West African open innovation platform Kinaya Ventures has launched the Spring Fellowship, an accelerator programme that offers tech-enabled startups the opportunity to increase their traction and enter new markets.
Kinaya Ventures, based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and Dakar, Senegal, formed last year and has been deploying accelerator and upskilling programmes for African startup founders, including one in partnership with Facebook.
It has now launched the Spring Fellowship, which will see it undertake a pan-African tour to source early and later stage startups in Africa with proven track records and technological solutions capable of solving innovation challenges of industry leaders on the continent.
The goal of the tour is to identify startups in the agri-tech, food tech, ad-tech, marketing tech and retail tech spaces for its four-month accelerator programme, which begins in August in Abidjan. The tour agenda has seven meetups, in Accra, Lagos, Nairobi, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Abidjan, and Dakar.
Innovation challenges presented in the program rely on three principles: their direct contribution on improving African lives, their representation across several markets in Africa, and finally their ability to disrupt an industry.
Nestlé is the first partner to announce its participation in the Spring Fellowship through an innovation challenge that will positively impact the food industry value-chain. The Nestlé R&D innovation challenge is targeted to local startups and universities in several locations across six countries.
“Scaling-up is one of the most critical stages of startups’ life. The startups must accept to put at risk its cost structure and face new markets. On the other hand, industry leaders through collaboration with startups that own technological know-how can effectively solve their innovation problems,” said Laïssa Mouen, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Kinaya Ventures.
“Once the prototype is built, we accompany startups and corporate partners in the definition of a legal framework, which can lead to multi-country contracts. This is in line with Kinaya Ventures’ mission to connect the dots between startups, corporates and investors; and also to connect the dots between Francophone and Anglophone entrepreneurial ecosystems in Africa.”
Selected startups will be teamed up with the business and innovation teams of Spring Fellowship corporate partners in Abidjan, including the Nestlé R&D centre in Abidjan. This immersion will end with a demo day, where they will pitch in front of partners’ executive management as well as investors.