Startup Wise Guys, a European B2B startup accelerator, has announced that it is expanding its programs to Africa. Their first program is running in Namibia through its accelerator which is jointly organized with StartUp Namibia and Key2Investors.

Startup Wise Guys have indicated that they hope to introduce an additional four programs to East and West Africa by the end of 2022.

โ€œThe pandemic forced us to go digital with our programs and we saw an incredible number of African startups interested in joining our programs remotely. Africa had been on our radar for some time, but distance and logistics made it difficult. Alongside our partners, we are now able to offer on-the-ground startup acceleration, supported and led through digital platforms. Our focus is on African countries where our capacity-building expertise for early stage startups will make the biggest impact,โ€ said Cristobal Alonso, Global CEO at Startup Wise Guys.

Impact of COVID-19 on startups

The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa has been beyond the obvious health implications. There has also been a negative economic impact across the continent, this has severely affected African startups as well.

This is also why initiatives such as the new startup accelerator and fund in Namibia are important. Added to this, according to the African Development Bank, 22% of Africaโ€™s working-age population are starting businesses. This is reported to be the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world.

It is also encouraging to observe that during 2020, despite the global pandemic, African startups experienced a record amount of Venture Capital funding go to an all-time high number of startups.

Startup ecosystem capacity building

Startup Wise Guys have indicated that one of their aims is to launch programmes in countries where innovation is growing and where ecosystem capacity building can make the most meaningful impact.

The accelerator program will be a three-months long concluding in June 2021. Startup Wise Guys has said that they are currently supporting 24 selected Namibian startup founders, with an emphasis on raising investment and the fundamentals of leading a venture-backed business. StartUp Namibia, which launched in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic, is on a mission to grow Namibiaโ€™s startup ecosystem and has already run several programs with an emphasis on broad-based training.

The Startup Wise Guys Namibian acceleration program comprises an international cohort of experts on fundraising, sales, marketing, product development, finance, and legal matters. Local founders have been selected by StartUp Namibia based on innovation, market size, growth potential, and aptitude demonstrated in past local programs. The majority of participants, who are looking to raise up to N$600k, are B2B startups in areas such as agritech, legal tech,
and fintech.

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