World Bank’s IFC, Egypt spot over 100 start-ups to speed up Africa innovation

The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC) have selected more than 100 high-potential start-ups to take part in a new initiative for innovation in Africa.

The anticipated initiative is designed to spur innovation and job creation across the African continent.

The start-ups include Vezeeta, Avidbeam, and Next Protein. They and other selected companies will participate in Africa’s Next Start-Ups programme, a joint IFC-MIIC effort that helps provide up-and-coming small businesses with funding and advice.

The programme connects such companies with potential investors, financial institutions, business leaders, and policymakers. It is designed to support the continent’s budding start-up culture and create opportunities for entrepreneurs, who often struggle to secure growth capital and have few places to turn for guidance.

As part of the programme, the start-ups and other entrepreneurs will attend the Africa 2018 Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

“Africa is brimming with entrepreneurs whose drive and creativity have the potential to transform the industries in which they work,” said Philippe Le Houérou, IFC’s Chief Executive Officer.  “With the right support, African start-ups can help create the high-quality jobs that are so urgently needed while reducing poverty and finding solutions to some of the continent’s most urgent challenges.”

More than 500 business from 35 African countries applied to be part of the programme. The companies selected represent those with the greatest potential to achieve a positive impact on their communities. They come from across the African continent—including Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa. They operate in a range of sectors, including education, health care, logistics, and software.

The initiative is part of IFC’s advisory programme in the Middle East, which aims to boost access to finance, ease business regulations, support entrepreneurs, and help businesses improve governance. With over 56 active projects across 15 countries, IFC’s advisory services are made possible with support from our development partners—Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

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