Merck Accelerator in partnership with the Tech Entrepreneurship Initiative “Make-IT in Africa” launched a Joint Startup Program to support 20 Startups across Africa. The… read more
We’re looking for 30 digital startups eager to scale their innovation and boost their growth! Our free 9-month acceleration programme supports you to achieve B2B cooperation- and investment-readiness. Based in Nairobi, Kenya or Lagos, Nigeria, the Make-IT Accelerator is designed and implemented in collaboration with highly renowned local hubs, corporate partners and investment experts.
Throughout the 9-month programme, we will provide access to the right knowledge, mentors, business and financing partners and opportunities for successful business growth.
The Make-IT Accelerator, provided by German International Cooperation (GIZ), includes three structured phases:
1. Inspire – Achieve the Capacity for Growth (Jan – Mar 2018): cohort-based training and capacity development for growth, including individualised needs assessments and scaling plans and regular meetings with experienced acceleration managers to help you develop and grow your business.
2. Connect – From Cooperation Readiness to Cooperation (Apr – Jun 2018): B2B cooperation readiness training, individual support, preferred access to B2B matchmaking events with major international corporates and access to the Make-IT mentor pool as needed.
3. Develop – From Investment Readiness to Investment (Jun – Aug 2018): support from finance and investment experts, who will help you achieve investment readiness, prepare you with the skills to negotiate investment deals and provide pitch training for a final Demo Day in Lagos or Nairobi.
What the Make-IT Accelerator offers you:
While the Make-IT Ecosystem Accelerator is free for selected startups, GIZ does not provide direct funding for your business. However, throughout the nine months, you will have access to a range of services and support available to you, including:
● Local and international exposure. Be featured as a high-potential startup on the Make-IT website and present your business at various local and international events, e.g. Sankalp, CeBIT etc.
● Corporate partnership and investment opportunities. Improve your skills and capacity to negotiate partnerships and investment deals and participate in structured matchmaking opportunities with our network of prominent investors and corporate partners.
● Networks. Attend various events hosted by Make-IT partners (incl. corporates, investors, industry experts and representatives of the private and public sectors)
● Mentorship. Connect with our pool of highly qualified local and international mentors and experts.
● Supplemental education. Increase your knowledge with access to our curated capacity-building content and workshops and a community of peers, experts, corporates and investors to support continued education and development of startups throughout their 9-month journey.
● Co-working membership. Receive office space for your team with a free 9-month co-working membership.
What we expect from you:
● Participate in Final Selection Round and Kick-off week in Lagos or Nairobi (depending on location of startup)
○ Dates for Lagos: November 20-24, 2017
○ Dates for Nairobi: December 4-8, 2017
● Participate in 3-month hands-on acceleration (incl. weekly meetings) in Lagos or Nairobi from January – March 2018
● Participate in major events listed in Key Dates (see below)
● Regular attendance at the meetings of the Make-IT Accelerator
● Engage regularly with Make-IT mentors and partners
● Willingness to learn, openness to collaboration and commitment to sustainable business growth
What we do not expect from you:
Running a business is a 24/7h job. We are aware of this. Therefore, we do not expect you to be present at the whole time, but full commitment to the 9 months programme. We do not require exclusivity and can run in tandem with other initiatives or programmes in which you may be enrolled.
● For profit, registered business with a team of at least two people (must be registered in an African country)
● In operation for at least one full year
● Already have digital (software or hardware) product or service on the market and evidence of revenue
● Clearly demonstrate potential to scale
● Based in or able to work from Nairobi or Lagos for the first six months of the programme (or travel there for regular meetings)
● A business model with a social Impact. That means that it presents a solution to a social problem, and has positive impact on society (locally and/or globally). We define ‘social’ as the basics of life (especially in terms of health, environment, food, agriculture).
Our selection criteria
You have a solid understanding of your target market and your business addresses a real gap or challenge in the market.
Strategy for Growth
You demonstrate clear potential to scale your business nationally and internationally and to create new employment opportunities.
You have solid team dynamics with the right qualifications to succeed.
You have a coherent business model with clear revenue streams and potential to attract additional finance. Evidence of previous external funding will be looked upon favourably.
While the following qualities are not a requirement, we are particularly interested in helping startups whose business models:
● include women and/or youth (aged 18-35) into their team;
● provide a product or service that contributes to the following sectors: agriculture, energy or health;
● apply cross-cutting technology (e.g. Internet of Things, FinTech, manufacturing or 3D-printing);
● contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and have a social impact.
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