A total of 20 African start-ups have the opportunity to get early stage capital of between $250, 000 and $1.5 million from the World Bank Group following the launch of XL Africa, a business acceleration program to support the most promising digital start-ups from sub-Saharan Africa.
Digital start-ups are vital drivers of innovation in the continent and XL Africa comes at a time of growing interest in Africa’s digital space. A Disrupt Africa report found that the number of tech start-ups that secured funding increased by 16.8 per cent in 2016 as compared to 2015.
Makhtar Diop, Vice President for the Africa Region, World Bank said, “To scale and spread new technologies and services beyond borders, they need an integrated ecosystem that provides access to regional markets and global finance; pan-African initiatives like XL Africa play a critical role by linking local start-ups with corporations and investors across the continent”.
The initiative will collaborate with prominent African investment groups including African Business Angel Network (ABAN), AngelHub Ventures, Goodwell Investments, Knife Capital, Nest Africa, Silvertree Capital, Singularity Investments, South African Business Angel Network (SABAN), TLcom Capital, Zephyr Acorn and 4Di Capital; and corporate partners Orange, Eco, Ringier and Thomson Reuters.
Interested start-ups are invited to apply on XL-Africa.com by Monday 12 June 2017.
The program’s flagship activities will include a two-week residency in Cape Town, South Africa where the ventures will interact with and learn from their mentors, peers and local partners.
The residency will conclude with the Venture Showcase where the entrepreneurs will present their business models to corporations and investors.
XL Africa is funded by the governments of Finland, Norway and Sweden. It will be administered by the World Bank Group with implementation support from IMC Worldwide, VC4A and Koltai and Co.