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Stanford Seed collaborates with African Management Institute (AMI) to support African entrepreneurs

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Seed, a Stanford Graduate School of Business-led initiative, has renewed its collaboration with the African Management Institute (AMI) in its ongoing effort to partner with entrepreneurs. And to help them build thriving enterprises that transform lives. Stanford has announced a new scholarship fund for the initiative, which spans the African continent, and will now include francophone Africa. Launched in partnership with Stanford Seed in 2021, AMI’s Aspire Business Growth Programme provides owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their senior teams with practical learning and training to power growth in their business with 88% of graduates attributing accelerated business growth to the programme.

“Partnering with AMI to offer the Aspire Business Growth Programme has expanded our ability to reach more SMEs across Africa, while also preparing businesses to be positioned to join Stanford Seed’s Transformation Program for established CEOs and founders,” said Darius Teter, Seed Executive Director. “Evidence shows that small and early-stage businesses are in need of more tailored support. Through Aspire we’re able to offer support to entrepreneurs at an earlier stage of their journey through AMI’s practical programme built specifically for African business owners.”

Designed for business owners with annual revenue of between $20,000 – $400,000 USD, Aspire is delivered virtually over a six-month learning journey, with participating businesses joining pan-African cohorts of 30 businesses. The programme offers access to AMI’s practical business tools and resources through experiential workshops, online platform access, and peer groups, in addition to a live session delivered by Stanford Seed Graduate School of Business Faculty. Access to Stanford Seed mentors is offered to a select number of participants who operate high performing businesses that successfully complete all the programme requirements.

“Aspire draws on AMI’s business growth methodology and practical learning approach that has proven to help African businesses grow and thrive,” said Rebecca Harrison, CEO and Co-founder of AMI. “The Aspire programme is designed for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs) who benefit from learnings focused on five key pillars including: Strategy & Planning; Customers & Markets; Finance & Money; People & Talent and Operations Efficiency.”

Thousands of well-established SMEs generating revenue between $300,000 – $15M USD have applied to Stanford Seed’s flagship programme, the Seed Transformation Program (STP), but the programme admits only a select few. Originally offered as an alternative option for African businesses that do not meet the minimum requirements, AMI and Seed have opened the application process for the Aspire Business Growth Programme to businesses across the continent after a successful pilot. 130 businesses have enrolled in the programme so far with 88% of participants that complete, attributing their business growth to the programme.

“In 2021 our business was at a stagnant state, we were not growing and we didn’t know what to do next. The Aspire programme gave us a 360 degree look at the business. The tools were a game changer. Before Aspire we kept postponing decisions as we run the day-to-day operations of the business, but now we have a way of making both big and small decisions and more importantly bringing people on board to the decisions. Our revenue has grown, our business continues to grow thanks to Aspire” – Raphael Opiyo Obiero, Founder of Nawiri African Sprouts Ltd and Aspire Programme participant

Applications for the March 2023 English cohorts are now open. The deadline to apply is March 13th, 2023.

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Press Release

Dream VC Launches Its 2024 Venture Capital Fellowship Program

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Dream VC, Africa’s foremost venture capital institute and investor accelerator announces the commencement of applications for the 2024 cohorts of their flagship African-focused Venture Capital training programs. Founded in 2021, Dream VC has trained more than 170 African and Africa-focused investment professionals across 3x successive cohorts and 5x programs, many of whom are currently leading and operating in different investment roles across over 65x African investment firms.

The annual remote venture capital fellowship programs provide the ideal launchpad for all aspiring and current investors to break into the African venture space, with an extensive curriculum, practical training, and direct exposure to world-class investors provided to both junior and more venture enthusiasts.

Dream VC’s tailored educational investor training programs are dedicated to creating the necessary pipeline of talent, the next generation of African-focused investors. Investor Acceleratorand Launch into VC are Dream VC’s remotely delivered flagship venture capital fellowship programs, both run entirely virtually. The two concurrently running programs provide an ideal launchpad for all aspiring and current investors to learn, practice, and sharpen the skills needed to successfully find, invest in, and grow African technology businesses.

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“The Dream VC fellowship was a big part of my journey into Venture Capital, it allows you to work alongside enthusiastic venture capitalists in the African VC ecosystem, gain hands-on experience in due diligence and deal sourcing, and build a strong network in the industry,” said Cinderella Alinaitwe, now an Investment Analyst at Pearl Capital Partners, a Dream VC alumni (2021 cohort).

“Dream VC is what I wished I had access to when I started my VC journey. The barrier to entry is high for anyone looking to break into the African VC industry, and going through Dream VC equips individuals with the necessary skills set needed to land that entry-level role at an African VC firm. With more African funds springing up every year, there is a huge opportunity to fill positions and get the best talent. The current gaps in the market for talent are huge, and Dream VC is plugging into a critical pain point. With Dream VC, you are sure of the best talents to hire from.” echoes Dayo Koleowo, General Partner at Microtraction and a past speaker at Dream VC’s venture capital training programs.

This year, Dream VC is back in full force with an expanded team and a success rate evidenced by the many funds that count Dream VC alumni on their teams. In 2024, the investor accelerator will accept applications for their now-familiar venture capital training programs from today, the 27th of February 2024. The two programs running for this year are:

Dream VC’s focus on accessibility continues, and Dream VC is proud to share that they have once again secured a round of commitments from their partners and alumni to enable the Dream VC Access Foundation (Dream VC’s scholarship arm) to provide much-needed support and financial assistance to any aspiring investor-in-training, who makes it through the application process but cannot cover a portion of the program costs.

“Our commitment at Dream VC extends far beyond merely churning out a set number of investors within a specific timeframe. We’re dedicated teachers and builders, meticulously identifying and bridging gaps within the investor ecosystem across Africa. We firmly believe in the immense potential of African talent. Through our programs, we’re shaping future leaders poised to enter various roles within the venture capital landscape, from joining VCs and launching funds of their own to becoming angels, venture builders, and ecosystem enablers at ESOs,” remarked Mark Kleyner, Co-Founder of Dream VC, highlighting Dream VC’s pivotal role and continued success rate in nurturing and empowering investors, funds, and corporate entities to actively participate in Africa’s burgeoning startup scene.

Applications for the 2024 cohort for “Launch into VC (LIVC)’’ and “Investor Accelerator” programs open on Tuesday, February 27th, and will close at 23:59 GMT on the 14th of April 2024.

Both programs will run concurrently from summer to autumn. Launch into VC runs for 4 months from June to Late September. The Investor Accelerator program commences in June and runs until October for a total of 5 months.

Interested applicants can apply for the 2024 cohort of Dream VC’s programs here before 23:59 GMT on April 14th, 2024: https://forms.gle/DJuY7QHsMMYxBEBZ9

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Fawry partners LA Market to empower local brands in Egypt

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Fawry, the leading company in the field of banking technology and electronic payments signed a strategic cooperation agreement with “LA Market”, an exhibition and conference management company. As the first choice in the electronic payments market, “Fawry” seeks to support women empowerment initiatives within the region, which not only strengthens the business but also the landscape.

“Fawry”, a company specializing in financial technology solutions, aims through this partnership to bring mutual benefits to both parties and contribute to the overall development of the market within the framework of its commitment to the Egyptian market by contributing to spreading the culture of digital transformation and digitization and providing multiple electronic services to all the various sectors of the country.

Heba El-Awady, Chief Business Officer at Fawry, said: “The agreement highlights the bridging of international and local markets, demonstrating a commitment to creating a global impact while focusing on the specific needs of the Egyptian market.”

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El-Awady added: “The agreement has a positive impact on the local community by creating opportunities for businesses to thrive, thereby contributing to economic growth.”

On the other side, Lydiaa Akram, founder and CEO of LA Market, confirmed that the cooperation helps to promote women’s empowerment by incorporating specific initiatives or programs within the partnership.

Akram said: “We are proud to be the ideal partner for “Fawry”, the leading company in the field of banking technology and electronic payments”.

She added: “we hope to benefit from Fawry’s sizeable experience and unique resources in the Egyptian market, and to combine the strengths of both companies to serve our customers better.”

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Press Release

Amila Africa Launches Amila Insights

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Amila Africa Founder, Lethabo Sithole 

Amila Africa is thrilled to announce the launch of Amila Insights, a revolutionary division that is committed to providing advanced analytics, research and comprehensive solutions for businesses, governments, and international organisations looking to achieve success in African markets. The company offers a range of services, including syndicated market intelligence reports, customized research solutions, high-level market access events, content development, and value communication. 

As a budding pan-African and women-led advisory firm specialising in policy, enterprise and infrastructure development within the trade, investment and energy sectors, Amila Africa brings unparalleled expertise to the forefront with the launch of Amila Insights. 

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“With a focus on demystifying development trends and delivering data-driven analyses of opportunities across Africa, Amila Insights serves as the strategic partner organisations need to thrive in the region” said Lethabo Sithole, Managing Director of Amila Africa. “Our suite of services is meticulously designed to empower clients with the tools and knowledge necessary to drive growth and achieve sustainable success.” 

With a steadfast commitment to collaboration and partnership, Amila Insights collaborates closely with clients to develop tailored solutions aligned with their specific goals and priorities. “By leveraging its extensive network and deep understanding of local dynamics, Amila Insights assists clients in identifying new opportunities, enhancing competitiveness, and optimising business strategies,” said Noluthando Mthonti-Mlambo, Executive Director at Amila Insights. 

Amila Insights strives to be more than just a provider of information and data to clients. It aims to challenge the existing narratives on Africa, African businesses, countries, and multilateral organizations and become a trusted source of inspiration and change. 

For businesses, governments, and international organisations seeking to unlock the vast potential of African markets, Amila Insights represents a compelling opportunity to gain useful insights into the complex, evolving and growing African market. With a focus on excellence and a dedication to delivering tangible results, Amila Insights stands ready to be the trusted partner organisation to rely on to navigate the dynamic landscape of African business.

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