Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap Between Investors and Entrepreneurs

According to #GALI’s latest research, which maps over 2,500 early-stage ventures in Sub Saharan Africa, the number one reason why African entrepreneurs enrol in an accelerator programme is to gain access to direct funding. No surprises there.

However, when you consider this within the context of a growing number of grievances expressed by investors in recent years of how most graduates of incubator and accelerator programmes are simply ‘not ready for investment’, it suggests a clear cause for concern.

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The World Bank, who have supported numerous programs across the continent, describe it as the ‘mentoring and investment gap’, criticising many regional accelerators of “offering superficial access to mentorship and investor networks, which results in fewer start-ups landing investments and more disenchanted investors” (read more).

As acceleration programs gain more and more traction in Sub-Saharan Africa and remain a popular method for new business creation then, the need to match entrepreneurs with #SmartFinance solutions becomes increasingly apparent.

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ABAN President, Tomi Davies recently breached this issue in London when speaking at the ‘Next Frontier: Year of the African Scaleup’ event hosted by MEST. He noted that “there are 3 things entrepreneurs on the African continent need: i) cash; ii) access to markets; and iii) mentorship and networks; and not necessarily in that order.”

We all share a common belief that the entrepreneurs of today will shape the Africa of tomorrow. As the ecosystem continues to grow, we need more street smart mentors, savvy investors, links with the corporate world, and accelerator/incubator programs to support these entrepreneurs. Everyone has a role to play in building Africa.