This Israeli accelerator wants to back African startups

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The MassChallenge accelerator has launches its newest programme in Israel with the goal of supporting 100 startups in its first two years, and it is actively seeking African startups to accelerate.

A Jerusalem-based, no-equity accelerator, Mass Challenge will award up to ILS1 million (US$255,000) in cash prizes to top startups.

The accelerator focuses on promising startups across Israel, but also looks to serve as an attractive entry-point for entrepreneurs all over the world who are eager to access Israel’s thriving environment for startups.

Entrepreneurs receive mentorship, office space, education, access to a vast network and other resources during four months of acceleration, with cash awards in no-equity, non-dilutive grants provided to top startups at the end.

Mass Challenge is looking for applicants from all over the world, including Africa.

“Israel has so much to offer high-impact startups – a multibillion dollar tech ecosystem, hundreds of multinational corporations, abundant partnership opportunities, and deep technical expertise across sectors such as cybersecurity, IoT, fintech, food, water, and agrotech, medical devices, eHealth, neurosciences, and so much more,” Israel Ganot, managing director of MassChallenge Israel, told Disrupt Africa.

“We are eager to attract startups throughout the world, including the increasingly vibrant innovation ecosystems in Africa. Israel is an ideal environment for their growth, and we are confident they can benefit greatly from the mentorship, support, and resources of our Israeli accelerator.”

Key partners for the MassChallenge Israel accelerator include the Israel Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, Jerusalem Development Authority, the City of Jerusalem, Israel Ministry of Economy, The Kraft Group, Bank Hapoalim, CJP of Greater Boston, EMC, Liberty Mutual, Herzog Fox Ne’eman, and Yigal Arnon & Co.

Applications for the accelerator are open until March 31, after which a judging period will take place until early May. The finalists will be announced on May 19, with the programme taking place between July and October.

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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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