Startup Awards

Do you want to expand your tech business into global markets? Apply for the Eastern Africa Startup Awards before 31 January 2023

Do you want to expand your tech business into global markets? Apply for the Eastern Africa Startup Awards before 31 January 2023


The Global Startup Awards, an independent startup ecosystem competition, invites applicants for the Eastern Africa Startup Awards competition. The Startup Awards connects East African tech startups across the region to a global network of leading innovators and investors. The competition will award and support entrepreneurs and innovation ecosystem leaders making an impact in the following areas:

  • Environmental sustainability
  • Inclusive economic growth
  • Emerging technologies and innovation
  • Cross-border collaboration

Successful applicants in the competition will benefit from the following:

  • Access to new markets
  • Access to funding opportunities
  • Access to a global network of leaders
  • Exposure on a global stage

The competition process also brings together local ambassadors, country partners, national and international jury members, and key advisors to identify innovative startups in all aspects of the  ecosystem.

To apply for the competition, visit: Applications

Do you have an agribusiness with a climate-smart innovative solution? Apply for funding and business development support from CGIAR before 22 December 2022

Do you have an agribusiness with a climate-smart innovative solution? Apply for funding and business development support from CGIAR before 22 December 2022

The Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global research partnership that unites organizations engaged in research on food security, invites applicants for the CGIAR Food Systems Accelerator program. The program aims to support agribusiness in scaling climate-smart innovations to solve pressing challenges in agribusiness value chains.

Successful applicants to the program will receive the following benefits:

  • Technical assistance from CGIAR scientists that encourages agribusinesses’ adoption and strengthens their compliance, safety, and accountability practices.
  • Technical assistance on impact measurement and management (IMM) from CGIAR scientists and experts.
  • Technical assistance on investment readiness from IFDC-2SCALE and its network to help secure private sector financing.
  • Provision of a de-risking Grant of USD 20,000 to four successful companies at the end of the program.
  • Access to investors and corporate partners to attract follow-on funding and potential business opportunities.

Interested agribusinesses must fulfill the following to apply:

  • Be legally registered and compliant with regulatory authorities. Applicants should present the following supporting information:
  • A Certificate of Incorporation for a Limited Company or Partnership Deed for a Partnership Business.
  • Two years of audited accounts.
  • Contact details of the company’s references.
  • Team composition.
  • Curriculum Vitae for the management
  • Tax Compliance Certificate.
  • Have a clear inclusive strategy for smallholder farmers, women, and youth within the business model in at least one of the dimensions: ownership, management team, workforce and policies, supply chain, and/or customers.
  • Be a for-profit company and demonstrate commercial viability and either be profitable or on the path to profitability. NGOs, corporate companies, and consultants will not be considered
  • Be operating in the following countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia

For more information on the program, visit: CGIAR Food Systems Accelerator

To apply, visit: Application


Are you an entrepreneur in need of investment-readiness training? Apply for the Investment Preparation Program

Are you an entrepreneur in need of investment-readiness training? Apply for the Investment Preparation Program

Mooto Holdings Limited, an investment and business advisory firm invites applicants for the Investment Preparation Program, an SME mentorship program. The program seeks to identify and support high-potential SMEs to become ready for investment. The program will be conducted in two phases, each detailed below:

Phase 1 – Business Development: In the first phase of the program, participants will receive a series of online classes covering the aspects of business development including business planning, business profiling, digital marketing, and financial accounting. At the end of each session, participants will be tasked to complete templates of business plan and profile to be used to formulate their business.

Phase 2- Fundraising: During this phase, Mooto Holdings Ltd will identify funding opportunities that participants and also support them in acquiring the identified funds. This will be conducted on a continuous basis until the participants decide to they no longer need the support of Mooto Holdings Ltd

Interested participants must fulfill the following to qualify:

  • Must be a resident and the business must be registered in any of our target countries (Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda)
  • Have a business that is fully registered
  • Have a business that demonstrates the capacity to generate revenue through paying customers
  • Have a good internet connection because the program will be undertaken remotely with regular virtual communications.
  • Have access to an electronic device that connects to the internet, this can be a smart phone, laptop, desktop, or tablet for as long as the participant will be able to access the internet.
  • Be proficient in speaking, listening, and writing English proficiency

To apply, visit: IPP Applications

Bank of Kigali launched SME Center to serve Small and Medium Enterprises.  

Bank of Kigali launched SME Center to serve Small and Medium Enterprises.  

The SME Response Clinic spoke with Darius Mukunzi, Head of SME Banking at Bank of Kigali, about how the bank is currently serving small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Bank of Kigali is the largest commercial bank in Rwanda, serving more than 200,000 SMEs across the country. In July 2022, it launched the SME Center, a facility that provides tailored financial and advisory services to business owners looking to grow their enterprises.

To serve the segment, Bank of Kigali uses relationship managers and officers stationed at the SME Business Center and at each bank branch. These staff members are responsible for helping the bank to better understand SME customer needs, enabling Bank of Kigali to tweak products and services in line with those needs as they evolve in the market. Importantly, the Business and Credit departments within the SME Center work closely, which facilitates decision-making, thereby reducing the time it takes SME customers to obtain financial products from the bank.

Bank of Kigali also leverages government facilities to acquire new SME customers and provide loans to SMEs at favorable rates. The bank was involved in disbursing the government’s Renewable Energy Fund and is currently also participating in disbursing the Economic Recovery Fund (Hatana 2) and Export Growth Fund. Bank of Kigali is also working on a strategy to serve SMEs with non-financial services, planning to provide capacity building focused on topics like financial literacy for SMEs and taxation. The Non-financial services will also introduce Business Clubs and Supply Chain linkages in the near future.

Visit the Bank of Kigali’s SME Center in Kigali, CHIC Building, second floor, to learn more about the bank’s offer for the segment.

Are you an African tech start-up interested in training to make you investment-ready? Apply for the SAIS Investment Readiness Program before 31 October 2022

Are you an African tech start-up interested in training to make you investment-ready? Apply for the SAIS Investment Readiness Program before 31 October 2022

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), through its “Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations through Start-up (SAIS)” project, invites applicants to the Investment Readiness Program (IRP). The SAIS Investment Readiness Programme (IRP) offers African tech start-ups from the agriculture, food, and livestock sectors a year-long tailor-made support program to make them investor ready and scale up their business.

The program seeks to support start-ups in agribusiness, agritech, animal farming, clean technology and energy, crop farming, e-commerce, edtech, fintech, food and beverage, food production, and logistics. Interested applicants must fulfill the following to apply:

  • Be registered and operating in Africa with a certificate of registration
  • Have a clear and convincing business model
  • Have a clear problem statement, digital solution, customer segment, and revenue stream
  • Have a founding member on a team of at least two people who work full time
  • Founding and management team should have entrepreneurial and technical experience in their area of operation
  • Must have a viable digital product that impacts customers’ incomes
  • Must have a product that has a positive impact on the African AgTech, FoodTech or livestock (vertical sectors that have an influence can be accepted like e-commerce, fintech, logistics and edtech
  • Must have launched digital products at least six months before the application period
  • Be able to demonstrate traction (customer base and revenue)

Participating start-ups will benefit from the following:

  • Access to online training (tailored)
  • Add-on: Programme for Female Leaders
  • Access to the GIZ network
  • Access to additional services
  • Integrating you into a local hub (optional)
  • Regular sessions of personalized coaching with local and international experts

To apply, visit: SAIS IRP Applications


Business Expo

Register for the upcoming USAFRICA Business Expo Week

Register for the upcoming USAFRICA Business Expo Week

The USAfrica Business Expo Week, a Business-to-Business (B2B) trade show, conference, and networking event happening around the UN General Assembly, invites businesses interested in finding new buyers, suppliers, and investment opportunities to the September 12 – 22, 2022 event. The Expo will take place in New York, USA.

Participating businesses can network and consult with potential business partners and relevant global business development agencies. Additionally, participants will have access to an exhibition highlighting tools and resources to enable their business to grow.

Interested participants can attend virtually or in person, depending on the tickets they purchase. Attendants from outside the United States of America can opt to pay a standard package of USD 700 or a complete international package of USD 1500.

For more information on the event, visit: USAFRICA Business EXPO WEEK

To purchase tickets to the, visit: USAFRICA EXPO Tickets

Apply for the CATAPULT Inclusion Africa Acceleration program before 15 September 2022

Apply for the CATAPULT Inclusion Africa Acceleration program before 15 September 2022

The LHoFT Foundation, a public-private sector initiative for the Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg (, invites applicants to the Catapult Inclusion Africa Accelerator program. The program targets start-ups focusing on financial inclusion in Africa, aiming to build bridges with Luxembourg’s Microfinance Industry. The start-ups should also be aligned with the sustainability goals of Luxembourg’s finance centre.

Interested applicants are invited to apply for the 5th edition of the program, which will be held in Luxembourg from October 24-28, 2022. The acceleration program is a unique one-week boot camp supporting 10 selected fintech companies in Africa. The program covers a wide range of topics including:

  • Business model mapping
  • Scaling strategies
  • Investment readiness
  • Business plan presentation
  • Legal strategy
  • Pricing
  • Marketing strategy

Interested participants must fulfil the following criteria to apply

  • Selected firms will have, at least, a demonstrable Minimum Viable Product (“MVP”) and will likely be in the pre-seed to seed stage of funding.
  • Companies must be active in the financial inclusion field, helping underserved and unbanked populations in Africa get access to financial products and services.
  • Companies will submit all necessary information to the LHoFT in order to assess the viability of the project, company, background of owners and key shareholders to limit the risks of non-compliance or doubtful application to the program.
  • Companies must agree and shall provide ongoing performance metrics and business status for a period of three years post program completion to the LHoFT for the purposes of program evaluation.
  • The selected firm must guarantee that a founding team member, typically the CEO, will attend the program for the duration of the week.
  • We are particularly interested in hearing from firms in payments and related services.

The 10 successfully selected Fintechs from the one-week boot camp will have the opportunity to connect with partners, sponsors, investors, microfinance institutions, and public financial institutions as well as access to mentorship.

To apply for this program, visit: CATAPULT Applications

In need of investment? Here are tips on how to make your business attractive to access the finance you need to grow.

In need of investment? Here are tips on how to make your business attractive to access the finance you need to grow.

Building a successful business from scratch can be challenging. It takes a lot of effort, resilience, and time to move from the idea stage to operating a fully established business. One of the most demanding phases of running a business is when an entrepreneur wants to begin scaling up – and a primary challenge here is financial, having the needed funds. One of the ways to access funding is through investors, and to do this, businesses must demonstrate strong potential. Here are tips on how businesses can do this to be better positioned to attract investment.

  1. Have clear business goals.

Investors are always interested in what your business will bring to the world and how it generates cash flow. Before appearing in front of investors, ask yourself why your business exists and what purpose it serves.  As a business owner, you should be able to summarize this in a couple of sentences and express it clearly to your potential investors. Additionally, present a clear plan on how your business will generate cashflow as money is at the heart of every investment.

  1. Prioritize and focus on critical business operations.

As a start-up, your business’s success depends on so much more than your big idea. Create a strict priority list to help you determine how you spend key resources such as time and money. This will allow you to focus your attention on important operations so that you can later focus on lower priority operations. Investors are more often interested in entrepreneurs who demonstrate the ability to focus on the most critical aspects of their business.

  1. Put end users of your product or service first.

Every business’s success depends on its customers.  Investors are interested in businesses that can show that they understand their target market and customers. Consider doing a market study to understand pain points, preferences, pricing from competitors, and buying patterns of target customers. This will enable you to create a tailored product or service that will meet customer needs.

  1. Celebrate the wins, but always keep your eye toward the future.

As a business grows, it is worth keeping in mind that it needs constant nurturing to scale up. Use customer feedback to refine your offers and look for alternative ways to grow. Investigate other markets, competitors, and new customer segments you can tap into.  This will enable you to stay competitive, making your business attractive for investment.

  1. Build a good team for your business.

One of the traits of an investment-worthy business is a good team and the business’s ability to retain it. Investors will examine not just your offer and business model but also the effectiveness of those employed by your business. Investors are more drawn to businesses with good teams because it breeds confidence that you will make good returns for them.

  1. Choose investors carefully.

Assess your potential investors before approaching them for funding. It is as critical for the entrepreneur to choose the right investor as it is for the investor to select the right entrepreneur. Therefore, determine whether the investor is the right fit and can add value to your business. To assess your investor, consider looking at things like their network and other businesses they are investing in. Additionally, ask your potential investor about their expectations and how they plan to add value to your business.

Establishing your business as an investment-worthy venture can help you access needed funding to scale up your business. Consider implementing these tips, and feel free to share with us any additional tips you think can be helpful via this email: