More than 60 key players in the Senegalese innovation ecosystem came together last month to draft a startup act at the i4policy hackathon in Dakar, which they hope will help create a better environment for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Held at the Impact Hub Dakar, the aim of the gathering was to draft legislation similar to that of Tunisia, which has passed its own law aimed at making itself a “startup nation”.
i4Policy, Malaaka, Dakar Impact, Jokkolabs and other main actors in the Senegalese ecosystem came together at the two-day event, hoping to develop policies in a co-creation process.
The Senegal Startup Act contains a number of recommendations that aim to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, covering areas such as tax policies, startup financing, startup labeling, and the promotion of data collection and sharing so that entrepreneurs can develop better business plans.
At the end of the hackathon, the team submitted a draft of the act to the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Planning at the Ministry of the Digital Economy and the Department of Taxes and Domains. A consultation phase will be rolled out this month to consolidate the document and broaden the coalition of institutional actors working together for positive reform for innovation and entrepreneurship.
“Senegal’s startup manifesto will introduce a number of proposals to promote innovation and entrepreneurship by creating a more favourable environment for entrepreneurs who want to start startups in Senegal,” said Eva Sow Ebion, chief coordinator of the hackathon.
“I am convinced that together and in cooperation with our governments, we can change and improve our ecosystem and facilitate the birth and development and success of our talents.”
Abdoul Aziz Sy, manager of Impact Dakar, said he expected the event to lead to better mutual understanding amongst ecosystem participants.
“It is important for political authorities to better understand the difficulties and expectations of entrepreneurs. And of course, it is essential for civil society to have a better idea of where the reforms are and where the entrepreneurial ecosystem is going,” he said.
In May, African innovation leaders met at Impact Hub Kigali on the sidelines of the Transform Africa Summit to co-create the Africa Innovation Policy Manifesto. These attempts at co-creation of policies are now occurring at a more local level.