[Senegal] Impact Dakar launches first incubation program to support youth startups
23-04-2018 07:25:00 | by: Andrea Ayemoba | hits: 1000 | Tags:

Organized in collaboration with the Dakar office of Dalberg, an international strategy consulting firm, a new incubation program that aims to regroup Dakar's most innovative early-stage entrepreneurs and help them turn their ideas into viable startups, Incuberation was launched as Impact Dakar's first incubation program. 

Incuberation started in mid-April and will end in December 2018. The program starts with weekly sessions over a three-month period on topics ranging from business model canvas, startup development, design thinking, English classes and fundraising. This is then followed by a six-month in-house acceleration program. Participants will have access to Impact Dakar's prime co-working space for the duration of the program. A network of mentors, coaches and experts will work closely with the start-ups to help them launch and grow their ventures. The best start-ups will have access to seed funding at the end of the program. 

Over 60 applications were received, and 12 start-ups were selected following the pitch day. Over 20 finalists were nominated to pitch their startups with a 3-minute pitch followed by 5 minutes of Q&A with the selection panel.

The judging panel for the selection process included: Co-founders of Impact Dakar, Madjiguene Sock and Aziz Sy, Mafal Lo, Founder and CEO of Firefly, a Senegalese start-up that participated in last year's PitchDrive and Fayelle Ouane Co-founder of Suguba.

The 12 entrepreneurs selected for Incuberation's first cohort are aged between 22 and 33 years and include 4 women. Their start-ups are aiming to solve Senegal's most pressing issues in the fields of education, pollution, nutrition, fraud and emergency healthcare among others. 

Selected entrepreneurs include:
- Olivia Codou, co-founder of Dakarlives, an online platform that sits at the crossroads of creativity, culture and technology and promotes Senegal's culture and tourism, boasts close to 68,000 followers on Instagram;
- Boussoura Talla, co-founder of SET TIC, a company that works on recycling and revaluing electric and electronic waste;
- Siny Samba, co-founder of Le Lionceau, a manufacturer of natural baby food made up of natural and local ingredients, winner of the Senegal Women's Investment Club (WIC) 2018 prize.

Incuberation is funded with the support of Suguba, a regional platform focused on fostering regional integration and developing strong entrepreneurial ecosystems, that was launched thanks to the support of the Dutch Good Growth Fund.

Fayelle Ouane stated that "Suguba recognises that addressing the skills gap in Africa is crucial to promoting entrepreneurship. With access to the right training, mentors, opportunities, social networks, technology, and finance, the youth can acquire the skills needed to effectively turn their ideas into reality, hence the need to create strong hubs".