The state of business acceleration in sub-Saharan Africa, 2018

With hundreds of accelerators emerging around the world, African ventures are applying to the various programmes with the intention of accessing investments, gaining business skills and networking. We review a Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI) report by  Social Enterprise at Goizueta at Emory University and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) on the current state of acceleration among African ventures in sub-Sahara.

The Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI) report summarises application data collected from 2,568 ventures operating in sub-Saharan Africa that applied to participate in accelerator programs between 2013 and 2016. With hundreds of accelerators emerging around the world, funders are investing in them for their potential to grow successful ventures, create jobs and build investor timeline. As an accelerator in Africa, GrowthAfrica provided insights into the report based on its experience in running its Acceleration Programme in Kenya and Uganda. A key observation would be the high percentage of ventures getting into acceleration for direct funding & business skills which indicates that the venture are willing to invest the time needed to gain the required business skills for investment readiness.

Highlights from the data:

  • Looking at the benefits of Acceleration, over 25% of the ventures rank direct funding as the most important followed by network and skill-building. Access to investors follows closely with mentors, credibility and peers taking the lowest percentages
  • Compared to the global sample, African entrepreneurs are more interested in gaining direct funding and business skills
  • More than 25% of the ventures sampled are in the agriculture sector

  • 37% of the ventures that report Intellectual Property (copyrights, patents, trademarks) were significantly more likely to report revenue, employees, and investment
  • Over half  of the ventures included women on the founding team

To download the full report, click here