Building Africa's future and your business is hard.
There are so many uncertainties and uncontrollable variables.
Passion, grit and a great team are important in building a successful business, but they are not everything. So how do you maximize your chance of success?
You join a community that understands you and the uncertainties of your journey. A community that will support you all the way through thick and thin. A community that will give you the strength to endure dark nights of the soul while celebrating your big wins with you. A community that will provide an inspiring environment where a seed can be planted and grow from strenght to strength.
That's why the Seedstars community exists - to help you and your team navigate the stormy waters of entrepreneurship and to provide you with an environment where you can grow together with your startup.
In case you don't know Seedstars yet, now is the time to change that. And because there is so much value that you can get out of this community, we put together a guide to Seedstars Africa and the wider ecosystem.
Seedstars is an entrepreneurial community for ambitious global tech entrepreneurs from around the world and in particular with focus on those from emerging markets.
The community comprises the following:
Seedstars celebrates disruption, and the pioneers who create it. We roam the globe to connect with the digital changemakers of the emerging world shaping a new wave of social change. Our teams tread on the entrepreneurial arena across five continents, breaking stories about startups set upon defying the status quo. Our target represents 85% of the human population, the opportunities encompass billions of lives, the scope of impact is infinite.
Now in it's fifth edition the annual Seedstars Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland will be taking place on the 12th of April 2018.
65+ Startups that have been selected from 75+ countries from the fastest growing startup hubs globally will descend upon the Swiss canton of Vaud and compete for equity investment of up to $1,000,000! They will be joined by investors, government officials, corporate innovators, journalists, thought leaders and CEOs from Africa, Asia, LATAM, CEE and the MENA regions. 1000+ people will be in attendance.
As such this represents a fantastic opportunity for African tech entrepreneurs to not only compete for serious prize money but also to build a valuable network of potential investors, strategic partners and government collaborations. Beyond that the summit is a unique opportunity to get insights into trends that are shaping the future - Africa's and the world's at large.
African startups that will be participating at this year's summit include:
EMGuidance (South Africa): a mobile and web-based clinical support platform for medical professionals, providing instant access to locally relevant medicines information & clinical guidelines, tools and care coordination information.
Numida (Uganda): changing the way African small businesses access credit by using their data to predict risk and offer fair and affordable credit.
SolarFreeze (Kenya): pioneering mobile cold storage units powered by renewable energy for rural smallholder farmers, to help them reduce the huge challenge of post-harvest loss in much of the developing world, postharvest losses are as high as 80% and the cold-storage chain is virtually non-existent due to the high cost of equipment and spotty electricity.
Widebot (Egypt): first bot builder platform in the MENA. WideBOT allows anyone to build his/her own intelligent chatbot without any coding in only 10 minutes.
Medsaf (Nigeria): simplfifying the process of buying and selling medication for hospitals and pharmacies through the use of technology. Medications are sourced directly from leading local and foreign manufacturers, eliminating issues relating to quality control and ensuring fair pricing, and deliver these medications to hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics all over the country.
Giftedmom (Cameroon): leveraging last mile technologies to provide pregnant women and new mothers access to health information and strengthen linkages to antenatal care.
Perhaps the most important reason to attend is to be inspired. Building a business is fraught with so many challenges. Often it is a lonely journey full of doubt, setbacks and uncertainty that it can wear you down. Come and be inspired by AppsTech Ceo Rebecca Enonchong from Cameroon who will be sharing insights on the impact of culture in shaping the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Cameroonian Tech entrepreneur Rebecca Enonchong, founder and CEO of AppsTech and recipient of numerous awards including Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum will be one of the main speakers at this year's summit.
Being inspired and surrounded by people who believe in exploring the unexplored and daring to challenge current perceptions of what is possible can help you believe that you too can do it.
If you have the opportunity to go you should definitely not miss it. Participating in this event is one of the highlights of being part of the Seedstars community. Click on the button below and get 10% off the normal ticket prize.
As an ambitious entrepreneur you are most likely asking yourself how to be one of the selected startups that get to attend the Seedstars summit?
This is where the Seedstars World competition comes into play. Throughout the year, Seedstars host 80+ local events across the globe where they identify the best seed-stage startups. In Africa, you will find local Seedstars competitions in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, Accra, Kigali and many more cities.
Winning startups from each of the 65+ local events will be flown to Switzerland to compete at the global Seedstars summit. Startups will be lodged for the weeklong bootcamp, conference and investment forum. This alone is worth up to $6000 dollars for each startup.
If your business gets selected you will have the opportunity to participate in one of 5 regional summits where all the winners from the different regions across the continent will be gathered. In the below video you can get a glimpse of what to expect at a local Seedstars competition near you.
If your business manages to convince the jury at the local event, you'll win an all expenses paid trip to the regional summit and your team will be off to Switzerland to the annual Summit, to compete in the final against the best startups from emerging markets across the world
Seedstars has a vibrant and growing community across Africa full of ambitious entrepreneurs, startups, corporate partners, venture capitalists and more.
In fact, the African Seedstars community has so far produced some globally competitive startups that went on to win various prizes. Giraffe, a South-African company that offers quick and low cost-recruitment solutions which helps reduce unemployment, actually won the 2016 global prize. In the coming years the continent needs to produce more winners. Would it not be great if it was your startup?
Watch the video below if you want to see what a winning pitch looks like. You can learn a thing or two about delivering a great pitch with passion and fantastic storytelling here.
Seedstars 2016 global prize winner from South Africa that offers quick, easy and low-cost recruitment solutions. Giraffe aims to streamline the recruitment process for both businesses and jobseekers by enabling jobseekers to create a simple CV using their cellphone.
Seedstars 2015 public prize winner from Kenya that creates inclusion by providing a solution for the 50% of people have no address so they still can get deliveries and services. They do this through a virtual address, simply by using maps and pictures.
Seedstars 2015 innovation prize winner from Nigeria. Their aim is to be an integrated energy company that ensures optimal utilization of hydrocarbon resources for the benefit of Nigeria and local communities.
Will your startup be the next one?
Come join us. We need more African Hall of Famers
Seedstars is the perfect home for YOU to build a globally competitive business. Join the Seedstars community today!
There is ample opportunity for you to get involved in the Seedstars community. Word on the street is that Seedstars have soft spot for Africa and that they love working with the entrepreneurial and ambitious people that call this continent home.
In fact, Seedstars have big plans for Africa and startups from Cape Town to Cairo. Their objective is to open 10 Seedspaces across the continent by the end of this year offering co-working and co-living opportunities. In addition, events, competitions, mentoring, access to a valuable network, investments in the best startups and - let's not forget - memories and friends for life are all part of the package.
It is often said that talent is distributed equally, but opportunity is not. Here you have opportunity knocking at your door so enhance the chances of your business success and connect with other talented and ambitious entrepreneurs, investors and strategic partners across the continent. At the end of the day, you are the sum of the people who you spend the most time with.
Angolan born Claudia Makadristo is the regional manager for Africa at Seedstars where she scouts for the best African entrepreneurs, innovators and creators in technology.
Seedstars academy is a 6 month programme that teaches you to become a tech entrepreneur and impact people's live in emerging markets. Here you can learn the fundamentals of building a company while getting paid! If that is not a sweet deal, then what is?
The way it works is that you will be building multiple minimum viable products (MVP's) by drawing on Seedstars extensive network of mentors and market experience. This is how you will be spending 90% of your time on the programme - in the trenches getting real world practical experience.
At the same time, the other 10% will be spent learning theoretical concepts that help you to build world class tech companies fit for the digital economy of the 21st century.
In the end you will be a better entrepreneur, because you have gained the following skill sets:
Currently, there are three different Seedstars academies all of which are in Africa with Cairo (Egypt) (general focus), Lagos (Nigeria) (Fintech) and Abidjan (Ivory Coast) (Edtech) being the host cities.
Depending on your performance during the programme you can either continue to build the company you have been assigned to, join a Seedstars company in early- or development stage, start your own company or join one of the high growing startups.
For more information on the selection procedure and other questions, visit Seedstars academy.
Seedspace is a hub for entrepreneurs, startups, freelancers, digital nomads, remote employees, mentors and corporate partners where they can collaborate with a like-minded community and access to experts in technology, growth and entrepreneurship.
Here you get access to incredible business facilities including meeting rooms, event areas and high-speed Wifi as well as a global community of 60’000+ stakeholders who will help you achieve your business goals by sharing their expertise and knowledge.
Seedspace offer different membership plans that suit different needs from renting your own desk for a few hours to renting meeting rooms and event areas. When you or your startup joins as a member you also benefit from a number of different benefits such as exclusive discounts on tools and products you need to start your business while saving money. Moreover, you get access to enormous amounts of know-hows, solutions, best practices for tech startups.
Romulo Navarrete is the COO of Seedspace where he helps to build the global network of Seedspaces around the world from Cape Town to Bogota.
In Africa, there are currently 5 Seedspaces across the continent in Cape Town (South Africa), Lagos (Nigeria), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Casablanca (Morocco) and Cairo (Egypt) with more coming soon in Dar Es-Salam (Tanzania) and Adis Ababa (Ethiopia).
Seedstars Growth is a three month virtual acceleration programme focused on growth and traction consisting of three core components
$30'000 dollar investment for 5-10% equity
14 week intensive growth programme worth $20'000
Up to $500'000 Follow on Investment
This is a programme for the best startups from emerging markets that are ready for growth. One of the big advantages of this programme is that it is delivered virtually and as such you remain close to your market.
As part of the programme your startup gets access to a number of experts in different areas such as growth marketing, product optimization, user testing and more.
Startups are selected based on the global competitions run by Seedstars World mentioned earlier. Winners of each event stand a chance to be selected for the Growth program.
Finally, there is Seedstars Labs where the aim is to build tech companies in emerging markets to provide solutions that have a beneficial direct or indirect impact for the local population. The Seedstars tech team, together with Entrepreneurs in Residence and marketing experts build products and companies with the aim of rolling out successful solutions to other markets.
The best way to keep up to date with the Seedstars community besides attending live events and making friends for life is to follow their social media channels and join their email newsletter.
The question remaining now is what are you waiting for to join the Seedstars community? Seedstars is a community for ambitious entrepreneurs and startups and provides a lot of support and value for you and your team.
The saying goes that talent is equally distributed but opportunity is not. In this case, a great opportunity is staring in your face. Take advantage of it and go on to build a globally competitive business with the support of the Seedstars community.
Rise Africa Rise is your online guide to tech entrepreneurship and (social) innovation for African entrepreneurs, startups and businesses. Our aim is to provide you with valuable digital strategies, tools and insights to support you in building a world-class and competitive business in the 21st century.