The World Bank Group has announced L’Afrique Excelle, a six-month business acceleration program designed to support the 20 most promising growth stage technology start-ups operating in Francophone Africa. Entrepreneurs will receive mentoring from global and local experts, learn through a tailor-made curriculum, increase their brand visibility, and get access to potential corporate partners and investors. Through collaboration with prominent Francophone Africa-focused investment groups, L’Afrique Excelle will help the selected start-ups attract early stage capital between $250,000 and $5 million.
“The idea behind L’Afrique Excelle is to support Francophone African start-ups that have the potential to become globally competitive, and to have disruptive impacts on our day-to-day life and economy through their tech solutions,” says Alexandre Laure, Senior Private Sector Specialist at the World Bank Group.
L’Afrique Excelle is the Francophone edition of XL Africa, a successful pan-African accelerator launched by the World Bank Group in 2017. Since the completion of the first edition, half of the XL Africa portfolio has secured almost $18 M in funding.
“I’m happy to see the launch of L’Afrique Excelle. Following the first XL Africa cohort, the team felt that more specialized programming was required to identify, nurture, and support promising Francophone African startups,” says Natasha Kapil, Senior Private Sector Specialist at the World Bank Group.
The program highlights include two one-week residencies – one in Bamako, Mali and another in Paris, France – giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their business network and learn from mentors, peers, and local partners. The France residency will culminate in the Venture Showcase at the 2019 VivaTech conference in Paris, where the founders will present their business models to a large audience of corporations, investors, technology experts and media.
The program has partnered with leading VC funds and angel groups active in Francophone Africa, including Orange Digital Ventures, Investisseurs & Partenaires, Brightmore Capital, AHL Ventures, Outlierz, TLcom Capital, Accion, Goodwell Investments, Blue Haven Ventures, Comoe Investments, and IFC Venture Capital. Associated investors will play a key role in vetting and selection process, and will guide the entrepreneurs through investor readiness process. L’Afrique Excelle will also collaborate with corporate partners, such as Orange and GSMA.
“The emergence of tech scene in Francophone Africa may be the next biggest good news from the continent since the African tech rise. I am more than happy to see such ambitious initiatives coming to unlock the potential of those entrepreneurs,” comments Marc Rennard, the Chairman and CEO of Orange Digital Ventures.
Interested companies can apply online on the L’Afrique Excelle website, www.Afrique-Excelle.com, by Monday, January 14, 2019. The program takes no equity stake in accelerated companies.
L’Afrique Excelle is powered by the World Bank Group and Tubaniso Agribusiness and Innovation Center with financial assistance from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and managed by implementing partners VC4A, Suguba and SahelInnov.