Call to digital startups: XL Africa program

The World Bank Group, with the support of Orange Group and other partners, launches XL Africa, a five-month business acceleration program designed to support 20 promising digital start-ups from Sub-Saharan Africa. Start-ups will receive mentoring from global and local experts, learn through a tailor-made curriculum, increase their regional visibility, and get access to potential corporate partners and investors. With support from prominent African investment groups, XL Africa will help the 20 selected start-ups attract early stage capital between $250,000 and $1.5 million.

You are eligible if:
– your startup is for profit and registered;
– your team consists of at least 3 people;
– your team is based in one of the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (see full list of eligible countries);
– you have a very strong management team;
– you have a digital product or service available on the market right now, with demonstrated tangible traction and evidence of revenue;
– you have potential to achieve scale;
– you are seeking investment capital in the range of $250K – $1.5m;
– while there will be exceptions, mostly likely your startup has already received investment capital, structured as either debt or equity, or received grants from donor organizations.

Digital start-ups are important drivers of innovation in Africa,” says Makhtar Diop, Vice President for the Africa Region at the World Bank. “To scale and spread new technologies and services beyond borders, they need an integrated ecosystem that provides access to regional markets and global finance; pan-African initiatives like XL Africa play a critical role by linking local start-ups with corporations and investors across the continent.

The program’s flagship activity includes a two-week residency in Cape Town, South Africa, where the ventures will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from their mentors, peers, and local partners. The Cape Town residency will conclude with the Venture Showcase, a regional event in which the entrepreneurs will present their business models to a select audience of corporations and investors.

Interested companies can apply online on the XL Africa website by Monday, June 12, 2017.