Gaborone, Botswana – Digital startups and entrepreneurs are indispensable to innovation in Africa. Accordingly, the Botswana Business Angels Network, in collaboration with the World Bank, assembled digital entrepreneurs at Ntefo Conference Center in Mochudi to impart knowledge about the XL Africa entrepreneurs program, which is the flagship initiative of the Africa Business Angel Network (ABAN) and the World Bank Group’s infoDev unit. The program was officially launched in April 2017.
The XL Africa program offers digital entrepreneurs an opportunity to benefit from a tailormade program involving mentoring from global and local experts. It also provides selected digital startups with an opportunity to learn from their mentors and peers, increase their regional visibility, and access potential corporate partners and investors. The 2017 XL Africa residency program concluded with the Africa Angels Investors Summit, a regional event during which the startups presented their business models to a select audience of corporations and investors. With support from African investment groups, XL Africa can help entrepreneurs attract early stage capital between $250,000 and $1.5 million. In the end, 20 startups – from more than 1,000 applicants – from across Africa were selected from support.
“Digital entrepreneurship has the potential to create economic growth and prosperity. We have gathered digital entrepreneurs so that they are made aware of the opportunities provided by the World Bank Group and its partners in supporting innovation in Africa,” said Paul Noumba Um, country director with the World Bank.
“The event also seeks to position Botswana and the Ngwana Enterprises as a platform for entrepreneurs across southern Africa," said Mooketsi Bennedict Tekere, acting managing director of GEN Botswana. “Over time, we hope that our business accelerator in Mochudi will become a curated market place attracting top class digital startups headed by women in Africa.”
The next competition for XL Africa will be in 2018 and dates will be communicated through local media.
"Botswana is positioning GEN as a platform to enhance the growth of entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa through collaborative entrepreneurship exchanges between Africa countries. This year 2017, Botswana has seen partnerships for GEW with countries such as South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe- a sign that the future of Africa lies in entrepreneurship ecosystems collaborations by Africa for Africa,” said Tekere.