On Thursday a final event themed “How to succeed with the business in sub-Saharan Africa” was held for the The Go Africa program, created by Sting and partners, at SUP46 in Stockholm. Go Africa has offered Swedish entrepreneurs seminars, experience-sharing, networking, individual coaching and visits to startup hubs, all focused on doing business in Africa, during the past two years.
Interest in the final event was considerable and the room was filled to the last seat. During an inspiring morning the 100 participants were treated to experiences and lessons learned from Go Africa and its participating companies, and talks by experienced “Africapreneurs” Iliana Björling Lindenberg, Gbenga Ayaji and Go Africa’s project manager Karin Ruiz.
Important success factors for doing business in Africa that were identified by the speakers included doing their homework properly in terms of understanding each market and what drives it, as well as having patience. Exploring funding opportunities available to them and having a clear plan on how to finance your market penetration, and the importance of finding a local partner also came up as “lessons learned”. Additionally the importance of the full value chain, and creativity in business models were emphasized. And last but not least, to exploit the potential carried by the explosive growth in mobile and broadband use in Africa.
“It’s been two intensive and very informative years with Go Africa. Around 100 companies have participated in various activities during this time, and we see that the program has created new networks and unexpected encounters that could ultimately lead to new investors having the courage to invest in business opportunities in Africa. We are impressed by the entrepreneurs’ drive and we look forward to following their future progress” said Karin Ruiz, business coach at Sting and project manager for Go Africa.
Go Africa was conducted in two phases. During the first phase, which was open to small and medium-sized enterprises interested in doing business in Africa, the program focused on the dissemination of knowledge and experience, and networking. During the second phase, in 2017, seven companies were selected to receive individual coaching and support with a focus on business development and marketing strategies. (Five companies completed the program.) Support has also been offered regarding funding. The program has arranged visits to Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Kampala and Lagos. A whopping 26 startup hubs have been visited during these trips, aiming to open new doors for business as well as to establish so-called “soft landing collaborations”.
One of the participants of Go Africa, and one of the companies that received individual support, is drone tech startup GLOBHE. GLOBHE performes strategic tasks such as mapping areas affected by natural disasters, rapid data acquisition and transport of goods to otherwise inaccessible areas, using drones equipped with artificial intelligence performs. GLOBHE currently works with the UN in southern Africa.
“By participating in Go Africa, GLOBHE has been able to develop its business model to achieve scalability in the African continent and globally” said Helena Samsioe, CEO of GLOBHE, commenting on value of being a part of Go Africa.
The Go Africa program was initiated and managed by Sting in cooperation with Inclusive Business Sweden, Swecare, RISE, and with funding from The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.