Six African entrepreneurs attended this year’s Westerwelle Young Founders Conference in Berlin, Germany, learned about German initiatives to foster entrepreneurship and pitching their businesses.
Disrupt Africa reported in March the Westerwelle Foundation had opened applications for the Westerwelle Young Founders Programme, looking for outstanding young entrepreneurs from developing and emerging countries to participate at the Young Founders Conference.
After more than 2,000 applications were received from all over the world, a cohort of 21 young entrepreneurs from 15 countries was selected to take part.
The cohort included six entrepreneurs from Africa, namely Zilla Mary Arach, co-founder of Uganda’s Akorion; Louw Barnardt, co-founder of South Africa’s Outsourced CFO; Sabrine Ibrahim, co-Founder of Tunisia’s ENVAST; Peter Kariuki, co-founder of Rwanda’s SafeMotos; Elizabeth Nyeko, co-founder of Uganda’s Mandulis Energy; and Francis Obirikorang, co-founder of Ghana’s AgroCenta.
As part of the conference, participants met with German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Brigitte Zypries, with three startup selected to present their companies to the minister. Among them was Arach, whose company Akorrion has developed the EzyAgric mobile app, which provides efficient services and products to farmers and agribusinesses in Uganda.
“Entrepreneurs who are bold and willing to take on the challenges they observe in their countries are essential to any economy’s growth,” she said. “I am happy to be able to share my experiences as an African founder with people from all over the world.”
In addition, the Young Founders visited several co-working spaces in the German capital and attended workshops led by local specialists. They were also introduced to mentors, who will support them by acting as sparring partners for their ideas and challenges throughout the year.
“As a young founder, having the opportunity to establish a regular exchange with someone who has already successfully dealt with most of the challenges you are facing is incredibly helpful,” said Obirikorang.