Last year, GIZ and its Digital Transformation Centers in Benin, Cameroon and Niger, in collaboration with Etrilabs, CIPMEN, ActivSpaces and VC4A set up an acceleration program.
Objective was to identify the best startups offering promising solutions to counter the adverse effects of climate change from across the three countries and support their development. After a competitive process totaling 274 applications in spring 2022, 8 startups from different sectors such as agriculture, waste management and renewable energy were selected by a local jury of investors and business experts. The 8 finalists were announced in June 2022, namely: In Benin, TIC Agro, Africereal, and Avodjekpon, who are active in agricultural production and nature conservation. In Cameroon, Clean Energy (renewable energy), ClinicAgro (agricultural information) and Govinzo (personal hygiene). In Niger, MapTic and Niger FPV (both active in agritech) were the two laureates.
With the support of VC4A, Etrilabs, ActivSpace, and CIPMEN, developed and implemented a six-month support program, encompassing personal and collective business support. The eight founders and their teams followed a training series provided by their local incubator themed around pitch preparation, crafting their value proposition, marketing strategy and business planning. The objective was to deep dive into their business models, testing their business ideas and getting ready to present themselves to the outside world and to potentially interested investors and business partners. Next to these local training, webinars gathering all 8 finalists were hosted online and in turn by Etrilabs, ActivSpaces, and CIPMEN. This helped to create a cohort feeling, enabled some peer-to-peer learning despite the geographical distance between the selected finalists. Entrepreneurs were also further supported by the guidance of an experienced mentor from the local ecosystem.
After 6 months of in-person and collective support, the project came to a close and culminated in a bootcamp at the Digital Innovation Festival (DIF) in Cameroon, hosted by ActivSpaces. The DIF is one of the largest entrepreneurship events in Cameroon and it took place on the 22nd and 23rd of November in Duala. The festival consisted of different keynote speeches, workshops, panel discussions and pitch events and also featured an exhibition.
Thanks to the support of the Digital Transformation Centers (DTCs) in Benin, Niger and Cameroon, the 8 entrepreneurs as well as local incubator staff and one mentor had the chance to attend and took part in the program. During this 3 day-event, the finalists had the opportunity to present their business to the audience, including the Minister of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts of Cameroon, to continue the preparation for their pitch and to follow all workshops and panel discussions including on fund raising. On the second day, a panel discussion took place on climate change and several finalists participated into the round table: Fatiman Alher from Maptic Niger, Pyrrus Oreste KOUOPLONG KOUDJOU from ClinicAgro Cameroon and Aristophane SOUKOSSI from Avodjèkpon AGS SARL Benin. Another opportunity to show how their respective solutions contribute to the protection of the environment.
All 8 winners had the chance to pitch their solutions and present their business to the Digital Innovation Festival audience, amongst which potential business partners and some investors. At the end the eight startups were awarded with a matching grant by GIZ to further test their proposed business solutions. Given the early stage of these 8 ventures, grants will now be used to finance a pilot project, a prototype or product improvement, and to improve the company’s visibility and communication.
The participation of the selected startups in the Digital Innovation Festival ended on the third day with visits to ST Digital, the first private data center across West-Africa, the Orange Digital Center and the JFN Accelerator program from the High-Tech University Institute, amongst the first accelerators in Cameroon.
You can check the GIZ Accelerator page here to know more about the program and follow the page for future updates.
Here’s a list of all the ventures selected from each country.
AfriCereal Group is a technology company that offers mechanization of agricultural operations, bringing together players in the value chains and management of agricultural equipment and infrastructure.
We offer digital solutions to facilitate knowledge and information sharing at the producer level. TIC AGRO Business is more than 5 years of experience in the field of ICT applied to agriculture.
Avodjekpon Global Solutions is providing early warning services against the spread of zoonotic disease, pest control, and loss of biodiversity in the context of climate change.
clinicAgro provides new solutions for the development of modern agriculture, a source of quality food for all and respectful of the environment.
Our solution uses the sun, to produce cold useful for conservation but also electricity for recharging phones, lighting and others.
We offer biodegradable sanitary napkins based on banana powder and corn powder. These hygiene and ecological pads reduce the rate of pollution caused by the hygiene protection.
Niger FPV Drone is a company specialized in troubleshooting, manufacturing and drone services in many fields. Manufacturing drones sprayers and equipped with a multispectral camera, make it possible to measure the health of crops, plants by way of weeds and to provide numerous data on soil conditions.
1st Nigerian agency specialized in the edition and exploitation of digital cartography. We are developing an innovative digital application and adopt for access to information on climate change-related development infrastructure