Leaders of 15 African incubators, accelerators and seed funds have been selected to participate in VilCap Communities Africa, a programme led by Village Capital to accelerate the flow of capital to early-stage companies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Disrupt Africa reported in July on the launch of the VilCap Communities programme, which is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). It aims to equip entrepreneur ecosystem leaders with the tools, resources and connections they need to catalyse impact investment.
The 15 finalists will take part in forums led by Village Capital later this year in Lagos and Nairobi, capped off by a major convening in Cape Town in November, where they will learn and share the latest best practices, including Village Capital’s proprietary curriculum and peer-selected investment process.
More than 200 incubators, accelerators and funds applied for the programme, with the selected finalists operating across 20 African countries. The group brings together a mixture of types of organisations, from both mature and nascent ecosystems.
The Lagos cohort includes pan-African energy and hardware organisation Energy Generation, Sierra Leone’s Global Entrepreneurship Network Freetown, Ghana’s Growth Mosaic, the DRC-based investment company Ingenious City, and the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria.
The Nairobi cohort features coding school Andela, Tanzanian innovation organisation Anza, Ethiopian agribusiness incubator blueMoon, Rwandan incubator Entreprenarium, Benin-based tech hub Etrilabs, Moroccan and West African open innovation cluster Jokkolabs, and the Southern Africa Venture Partnership, an alliance between three entrepreneur support organisations – BongoHive from Zambia, Tech Village from Zimbabwe, and mHub from Malawi.
“Passion and vision are important, but entrepreneurs also need to have a plan to deploy capital efficiently to generate a return on investment. At Village Capital we specialise in helping entrepreneurs think like investors, and we’re excited to share what we’ve learned over the past eight years with this elite group of leaders in Africa,” said Allie Burns, managing director at Village Capital.
“The number of incubators and accelerators in Africa has grown exponentially, but the number of successful startups on the continent has not grown at the same rate,” said Rachel Crawford, innovation manager for emerging markets at Village Capital. “It’s still hard to raise capital and scale a business in too many parts of the continent, and we know that entrepreneurial ecosystem leaders are the key to bridging that gap.”