VilCap Communities Africa, a programme that is focused on providing the requisite tools, resources, and connections to some of the major players in the sub-Saharan entrepreneurship ecosystem, is looking to weigh-in with significant support for some of the most enterprising establishments in the sub-region.
In that regard, establishments that fall into such categories as incubators, accelerators, and seed funds within the sub-Saharan region are encouraged to apply for the initiative on or before 6th July, 2018, as it is geared towards enhancing entrepreneurial growth within the sub-region by creating the enabling environment that will foster the proliferation of impact investment.
In the aftermath of the programme, 15 successful applicants will be selected to participate in the upcoming forums that have been scheduled to take place in Lagos, Nairobi, and Cape Town this summer. As follow-up programmes, the forums are expected to provide an avenue for stakeholders in the African entrepreneurship scene to connect and network, to share learning experiences, as well as standard practices.
Central to the formulation of the blueprint laid out for VilCap Communities Africa is the duo of global venture capital firm, Village Capital, and the United Kingdom’s Department for Internal Development (DFID) Impact Programme. The initiative appears to be gathering followership and interest from select organisations and individuals as it boasts a promotional video that may have been viewed over 3000 times on the web.
According to Rachel Crawford, Innovation Manager – Emerging Markets, the move was initiated by the need to return to the drawing board and look inwardly for solutions to some of the continent’s lingering problems in the area of support for entrepreneurs; solutions which are believed to be aplenty in the sub-region. In her words, “you shouldn’t look only to Silicon Valley or London to find working models for how to support entrepreneurs in Sub-saharan Africa. Exciting things are happening here in Africa, and a lot of wisdom developing about what works specifically in this context. But there’s a lot of room to grow. We want to bring together leaders from different parts of sub-Saharan Africa to share what’s working and build a community of best practices.”
VilCap Communities Africa is designed as one adaptation of a broader scheme dubbed “VilCap Communities”; a 26-city pilot programme that is envisaged to standardize and license Village Capital’s award-winning curriculum and investment model to accelerators, incubators, and investors around the globe. The primary focus of the current programme will be tethered to the resolutions put forward by Village Capital’s follow-up report. The said report is believed to have been developed from interviews which featured over 100 influential figures and leaders in the ecosystem.
“We’ve always been focused on best practices and research, and have partnered on research reports with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs and the ground-breaking Global Accelerator Learning Initiative. For our pilot, we wanted to find out what works in entrepreneur acceleration, as well as what doesn’t. We’re looking forward to sharing that knowledge with others”, the Innovation Manager further stated.
To its credit, Village Capital is reported to have been directly responsible for the training of over 80 entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa over a period that oversaw eight investment-readiness programmes. These programmes are said to have facilitated the establishment of 14 seed-stage investments by VilCap Investments; the company’s very own seed fund.
The programme is expected to draw entrepreneurs and resource persons from various parts of sub-Saharan Africa including such countries as Nigeria, Niger, DR Congo, Mali, Kenya, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi, Burundi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Tanzania, as well as North African tech giants, Morocco.