World Bank Group member IFC has invested US$1 million into the Anava Seed Fund, an accelerator and early-stage fund managed by Flat6Labs Tunis, to help support tech entrepreneurship, and female entrepreneurs in particular, in Tunisia.
IFC, which supports investment programmes in Egypt and has also directly backed African tech startups such as Vezeeta and Twiga Foods, said the investment would also boost Tunisia’s nascent venture capital ecosystem.
The funding will be used by Flat6Labs Tunis to increase the size of the Anava Seed Fund to US$10 million to support up to 100 tech startups. With half of the IFC’s contribution coming from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), it is also set to directly assist female entrepreneurs. As part of the We-Fi programme, IFC will also work with Flat6Labs to support women entrepreneurs and help them overcome the challenges they face through a gender-led strategy to foster greater inclusion and create more opportunities.
“We believe that our partnership with IFC will enable us to continue providing entrepreneurs with a better support program and encourage more candidates, especially women, to apply and thrive through it,” said Ramez El-Serafy, chief executive officer (CEO) at Flat6Labs.
Georges Joseph Ghorra, IFC’s resident representative in Tunisia, said early-stage funding was vital to building a robust startup ecosystem and helping entrepreneurs establish companies that can develop innovative solutions and create jobs.
“We aim to address the funding gaps in this space, especially for women entrepreneurs, to continue to spur innovation and economic growth in Tunisia and the region,” he said.