500 Global, a leading venture capital firm, has partnered with Germany’s economic development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and its Make-IT in Africa initiative, to boost the growth of Africa’s innovation ecosystems.
Both firms are in partnership are launching their inaugural Bootcamp for Accelerator Managers (BAM) program to empower African accelerators in their quest to support the continent’s talented entrepreneurs.
BAM will kick off in Nairobi on November 14 with a five-day in-person bootcamp for selected accelerator managers from across Africa, followed by a 12-month virtual program that will delve deeper on best practices in running a world-class accelerator.
The program will feature instructors from 500 Global, including Venture Partner Rob Neivert, Global Head of Education Programs Paulina Szyrmer, Global Investment Team Member Jordan Sawadogo, and Africa Lead Mareme Dieng. They bring a unique perspective on Africa’s ecosystem, informed by 500 Global’s 10 years of investing in startups across the continent.
The program is designed to increase the impact of high-potential accelerators in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, and Kenya.
Accelerators play a crucial role in emerging ecosystems but need sustainable business models.
BAM will use a project-based teaching methodology with real-world scenarios drawn from 500 Global’s experience running more than 80 accelerator programs worldwide, as well as Make-IT in Africa’s experience supporting national and pan-African entrepreneurial ecosystems to become resilient.
“This program represents another cornerstone in Make-IT in Africa´s efforts to support African innovation on a local, pan-African and global scale. Together with our partner 500 Global, we use a hands-on approach to bring together African accelerators with seasoned coaches, while simultaneously building bridges between African and international networks. Beyond the scope of the program, African entrepreneurs and startups can benefit from the best practices applied by accelerators across the continent,” said Matthias Rehfeld, Head of Make-IT in Africa.
“500 Global is thrilled to be working alongside GIZ to ensure that African accelerators have the tools they need to support startups. 500 has been investing in companies in Africa for a decade and continues to be excited about the growth of the African tech ecosystem. We believe that the next phase of this evolution will be led by home-grown accelerators, like the ones joining BAM,” said Mareme Dieng, 500 Global’s Africa Lead.