In the Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC) Region, there is a disconnect between investors and entrepreneurs that severely constrains new startups’ growth potential. Securing investments typically falls under the top three challenges for social and tech entrepreneurs, while investors are facing challenges with finding investable opportunities in the region.
Business acceleration would seem to be the obvious solution, but in SADC, acceleration services for tech-enabled ventures are not widely accessible, particularly not outside major centres, and the cost per participant of running a traditional accelerator is high.
The TechTribe Accelerator (TTA) was born to overcome these challenges and bring pan-African partnerships together to solve continental issues at scale. Funded by SAIS 2, the TTA involves collaboration between Impact Amplifier, MHub Malawi, the SA Innovation Summit, and NEPAD's Southern African Network for Biosciences (SANBio). The initiative’s sights are currently set on the business acceleration problem.
“We were asking ourselves, ‘Given these challenges around business acceleration, how do we accelerate the founder’s journey, so they go further in a shorter amount of time?’” Buntu Majaja, TTA’s Project Manager, explained.
The solution lies in building a pipeline of investment-ready social entrepreneurs who can meet the growth of impact and investment funds in Africa. This is why the TTA has opened a call for entrepreneurs across SADC to apply to their 2020 free acceleration cohort.
About the Accelerator
The TTA launched its first call for applications at the SA Innovation Summit on 13 September 2019 and will run as an online platform. According to SA Innovation Summit Chairperson Dr Audrey Verhaeghe, “The TTA is the first real attempt to educate, accelerate, and connect SADC-based impact and tech entrepreneurs regionally, and develop a digitally enabled tribe.”
To attract entrepreneurs, the TTA went on a regional roadshow. The first event took place in Lilongwe, Malawi, on 24 September 2019. Following that, the roadshow stopped at BongoHive in Zambia on 22 October 2019 and BuniHub in Tanzania on 24 October 2019.
They are still looking for startups to apply to the accelerator, and those who could not attend a roadshow event can apply online at the TTA website. Applications close on 24 November 2019.
The TTA is an opportunity for:
- Post-revenue, tech-enabled, and IP-driven ventures whose core business has a social or environmental purpose
- Experienced founders and businesspeople who want to support businesses that are driving the SDG agenda on the continent by sharing their expertise as mentors
- Ecosystem partners such as hubs, incubators, accelerators, and universities that already support entrepreneurship development but would like to extend their current reach
- Investors looking for viable investment opportunities on the African continent
The TTA is made up of three layers:
Content – a set of investment readiness modules, with each module forming a piece of the investment case, which gets translated into an effective and validated pitch deck.
Mentorship – 30 promising entrepreneurs are to receive one-on-one virtual mentorship from mentors who have walked the journey.
Tribe – a network with a common purpose, expanding impact through collaboration.