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Dream VC is bigger and better poised to increase Knowledge and Access to the Venture Capital Space in Africa

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Dream VC Co-Founders; Cindy Ai and Mark Kleyner (Image: Dream VC)

Dream VC is an investor accelerator and community-driven educational platform. Providing rigorous remote programs centred specifically around venture capital across Africa’s startup ecosystems. Their educational programs help passionate individuals get the knowledge, experience and network needed to get started in Venture Capital or land top roles at VC funds around Africa.

After launching a small scale programme in 2021, they are back, at a much larger scale, with success to show for their efforts. More than 90% of the fellows who graduated from the inaugural programme went on break into venture capital. With some joining new and established firms such as Ajim Capital, Akribos Capital, LoftyInc Wennovate, Oui Capital, and Lateral Capital. While others are writing checks as angels or setting up their own syndicates and funds in emerging ecosystems like Mozambique, Côte D’Ivoire, Rwanda, and others.

Now, Dream VC is running a massive expansion with their 2022 programs and is keen to engage, educate and upskill a much larger untapped investor talent pool. Hoping to become ‘The Go-To Launchpad For Aspiring Investors in Africa’. This year they are running 2 programs equipped with an impressive 500h+ of content and more than triple the contact hours fellows get with the Dream VC staff. 

The 2022 programs are set to run from June to September (for the “Launch into Venture Capital“). And from June to October (for the “Investor Accelerator“) programs. The first is a foundational VC fellowship for young working professionals keen on pipelining into entry-level positions in VC or investment firms. At the same time, the latter is geared towards experienced professionals (with a significant operator, entrepreneurial, or advisory background). Who have the capital and network to pivot into an ecosystem-building VC career. 

The last few years have seen exponential growth in entrepreneurial adoption. This is only further enabled by rapid increases in the publicity of startups and startup founders. But the investment world has dragged behind. Even as funding has increased, most of this has been concentrated in select deals (48% of total funding for startups in Africa went to just 12 companies). And over 50% of investors are international. 

Dream VC Fellows with Cindy (Image: Dream VC)

“People are saying entrepreneurship can help to catapult countries across the continent into digital transformation. But this simply cannot happen without an equivalent level of support from the private capital sector.” adds Mark Kleyner, Dream VC’s Co-Founder and programmeDirector. 

This is where Dream VC see themselves plugging in. Teaching fellows across both programs with an immersive 0 to 100 knowledge acceleration about the VC space. Covering everything from Deal Sourcing and Due Diligence to the varied ways VCs can add value and support companies. Throughout their investment, exploring complicated topics like Syndication, Angel and VC investments. Also, the legalities of setting up VC Funds or Angel Groups to invest in African startups.

While international interest is now putting African startups in the spotlight. There are still very few support systems for aspiring local investors. And opportunities for working professionals to break into VC on the continent. Dream VC exists to change this and has ambitious plans to enable the next wave of aspiring investors. By building the communities, the educational infrastructure, and the environment to thrive. And adding maximum value to startups in multiple African startup ecosystems.

“At the end of the day, working in countries like Nigeria or Kenya, founders across the continent often are faced with major obstacles. And there is still a lot that must change about perceptions of investing or building startups in Africa. Investors need to be much more hands-on and add a lot more value than just money to build sustainable, scalable businesses. And this can’t be done without including and enabling local leaders to be more active in the VC space.” remarks Cindy Ai, Co-Founder and Programme Director of Dream VC. “We aren’t just accelerating a new wave of check-writers. We are catalysing the next generation of African ecosystem builders.”

Applications for both programs go live today, March 8th. And will be processed on a rolling basis until the final deadline on May 1st 2022, at 11:59 pm GMT. The Launch into Venture Capital Fellowship specifically has an Early Bird Deadline on April 1st, 2022, at 11:59 pm GMT.

The programs are expected to be extremely competitive, so prospective fellows are encouraged to apply early. Although Dream VC’s core programs are paid, several generous scholarships are available. Applicants in need of financial support are still strongly encouraged to apply.

 

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Press Release

The Gender Mainstreaming for Climate Entrepreneurship

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The Gender Mainstreaming Programme 2024 organized by the Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre aimed to close the gender gap in climate entrepreneurship. NCIC achieves this objective by collaborating with industry players, and stakeholders to drive and gain support for women in the industry, across Nigeria and the world at large. WeClimeEquallyWorkshop and the G-FIVE Business Accelerator by NCIC are the two instruments the organization uses to foster gender equality and climate-focused entrepreneurship. 

The Gender and Climate Workshop Event 

This Year’s WeClimeEquallyWorkshop 2024 with the theme: Equity and Sustainability Towards a Prosperous Future was held on Thursday 21, March 2024 at Four Points by Sheraton. The welcome address was led by Mr. Adamu, the Chief Operating Officer who represented Bankole Oloruntoba, the Chief Executive Officer, of NCIC. He emphasized the work of NCIC in championing projects that drive gender equality and entrepreneurship.

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 Mrs. Titi Oshodi, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Climate Change and Circular Economy rendered the Goodwill Message and raised the need for effective communication to spur the needed change as there are many communication nuances in the Nigerian landscape. Rendering the speech of His Excellency Babajide Sanwolu, Governor of Lagos state, Mrs. Oshodi plauded that the WeClimEqualityWorkshop provides a pivotal platform to exchange knowledge and amplify women’s voices and ensure their meaningful participation in climate and circular economy because there is a link between gender, women, and marginalization is essential.

The workshop also featured 4 expert paper presentations delivered by industry experts from KPMG, FC4SLagos, Fate Foundation, and academia. In addition, attendees were treated to an intriguing panel session on applying a gender lens to the triple Es of Employment, Environment, and Entrepreneurship. Following hours of interactions, attendees were allowed an opportunity to co-create practical strategies to infuse gender lens in organizational programming, policies, and framework. 

Green Females in Venture Enterprise Business Accelerator 

Building on some key outcomes of the #WeClimeEqually Workshop, 50 climate-focused women entrepreneurs entered a 4-day hybrid business accelerator program delivered in partnership with the Lagos Business School Sustainability Center. Core modules of the accelerator centered around sustainability, innovation, legal regulatory frameworks, business management, and grant writing amongst others. 

Additional program support included a nursery for mothers, accommodation, a virtual learning platform for long-distance learners, and bonding activities. Participants were also certified at the end of the program. The Gender Mainstreaming for Climate Entrepreneurship is sponsored by Climate KIC; Europe’s leading Climate Innovation and Irish Aid. To learn more about the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center Visit the website here https://nigeriacic.org/about-us/

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Press Release

AFEX Ranks 5th on FT Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2024

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AFEX Management (Image: Supplied).

AFEX, Africa’s leading commodities market player, announced that it has secured a place in the Financial Times (FT) ranking of Africa’s Fastest-Growing Companies in 2024. Coming in at Number 5 this year, this marks the organization’s 3rd consecutive entry on the list, after ranking as the fastest growing company in Africa in 2023. 

The Financial Times, in partnership with Statista, recognizes Africa’s most exciting businesses through the Fastest Growing Companies ranking, celebrating thriving businesses with exceptional revenue growth. The list ranks African companies by their compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue for 2019 and 2022. In that period, AFEX grew by 287.82% in the 4-year period, despite still felt effects of COVID-19, macroeconomic headwinds and market upheavals caused by uncertain policy environments and increasing natural disasters/ climate change effects witnessed in its existing markets of Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.

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Since 2019, AFEX has been working across Africa, creating an efficient market for commodities trading and solving food insecurity by driving financing from the Nigerian Capital markets and retail investors. In 2020, the launch of their digital trading platform, ComX, lowered barriers for commodity trading and alternative investments, while providing transparent financing options for the currently fragmented agriculture value chain. Through innovative financial instruments like the FETC and Asset Backed Commercial Papers which have historically performed well, AFEX is creating the infrastructure to boost agriculture production across Africa. 

Akinyinka Akintunde, President/CEO, AFEX Nigeria said “We are proud to once again be featured on the Fastest growing companies list for the third time in a row. This year’s entry is perhaps more significant for us considering the harsh market environment that a lot of businesses are undoubtedly contending with. This is a testament to all the work we have put in over the past few years to ensure Africa’s food self-sufficiency. Our expansion into Cote d’Ivoire this year also mirrors our commitment to our strategic expansion plan, Project Black Panther, which sees us replicating our business model in 9 African countries in the next decade to improve cross border trade on the continent”.

Today, AFEX has impacted the lives of over 500,000 farmers across 4 countries, while prioritizing creating a positive and lasting difference in their communities. Ultimately, AFEX is empowering local farming communities, fostering economic opportunities, and contributing to Africa’s sustainable self-sufficiency as the company prioritizes its impact goals.

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Press Release

LCH Consultancy & Associates Strengthens African Strategic Communications Services

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LCH Consultancy & Associates Evelyn Wangui (Image: Supplied).

LCH Consultancy & Associates, an integrated advisory and strategic corporate communications agency focused on African development, is delighted to announce the appointment of Evelyn Wangui as the newest addition to its growing team to support the agency’s expanding global client portfolio. With over ten years of experience in strategic public relations, Evelyne brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to LCH Consultancy & Associates. As Director of Content and Media Relations, she will be pivotal in strengthening strategic services across the African region. 

During her career, Evelyne has represented many multinational organisations from various industries, operating in both corporate and developmental spheres. She was educated in Kenya, studying journalism and political science at Nairobi University.

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Commenting on her appointment, Evelyne said, “I am delighted to join this talented team of inspirational and highly motivated peers. This marks an exciting milestone in my profession. I look forward to innovating and executing new forms of corporate communications blended with business advisory.”

Lydia-Claire Halliday, Founder and Executive Director of LCH Consultancy & Associates, welcomed Evelyne. She noted that her entry aligns with the agency’s ongoing commitment to attract unique talent for continued world-class client support. “With this growing talent pool, I am confident that our clients will benefit from unparalleled communications and stakeholder relations support. We encourage both collaboration and intrapreneurship, which paves the way for our team’s development and success.”

LCH Consultancy was launched in 2012 to bridge the global knowledge gap by representing Africa and the corporations, organisations and people vested in its empowerment and equitable development. In 2023, the company officially rebranded as LCH Consultancy & Associates, representing the vital contribution of colleagues.

The agency specialises in three core areas: 

  • Investor Relations – supporting capital and debt raising while maintaining the perception of value across the global investment community. In this role, LCH Consultancy & Associates advises on price-sensitive commercial developments and business strategies to local and global audiences.
  • Corporate Communications – developing and executing communications plans that strengthen relationships with the media, public, industry, regulatory, and government stakeholders.
  • Strategic Business Advisory –  providing unique intelligence, analysis, and insights to clients distinguished by a deep understanding of the opportunities present in Africa. This service has been instrumental in enabling clients to make informed decisions regarding their business development and identify partnerships and strategic alliances.

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