Hindsight Ventures, the Africa focussed vertical of Startup Réseau, has announced Wazo Challenge East Africa as it’s latest program catering to tech entrepreneurs in the region.
The India-headquartered emerging markets focussed startup accelerator has been ramping it’s program operations in East Africa over the past few months. Having started out with the “Wazo Challenge Tanzania”, in partnership with Absa Bank earlier this February 2021, Startup Réseau has quickly concluded 3 venture bootcamps in the region, building out an impressive portfolio of 44 tech startups.
“Our broader thesis is that Africa has African problems to be solved by African talent, by leveraging technology and that’s what we are here to enable through our programs. Having started out with Tanzania as our beach-head, our vision has always been to be a pan-Africa operator. We aim to build Wazo Challenge as a flagship annual program that operates a country version and a regional version in Eastern Africa. We did our first country version in Tanzania, maybe next year we will do Kenya and then Uganda and so on. However, we will have an annual East African version that will open up the program to tech entrepreneurs from the extended Eastern Africa region.”, says Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Founder & CEO, Startup Réseau.
Wazo Challenge East Africa is aimed at 18 – 30 year old entrepreneurs from 19 countries across the UN designated Eastern Africa. The program is open to startups that are leveraging technology, and building innovative + scalable solutions across Financial Services, Healthcare, Agriculture, Energy / Utility and Education.
The 12 startups getting selected to the 4-week program will get access to Startup Réseau’s global pool of mentors, investors, industry experts and successful entrepreneurs. Each startup will get $150,000 worth of technology credits from Startup Réseau’s technology partners such as FreshWorks, AWS, IBM, Digital Ocean, HubSpot and more, thereby helping these startups build for scale without spending on technology.
Says Francis Mwakatumbula, Co-Founder & CTO, Kikoba App – Winner of the Wazo Challenge Tanzania, “ Winning the Wazo Challenge Tanzania gave us attention, and many companies have contacted us in efforts to collaborate. Also, it raises the self-esteem of our organization to keep doing things no one has done before and going for the unknown, we have learned alot from all mentors and startups participants ”.
Till date, startups that have been a part of Hindsight Ventures’ programs in East Africa have been able to access 45 global mentors, and 17 international partners. More so, the program Demo Days have been hugely successful, with over 200 unique attendees across the 3 concluded events.
“We have an exciting roster of global mentors and facilitators lined up for Wazo Challenge East Africa. From the get-go we have got on-board jury members such as Abdi Mohamed (Absa Tanzania), Miranda Naiman (Empower), Faith Pella (Tanzania Startup Association), Pritam Dutta (AB InBev), Samantha Niyonsaba (Innovation Village) and Soumitra Deshpande (Freshworks). The modular program will touch upon the building blocks of a scalable tech startup, Customer Development, Go-To-Market Strategies and Pitch Coaching. What’s more, these 12 startups will be pitching at the East Africa Corporate Innovation Summit, to a global audience of marquee corporates and investors.”, says Jagruti Bista, Lead – Africa Programs, Startup Réseau.
Built on the founding pillar of #StartupsFirst, Startup Réseau operates accelerator programs with a vision to bring the ultimate global network of Enterprises, Capital, Markets and Services to Startups. Startup Réseau is aiming to build out regional hubs across Africa, to enable + accelerate tech entrepreneurs through structured accelerator programs and open up its global networks.
Takeaways from Wazo Challenge East Africa:
- A 4 week venture development bootcamp with facilitated group workshops and 1-on-1 mentoring
- $150,000 of technology credits from our partners, to all startups selected to the program
- Interactions with a pool of global mentors (successful entrepreneurs, domain experts, industry experts and investors)
- Participation / showcase at the East Africa Corporate Innovation Summit
- Pitching at the East Africa Corporate Innovation Summit 2021, to investors interested in tech startups from East Africa
- Competing for a grant money pool
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