The entrepreneurs shaping the future in Africa gathered for the Startup Africa Summit


From 6 to 8 December 2018, Rabat hosted the Startup Africa Summit, the flagship international event of the African startup scene which brought together entrepreneurs, mentors, industry experts, investors and leaders of the innovation ecosystem in Europe and the MENA region, and members of the Moroccan diaspora.

More than 300 participants and about thirty international speakers from more than 20 different countries worked together on the internationalisation in Africa and explored investment opportunities.

Flagship event of DiafrikInvest and THE NEXT SOCIETY initiatives co-funded by the European Union, the Startup Africa Summit hosted the 2nd bootcamp of THE NEXT SOCIETY Startup Booster Track and the Moroccan DiafrikInvest Business Forum, both organised by Startup Maroc, ANIMA Investment Network and Big Booster.


The event featured 3 days intensive learning experience including coaching and mentoring, individual meeting, trainings and workshops with the best international and national mentors and a day of conference and networking.

Startups from Europe, MENA region and the Moroccan diaspora were able to discuss key elements for successful development towards the African Markets, to share their experiences and to be trained on current opportunities of investment and cooperation.


The 6 and 7 December, 40 startups pre-selected in Europe, in the MENA region or from the Moroccan diaspora attended THE NEXT SOCIETY bootcamp and benefitted from 2 days of mentoring, coaching and in-depth meetings, and trainings and workshops by high-level national and international mentors. “At the point where my startup is, we need advice to take the right turn at the right time and decide how to grow. In my opinion, the strengths of these two days of bootcamp were meeting mentors and benefitting of different viewpoints from experts that were very enriching”. Selim Yasmine, founder and CEO of the Lebanese startup 209 Lebanese Wine, accompanied by THE NEXT SOCIETY initiative. 


This activity is the last service delivered to the first promotion of start-ups being supported by THE NEXT SOCIETY Startup Booster Track, the tailor-made support programme for entrepreneurs established in the MENA region. The 2nd promotion of innovative entrepreneurs that will benefit from THE NEXT SOCIETY programme is in the process of selection after the closing of the 2nd call for application on 15 November 2018.


On 8 December 2018, a public conference was held in which several speakers from Europe, the United States, the Moroccan diaspora and the MENA region took part. High-level round tables about the startup ecosystem in Morocco and Africa, panels, startups’ success stories, lessons from investors, and key notes were organised during the day. 


Mathias Fillon, coordinator of THE NEXT SOCIETY, opened the Business Forum by highlighting 3 major challenges to support innovation in the region: “supporting the ecosystems in the development of advocacy strategies for a legal framework more favorable to the development of start-ups; supporting the diaspora as an accelerator of business relations, technology transfer and know-how between Europe and Africa; and finally, promoting solutions developed by entrepreneurs that meet the development challenges of territories.”


In addition, this event also made it possible to connect the talents of the Moroccan diaspora living in Europe - identified as part of the DiafrikInvest project - to the local entrepreneurial and institutional ecosystems’ stakeholders, as well as entrepreneurs living in Morocco and benefiting from the DiafrikInvest support programme. As part of this mentoring programme launched in July 2018, Moroccan entrepreneurs met their mentors from the diaspora living in Europe, who once again shared their experience and energy with them. In 2019, DiafrikInvest will select the best entrepreneurs to link them with an international network of business angels, and thus to foster co-investments.


The "Diaspora shaping Africa" conference recalled the crucial role of Marocains Résidant à l’Etranger (Moroccans Residing Abroad) in networking, innovation, technology transfer, fundraising and industry promotion, and the need of new approaches to release the full potential of this diaspora. "During the day, we have talked about Africa and diaspora: Africa is the future of the world and it is our future. The diaspora is one of the driving forces of the African countries, let us not forget that. "said Naoufal Chama, founder and president of StartUp Maroc.


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