demo day where the top ten companies pitch in front of judges from across the region for top prizes.“The future is digital, so startup ecosystems in emerging markets need to take advantage of that with programs like this one” says Christine Souffrant Ntim, “we launched digital accelerators for entrepreneurs of Africa and the diaspora to close the resource gap and diversify global startup success stories”.The pilot accelerator program on January 9-10, 2017 accepted 100 startups.Here is a review of the program.
  • Check out the 100+ companies selected for the 2017 Winter Batch.
  • Check out the top 10 companies selected for 2017 Winter Demo Night.
  • Check out the top 3 companies selected as winners of the 2017 Winter Accelerator.
  • Check out the winter 2017 program agenda here.
  • Apply to the Fall 2017 Digital Accelerator.—————————ANNOUNCEMENT—————————————-
  • Access the slides here. 
  • Join the global network here.
The Applicant Pool: 
Over 71% of the companies were founded within the past two years. Industries represented included,  e-commerce, education, social apps, transportation, communications and travel. Amazingly- the majority of the applicant pool had traction in terms of users, revenue, and product development. Which leads us to believe that startup founders are leveraging resources and mentorship in the region. More demographics on the cohort is below.      
In seeing the great resources provided within the region, Africa Startup Ecosystem surveyed the applicant pool to determine the top needs and interests pertaining to startup development. As expected funding and customer acquisition was the most requested topic for mentorship. Since we customize programming based on applicant needs, we provided a multiplicity of speakers, content, and resources around those two topics.
Day 1 Review: Day one of the accelerator was 4+ hours of jam packed content.Christine Souffrant Ntim kicked it off with a 2-hour business boot camp covering all stages of startup development. Here is the agenda:January 9, 2017- Business Boot Camp

  • 6pm-6:15 Orientation
  • 6:15-6:30 How to Launch a Startup in 24 Hours- The Ultimate Check List
  • 6:30-7:00 Ideation & Product Development
  • 7:00-7:30 Customer Acquisition
  • 7:30-8:00 Pitching, Press & Marketing
  • 8:00-9:00 Legal, Funding, Branding

The intense nature of the business boot camp is to provide tactics, strategies and top learnings around building a company while leveraging free resources. From Y-Combinator’s free 10-week online program to raising millions with database searches to coding an MVP – the program covered many areas.

Day 2 Review: With a night of rest, the program continued with an intense 3-hour finale of keynotes, pitches, and reflections. We kicked off the program with a review of day one then continued with top keynote presentations. The agenda is below:

January 10, 2017- Pitch Off Night

  • 6pm-6:15 Review
  • 6:15-7:15 Keynote Speakers
  • Olumide Olayinka—-Founder of Startup Lagos, Organizer of the Lagos Startup Week
  • Evelyn Gitau—Program Manager at The African Academy of Sciences
  • Uwemakpan Uwemedimo —Startup Grind Chapter Director Lagos
  • Mac-Jordan Degadjor- Blogger & Tech Consultant
  • Aniedi Udo-Obong Leveraging Communities to Grow Your Startup
  • 7:15-8:00 Top 10 Pitch Demo Night
  • 8:00-9:00 Q/A With the Judges

The keynote series was then followed up with a 1-hour pitch demo of the top 10 companies selected from the program. Each company had 1 minute to pitch their company with slide show presentations and receive q/a from our guest judges (representing Singularity, Bold Emerge Capital and SXSW).

Now, for the final results! We are pleased to announced the top 3 winners for the 2017 Winter Africa Digital Startup Accelerator! Winners represented Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana. It was a tough competition but the top three winners are Loystar with 31 points, Intelligent Routing with 31 points, and Edusko with 29 points. The tie was broken with the popular vote with Loystar receiving more votes then Intelligent Routing. Rent Your Hall was the winner of the popular vote.

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