mLab-supported tech startups have 84% survival rate


African tech startups supported by any of the various mLabs set up across the continent by infoDev has a survival rate of 84 per cent, according to a new analysis by the World Bank.

Since 2011, infoDev has been piloting entrepreneurship support programmes across the globe and has helped establish a network of mLabs to support digital entrepreneurs.

A new analysis of their impact on the startups they serve carried out by the World Bank has found the mLabs have helped startups progress from the early stage of customer discovery to the later growth stages.

On average, mLab-supported tech startups achieved an 84 per cent survival rate, with the World Bank saying the next challenge was to help these companies move from startup to scale-up.

“Over the last few years, there has been a lot of excitement around the potential impact of digital technologies to solve challenges and create jobs in the developing world. Those championing this strategy for growth and development have turned to young entrepreneurs with wildly imaginative ideas that just might work — if only they had a little business training,” the World Bank said.

“The mLabs were among the pioneer incubation programmes in the countries they served, and the recent assessment credits them with helping prove the incubation model and enabling other tech hubs through knowledge sharing.”

At the same time, it said the mLabs have had to continually adapt their service offerings and business models in response to rapidly changing ecosystems.

“Surprisingly, many of the entrepreneurs surveyed attributed their success to networking, whether formally or informally, with peers and mentors,” the World Bank said.

“The training on technical skills and business planning are certainly valuable, but in those moments when you’re struggling with the day-to-day challenges of launching a business, it helps to turn to a fellow entrepreneur who might have faced the same issues.”


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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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