African digital startups to receive $1.5m funding from World Bank

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Twenty high-growth digital startups in Africa now have the opportunity to receive funding from the World Bank through its XL Africa Business Acceleration Programme.

The programme will help those startups seeking to raise raise between $250,000 and $1.5 million, while also helping them with access to networks, mentoring and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.

The residency programme, with will be taken in South Africa between August 1 and December 31, 2017, will give selected entrepreneurs the opportunity to engage regularly with mentors, participate in four virtual webinar sessions run by global experts with inputs from leading African and US investors and successful entrepreneurs and engage with 19 other African enterprises, along with mentors, investors and strategic partners.

The programme is designed, according to the organisers, “specifically to complement the advice from your mentors.” The resources created for the programme include “Startup Diagnostic” where selected applicants will be guided through an in-depth analysis of your startup’s health, helping them and their mentors to identify and tackle critical issues in your business.

Another resource, the XL Africa Curriculum, will teach selected applicants all they need to know about operating a startup and increasing your ability to attract investors. Each module includes an introductory video, a series of accompanying worksheets and a list of recommended additional reading.

To be eligible for the programme, applicant’s startup must be for profit and registered, with a team of at least three people. In addition to that, “your team is based in one of the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa,” while the applicant must have a very strong management team, and a  digital product or service available on the market right now, with demonstrated tangible traction and evidence of revenue, with a potential to achieve scale. An applicant’s company must also address a real problem in the market. In addition to the ability to solve real problems, which is grated at 25 per cent point, an applicant’s company will also be graded based on strategy for growth (25 per cent), management (25 per cent) and market traction and financials (25 per cent).

Application deadline is June 12, 2017.

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