Hindsight Ventures, Startup Réseau’s Africa-focused vertical, has unveiled Wazo Challenge East Africa as its latest program aimed at tech entrepreneurs in the region.
Over the last few months, the India-based emerging markets business accelerator has been expanding its program activities in East Africa.
Since launching the “Wazo Challenge Tanzania” in cooperation with Absa Bank in February 2021, Startup Réseau has completed three venture boot camps in the region, amassing an amazing portfolio of 44 innovative businesses.
“Our bigger thesis is that Africa has African challenges that must be solved by African talent using technology, which is what we are here to support through our programs. Our ambition has always been to be a pan-African business, having started with Tanzania as our beachhead. We intend to establish Wazo Challenge as a major annual program with a country and regional edition in Eastern Africa. We completed our first country version in Tanzania; perhaps next year, we will go on to Kenya, then Uganda, and so on. However, we will hold an annual East African edition of the program, which will be open to tech entrepreneurs across the entire Eastern Africa region,” adds Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Founder & CEO of Startup Réseau.
Wazo Challenge East Africa is intended for entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 from 19 nations in UN-designated Eastern Africa.
The program is available to entrepreneurs that are harnessing technology to create new and scalable solutions in the Financial Services, Healthcare, Agriculture, Energy / Utility, and Education sectors.
The twelve firms chosen for the four-week program will have access to Startup Réseau’s global network of mentors, investors, industry experts, and successful entrepreneurs.
Each firm will receive $150,000 in technology credits from Startup Réseau’s technology partners, including FreshWorks, AWS, IBM, Digital Ocean, HubSpot, and others, allowing them to build for growth without spending money on technology.
“Winning the Wazo Challenge Tanzania got us prominence, and several firms have approached us in efforts to collaborate,” says Francis Mwakatumbula, Co-Founder & CTO, Kikoba App – Winner of the Wazo Challenge Tanzania. Also, it boosts our organization’s self-esteem to keep doing something no one has done before and going for the unknown; we have learned a lot from all mentors and startup participants”.
To date, businesses who have participated in Hindsight Ventures’ East Africa programs have had access to 45 global mentors and 17 international partners. Furthermore, the program Demo Days were a big success, with over 200 unique guests across the three completed events.
“For Wazo Challenge East Africa, we have an exciting cast of worldwide mentors and facilitators lined up. Jury members have included Abdi Mohamed (Absa Tanzania), Miranda Naiman (Empower), Faith Pella (Tanzania Startup Association), Pritam Dutta (AB InBev), Samantha Niyonsaba (Innovation Village), and Soumitra Deshpande from the start (Freshworks). The modular curriculum will cover the fundamentals of a scalable tech firm, including Customer Development, Go-To-Market Strategies, and Pitch Coaching. Furthermore, these 12 firms will pitch to a worldwide audience of marquee corporates and investors at the East Africa Corporate Innovation Summit,” says Jagruti Bista, Lead – Africa Programs, Startup Réseau.
Startup Réseau offers accelerator programs with the objective of bringing the ultimate global network of Enterprises, Capital, Markets, and Services to Startups, based on the founding principle of #StartupsFirst.
Startup Réseau’s goal is to establish regional centers across Africa, to support and accelerate innovative entrepreneurs through structured accelerator programs, and to expand its global networks.