African startups invited to apply for Lisbon accelerator

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African tech startups have been invited to apply for the Lisbon-based Building Global Innovators (BGI) accelerator programme, which will offer up to 16 ventures support valued at EUR1 million (US$1.14 million).

The BGI accelerator is run by the University Institute of Lisbon (IUL) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) local entity MIT Portugal.

Other partners include the Deshpande Centre for Technological Innovation and the Martin Trust Centre for Entrepreneurship.

The programme is aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs and tech-based startups no older than five years old, working on solutions in the e-health, smart cities, enterprise IT and water economy spaces.

BGI will accept up to 16 ventures for the nine-month programme, which offers startups in-kind support valued at EUR1 million, with over 1,150 hours of expert mentorship and business development per team.

All teams will take part in acceleration bootcamps at the IUL in Lisbon, while selected teams will also be given the opportunity to travel to Boston to attend a bootcamp at MIT.

Startups will receive continued alumni support for up to five years upon graduation, while a EUR100,000 (US$114,000) venture capital investment will be made in the most promising venture by financial sponsor Caixa Capital.

So far, 52 per cent of the companies accelerated by BGI received financing within 18 months. The first call for applications closes on April 30, with remaining vacancies to be filled if necessary by a second call ending on June 5.

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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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