The World Bank has launched XL-Africa, a five-month business acceleration program aimed at identifying and investing between $ 250,000 and $ 1.5 million in 20 startups from sub-Saharan Africa.

The flagship XL-Africa activity of Africa includes a two-week residency in Cape Town, South Africa, where companies will have the opportunity to interact with their mentors, counterparts and local partners. The Cape Town residency will conclude with the Venture Showcase, a regional event in which entrepreneurs present their business models to a select audience of companies and investors.

According to Makhtar Diop, vice president for the Africa region at the World Bank, “Digital start-ups are important drivers of innovation in Africa. To scale up and diffuse new technologies and services across borders, they need an integrated ecosystem that provides access to regional markets and global finance; Pan-African initiatives like XL Africa play a vital role in connecting local start-ups with businesses and investors across the continent ”.

In addition to capital, the 20 successful startups will receive mentorship from global and local experts, learn through a tailored curriculum, increase their regional visibility, and gain access to potential partners and investors.

“The unique combination of the targeted mentoring program and access to investors represents an essential resource for digital businesses ready to grow,” said Lexi Novitske, senior investment officer for Singularity Investments, a Lagos-based venture capital group. , Nigeria. “By connecting innovative business ideas with the knowledge and resources available in the ecosystem, XL Africa will create a pipeline of investment-ready companies, thus opening up better investment opportunities for regional and global investors.”

The program will collaborate with major African investment groups including the African Business Angel Network (ABAN), AngelHub Ventures, Goodwell Investments, Knife Capital, Nest Africa, Silvertree Capital, Singularity Investments, South African Business Angel Network (SABAN) , TLcom Capital, Zephyr Acorn and 4Di Capital, and corporate partners, such as Orange, .Eco, Ringier and Thomson Reuters.

Interested companies can apply online on the XL Africa website: before June 12th.

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