India-headquartered accelerator Startup Réseau has opened applications for the Wazo Challenge East Africa, which offers selected startups access to mentorship, technology credits and funding.
Startup Réseau launched its East Africa outpost in January, under its new Africa-focused brand Hindsight Ventures. Having started out with the Wazo Challenge Tanzania in February, Startup Réseau has quickly concluded three venture bootcamps in the region, building out a portfolio of 44 tech startups.
The Wazo Challenge East Africa is aimed at 18-to-30 year-old entrepreneurs from 19 countries across the UN-designated Eastern Africa region, and is open to startups that are leveraging technology and building innovative and scalable solutions across financial services, healthcare, agriculture, energy and education.
Twelve selected startups will take part in a four-week programme granting them access to Startup Réseau’s global pool of mentors, investors, industry experts and successful entrepreneurs. Each startup will get US$150,000 worth of technology credits from technology partners such as FreshWorks, AWS, IBM, Digital Ocean and HubSpot.
“Our broader thesis is that Africa has African problems to be solved by African talent, by leveraging technology and that’s what we are here to enable through our programs. Having started out with Tanzania as our beach-head, our vision has always been to be a pan-Africa operator,” said Ajay Ramasubramaniam, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Startup Réseau.
“We aim to build Wazo Challenge as a flagship annual programme that operates a country version and a regional version in Eastern Africa. We did our first country version in Tanzania, maybe next year we will do Kenya and then Uganda, and so on. However, we will have an annual East African version that will open up the programme to tech entrepreneurs from the extended Eastern Africa region.”