Silicon Valley-based VC firm 500 Global and Germany’s economic development agency Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) will train managers of leading accelerators in Africa over the next two years to help them establish sustainable business models that commandeer greater influence in their ecosystems.
The program, dubbed Bootcamp for Accelerator Managers (BAM), will use project-based teaching and real-world scenarios informed by 500 Global’s work running over 80 accelerator programs across the globe, and GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa experience in igniting innovation on the continent.
Fifteen accelerators from key tech hubs, including Uganda, Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania will participate in the program.
Accelerators provide all-around support to early-stage startups, including helping them find product-market fit, funding and access to investors. However, being startups too, accelerators also face failure due to a couple of challenges, including liquidity issues.
“500 Global is thrilled to be working alongside GIZ to ensure that African accelerators have the tools they need to support startups,” said 500 Global’s Africa Lead Mareme Dieng. The VC firm, previously an accelerator dubbed 500 Startups, rebranded to 500 Global a year ago.
“500 has been investing in companies in Africa for a decade and continues to be excited about the growth of the African tech ecosystem. We believe that the next phase of this evolution will be led by home-grown accelerators, like the ones joining BAM,” said Dieng.
500 Global said the participating accelerators were picked based on experience, length of existence, leadership positions in their markets and track record — some of their graduates must have raised follow-on capital.
The first cohort will begin the program on November 14, with a five-day in-person training to be held in Kenya, followed by a year-long virtual program.
Participating accelerators include Orange Startup Studio, Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali, Mountain Hub, Ennovate Ventures, WomHub, Africarise, Stanbic, Wennovation Hub, CTIC Dakar, Kosmos, Plug n Play, Norrsken Health Tech Africa, Venture Park, MEST Africa and Growth Africa.
“This program represents another cornerstone in Make-IT in Africa’s efforts to support African innovation on a local, pan-African and global scale,” said head of Make-IT in Africa, Matthias Rehfeld.
“Together with our partner 500 Global, we use a hands-on approach to bring together African accelerators with seasoned coaches, while simultaneously building bridges between African and international networks. Beyond the scope of the program, African entrepreneurs and startups can benefit from the best practices applied by accelerators across the continent,” said Rehfeld.