Three African start-ups from Belgium were lauded during the Sustainable Technology for Africa event. They will receive further coaching, knowledge sharing and a social loan of up to EUR 100,000. It is supported by Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs in cooperation with Thomas More, VITO and The African Diaspora Projects Initiative.
The winning projects are
- MNB, a project of Zilipa Nyirabyago, that hones in on the circular economy. MNB wants to reduce the import of mushrooms to Rwanda by getting local farmers to grow them. The waste from local coffee plantations is used as fertilizer.
- Lum’Artemisia is a start-up that was proposed by Océane Vildeuil, that aims to drive down the incidence of malaria by at least 60% by using the medicinal plant Artemisia. There is currently a pilot project running in the DRC, which will soon be expanded to Togo and Benin. Lum’Artemisia also won the audience award.
- Solarly is a start-up launched by Jean-Grégoire Orban de Xivry, that focuses on solar power and makes it accessible in the form of the user-friendly and cheap solar power box. Solarly addresses the high demand for electricity with this idea. Two out of three Africans do not have electricity in their houses. The pilot project kicked off in Cameroon.
The crowning event
The closing event in Leuven set the seal on a process that stretched over months. Initially 23 projects entered the contest. Of them, 11 were selected. They were coached intensively in 5 coaching sessions to transform their business idea into a proper business model. They were assisted by experienced specialist (ex-)captains of industry of Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs, experts from VITO and Entrepreneurship & Innovation students at Thomas More.
“The success and positive energy generated by this Sustainable Technology for Africa contest, which boasted more than 100 observers and investors on site, showed how important integrated cooperation is between Belgian and African entrepreneurs,” Björn Macauter, general manager at Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs (OVO) explains. It was also announced at the event that the organization will be launching an OVO Acceleration Fund to provide entrepreneurs in Africa with even more support.
Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs is convinced that local businesses specifically can create an economic revival. They provide entrepreneurs in Africa with shared knowledge, coaching, follow-up and social loans.
Take a look at the videos here in which the winners introduce themselves.