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CFI launched the Innovate Africa project in 2014 in order to help a new generation of African media professionals to create and develop innovative information products and services in line with advances in technology, usage and the expectations of the continent's citizens.
Since then, the situation has changed dramatically in the countries of French-speaking Africa. Ecosystems centred on innovation have been developed in most capital cities in Western and Central Africa, and organisations for assisting start-up projects have been set up. Events are organised centred on founding new enterprises and developing new products or services in the new technologies sector. There are now even more investors, and schemes for providing financial support to fledgling companies are being started up in several countries.
Following on from the initial project, 'Innovate Africa – Entrepreneurs' has been launched in order to specifically develop viable projects, with much focus being placed on their business model. It will accompany the 12 Innovate Africa finalists, with a further 12 digital media projects from French-speaking Sub-Saharan Africa also being selected following a
call for applications.
These 24 projects will receive online support and guidance for around two months, before a one-week acceleration session is held in Dakar (Senegal), which will be attended by African and European mentors.
At the end of this session, the best eight projects will go on to the final phase of the programme, which will involve further online support and guidance for several weeks, and culminate in all of the projects being presented to investors in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire).
The leaders and co-founders of 24 projects
Call for applications in order to select 12 projects (to complement the 12 projects already selected following the Innovate Africa Massive Open Online Course - MOOC).
Remote support for preparing for the acceleration session: six theme-based sessions on Skype, each lasting one hour, are organised every week with the 24 teams, during which the project leaders focus on establishing their business model.
Acceleration session in Dakar for the 24 projects, at the end of which the eight best projects will be selected to feature in a presentation to investors (to be held in Abidjan).
Twenty project leaders from French-speaking Africa met in Dakar for a week's intensive refresher course. The best 8 will be flying off to Abidjan to submit their prototypes to investors at the Africa web festival in early December.
Remote support and guidance to the eight selected projects.
The eight finalists of the Innovate Africa – Entrepreneurs project have presented their initiatives to corporate investment and advertising professionals at the prestigious Africa Web Festival, which was held in Abidjan from 29 November to 1 December 2016.
Meeting with investors for the eight projects selected (in Abidjan).