The digital economy offers opportunities at scale to generate jobs, contribute to economic growth and productivity gains. Digital entrepreneurship will accelerate the digital transformation of Africa, which will be a key driver for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. It can also help address the growing digital gender gap and digital entrepreneurship is particularly favourable to youths. At the same time, there are still many challenges preventing the tech sector to contribute to its full potential to growth and development, in particular in the areas of regulation, business support, technical and business skills as well as international linkages.
The “Fast Tracking Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa” project (“#FastTrackTech in Africa) aims to support digital entrepreneurs and tech startups in sub-Saharan Africa with online and onsite training, advisory and coaching focused on building digital and business skills as well as domestic, regional & international business generation and investment promotion. The project also engages with business support organizations and government to foster local tech ecosystems.
The project started in October 2019 in four countries (Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda) followed by another three countries (Mali, Zambia, Bénin) in 2020. Altogether, FastTrackTech in Africa supports 7 tech ecosystems throughout the two-year project.
The project will benefit 7 leading tech hubs, 200 tech startups (an average of 30 per country) and 2000 digital entrepreneurs.
With partners and through tech hubs, #FastTrackTech supports emerging entrepreneurs in the digital space through training, coaching and market validation, with an emphasis on equal opportunity for women and youth. We use ITC’s #360Diagnostics tools and work in partnership with existing platforms such as VC4A and DisruptAfrica. In order to maximize the participation of women entrepreneurs, we focus on business areas where they are more heavily represented (social sellers, freelancers, healthtech…)
The project will support innovators to formalize their business and provide customized support to growth-stage startups. We will use segmentation & a funnel approach to optimize startup support (ideation, entrepreneurship, growth).
At the level of next-generation trade support institutions, in particular tech hubs, we build sustainable business support organisations. Institutional development is a crucial priority to ensure sustainability and a multiplier effect under this project. Key tech hubs in each country are supported with capacity building. We will provide online & on-site toolkits to address the sustainability issue faced by many tech-hubs. We also connect them to networks in view of producing and sharing content and knowledge with their members.
One of the most important elements of a thriving tech-sector ecosystem is conducive government policy, and public sector involvement. ITC brings stakeholders from the public and private sectors into conversation, along with aspiring entrepreneurs. This facilitates an essential dialogue between tech-sector actors to help develop the most conducive and supportive policy environment for digital entrepreneurship. Building on our strong connections with the public sector, we also partner with governments to turn the public sector into a potential major market for digital solutions and services.
Beyond fund raising, tech startups need to grow their businesses and one of the most effective ways to do it is through B2B meetings, both at trade fairs and bilaterally. ITC combines a domestic, regional and international focus when organizing meetings and facilitating entrepreneurs participation in important trade fairs. The project provides platforms for start-ups to showcase innovations and connect them with investors and potential clients. Moreover, partnerships will offer significant leveraging opportunities, in particular from the point of view of corporate acceleration, enabling the co-creation of new digital businesses and scaling existing ones. ITC also supports start-ups to attend pitching events, and facilitate introductions to partner venture capital firms where relevant.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
- Irish Aid, Government of Ireland
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
- Global Affairs Canada
- Royal Norwegian ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Swedish International development Cooperation Agency
Meet the beneficiaries
#FASTTRACKTECH IN NUMBERS
10 Countries: Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Benin, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia
15+ tech hubs
Programme in a nutshell
Year of creation
Type of business
Capacity buildingPolicy DialogueTechnical assistance
Global Affairs CanadaIrish AidMFA DenmarkMFA FinlandMFA NetherlandsRoyal Norwegian MFASwedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Number of activities carried out