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.
The application process
Initial screening (October 6 – 30)
During the application phase and in the days following the deadline, our team will screen your applications for eligibility and relevance to create a shortlist of startups.
Jury Selection (October 30 – November 3)
A team of highly qualified experts, comprising entrepreneurs, industry experts, investor and corporate representatives of the private sector, and our program team, will carefully review and score the applications of each shortlisted startup along our selection criteria.
Invitation to Final Selection Round (November 10)
The top 30 highest-scoring startups per region will be notified on November 10 and invited to join us in Lagos or Nairobi for the final round of the selection process. Travel expenses will be covered and support with visa, if needed, given.
Final Selection (November 20-24: Lagos; December 4-8: Nairobi)
Invited startups will join the Make-IT team for a final selection round in Lagos or Nairobi. During this time, each startup will receive training on the three core areas of the Make-IT Ecosystem Accelerator: Capacity for Growth, B2B Cooperation-readiness and Investment-readiness. Startups will be accompanied by a local jury of industry experts, successful entrepreneurs, investors and corporates, who will assess each startup’s fit for the 9-month programme.
Announcement of Selected Startups (November 23: Lagos; December 3: Nairobi)
At the conclusion of the final selection round, the jury will announce the 15 selected startups per country. The announcement will be held at an event with guests from the local tech entrepreneurship ecosystem. All startups, regardless of the selection, will have the opportunity to meet and present themselves to the local ecosystem actors, and seek partnerships to further develop their businesses.
The final selection will be made on November 23, 2017 in Lagos and December 7, 2017 in Nairobi.
October 6, 2017: Application period begins
October 27: Application deadline
October 30: Review and shortlist of startups
November 10: Announcement and invitation of top 30 startups per region
November 20-24: Final Selection Round & Kick-off week in Lagos
December 4-8: Final Selection Round & Kick-off week in Nairobi
January 3, 2018: Start of Phase 1 – Capacity for Growth
March 1: Mentor matchmaking and possibility to join Sankalp Africa Summit in Nairobi
April 2: Start of Phase 2 – Cooperation-readiness
June 11-15: possibility to join an international exposure journey to Germany for CeBIT conference
June 25: Start of Phase 3 – Investment-readiness
August 27-31: Final week and Demo Day events in front of investors in Lagos and Nairobi