Botswana Innovation Hub to launch seed fund

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The government-funded Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) is in the process of implementing an Innovation Fund to provide seed funding to startups in the country, and has raised BWP12 million (US$1.25 million) so far.

The Botswanan government is the primary shareholder in BIH, though a number of its innovation programmes are donor-funded through strategic partnerships with international organisations.

BIH runs a number of programmes, including an incubator – the First Steps Venture Centre (FSVC) – and a co-working space – the Cyber City Kgotla Developer Community – but is set to begin funding startups in the third quarter of 2015, according to FSVC programme manager Tshepo Tsheko.

The Innovation Fund will provide seed and early-stage growth funding to qualifying businesses, ideas and concepts that come through the innovation support programmes, Tsheko told Disrupt Africa, adding it would initially be grant-based.

“Even though the Botswana technology space has only started blooming in the last five years, Botswanan entrepreneurs have seen the potential in the innovation space here for many years. With not only Botswanans taking note, international corporates as well as expats have noticed the growing space,” Tsheko said.

“Today Botswana has very diverse culture in different spaces of technology, whether it is ICT or clean technology. With the youth being the biggest demographic of baby boomers in the tech space, the market anxiously welcomes innovation product development.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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