The digital economy offers opportunities at scale to generate jobs, contribute to economic growth and productivity gains. Digital entrepreneurship will accelerate the digital transformation of Africa, which will be a key driver for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Digital entrepreneurship can also help address the growing digital gender gap and is particularly favourable to youths. At the same time, there are still many challenges preventing the tech sector to contribute to its full potential to growth and development, in particular in the areas of regulation, business support, technical and business skills as well as international linkages.
The #FastTrackTech Africa initiative aims to support digital entrepreneurs and tech startups in sub-Saharan Africa go international – with online and onsite training, advisory and coaching focused on building digital and business skills with a focus on regional & international business generation and investment promotion. The two-year project starts in October 2019 and targets 7 countries: Benin, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia. The project will benefit 7 leading tech hubs, 200 tech startups and 2000 digital entrepreneurs.
OBJECTIVES AND PLANNED OUTCOMES
The expected outcome of the project is to fast track the internationalisation of beneficiary tech-start-ups and tech ecosystems. #FastTrackTech Africa is acting at 3 levels:
1. At the level of policy makers, we aim to foster and nurture business-friendly entrepreneurial ecosystems in beneficiary countries
The project contribute to building conducive ecosystems in order to support the landscape of digital entrepreneurship actors. This will be done through private-public dialogues and a mapping exercise aiming at identifying all actors involved for an improved coordination and escalation of challenges.
2. At the level of next-generation trade support institutions, in particular tech hubs, we build sustainable business support organisations
Institutional development is a crucial priority to ensure sustainability and a multiplier effect under this project. Key tech hubs in each country will be supported with capacity building. We will roll out online & on-site toolkits to address the sustainability issue faced by many tech-hubs. We will also connect them to networks in view of producing and sharing content and knowledge with their members.
3. At the level of tech start-ups and digital entrepreneurs, we build business & technical skills and connect start-ups and entrepreneurs to market partners and investors for business and investment opportunities
With partners and through tech hubs, we support emerging entrepreneurs in the digital space, including social sellers and freelancers, through trainings, coaching,market validation and using ITC’s #360Diagnostics tools with an emphasis on equal opportunity for women and youth..
The project support innovators to develop their products and define their value propositionand provide customised support to growth-stage startups. We use segmentation & a funnel approach to optimize startup support.
Beyond fund raising, tech startups need to grow their businesses by getting customers and partners. One of the most effective ways to do it is through B2B meetings at trade fairs and bilaterally. ITC combines a domestic, regional and international focus for the most advanced start-ups. In this context, we will support start-ups to attend pitching events and major tech trade fairs and facilitate introductions to partner venture capital firms.
How to apply: