The Awards

Entrepreneurship is a powerful economic growth tool for the global and local economies. Over the last decade, an economic development practice called entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem building has emerged. Startup ecosystems leverage the connected resources of local communities to support entrepreneurs as they start and scale high-growth companies.

While it’s been heartening to see government and industry step up during this pandemic to infuse entrepreneurship and small businesses with needed capital, there’s another group of people who have been working, often unnoticed and unheralded, behind the scenes to support and catalyse entrepreneurs for years — startup ecosystem builders or just ecosystem builders. And, with the exponential challenges brought about by pandemic, entrepreneurs and communities will need ecosystem builders now more than ever.

Above all, wouldn’t it be great if we could recognize and honor all of these selfless folks (Ecosystem Builders) who offer so much yet often get so little acknowledgment for their efforts behind the scenes?

With over 2690 nominations received across 40 African countries in 27 categories including Ecosystem Builder of the year, Startup Coach of the Year and more. The awards recognise excellence in Africa’s startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem and celebrate unsung heroes in ecosystem building who are individuals, communities, institutions, and organisations that have demonstrated innovation, excellence, outstanding achievement, and impact in advancing African entrepreneurship.

The objectives of the awards are to:

To highlight and celebrate ecosystem builders across Africa who are building this movement through their daily work.

Increase awareness of the importance of strengthening Africa’s startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem and culture; and, Incentivize efforts and elevate ambitions of the African entrepreneurial community.

Meet Our Finalists

We are proud to announce the Finalists. These are individuals or organisations that have completed steps for them to be considered for the Startup Ecosystem Builder of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Tebogo Mogaleemang

ECOFITEXT

Eposi Frida

Omar Ibn Abdillah

  • Al Karaki
  • 4iAfrica
  • TechnoServe
  • Daniel Kwabena Owusu

John Kamara

Michel Cordani

  • Chamaroca Limitada
  • Crimas Agrforest LDA
  • Kenneth Udeh
  • Adejoke Lasisi
  • Regtech Africa
  • Aondokator Hule

Mareme Dieng

Kisimi Kayleemasa

  • Bakhusele Mathupha
  • Ocean Hub Africa
  • SAtion
  • Doreen Mokoena
  • Xoliswa Moraka
  • Venicia Guinot
  • The Makers Space
  • Propella Business Incubator
  • Grace Legodi
  • Eero Tarjanne
  • VC4A
  • African Women in Agriculture
  • Botle Sanitary Towels
  • Catherine Wijnberg
  • Loudhailer
  • The Anzisha Prize Program
  • The Transformation Legacy
  • Smartlab
  • Kiko Kiwanga

Koffi Elom Assiobo

  • Stephen Muraga
  • Opelo Capital Ltd

Nkosana George Mazibisa

Now more than ever, we need ecosystem builders! They say if entrepreneurship is the life blood of the economy, ecosystem builders are the circulatory system, the arteries and veins that facilitate the flow of ideas, resources, connections, and collaborations in entrepreneurial ecosystems.

This award recognises the person who has demonstrated the greatest impact in advancing the success of entrepreneurs,
startups, startup communities and entrepreneurial activities locally, regionally and / or nationally and who has been a
leading evangelist and champion of entrepreneurship, demonstrably contributing to more entrepreneurial attitudes,
behaviors and activities.

This award recognizes the organisation or individual who has substantially contributed to the growth and development of their startup ecosystem over the past year. They have been an integral part of an inspiration for the continued growth of their startup community.

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Policy Champion of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Thekla Mutero

 Ascenção Machel

Natview Foundation for Technology

In every country of the world, government agencies regulate business.

Commerce, industry, and trade departments all have a say in how startups can operate. They implement policies that enable a conducive environment for startups to thrive. Help or hinder, it’s clear that local or national governments have a big influence on startup ecosystems.

• The champion has applied knowledge and innovation that brought about new opportunities for the ecosystem.
• The specific policies and standards developed must have enabled a new framework with funding to accelerate broader ecosystem builder organization collaboration and transparency.
• The champion displayed transparency through decimation of data and was accessible to a wide range of Stakeholders.
• Secured funding to drive the implementation and outcomes of policy changes.

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Service Provider of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

IPAARO

The Community Hub

Woro Ghana Limited

  • Crima’s AgroFores
  • Plataforma da sociedade civil

Eonsfleet

  • Nomayini Projects
  • Katlego Sundani
  • Lacoona Legal
  • Oluchi Business & Training Solutions
  • Golden Rewards
  • Aurik Enterprise Development
  • Women of noble wisdom

Ace Smart Technologies

This award recognizes the most supportive service provider in the startup community.

This service provider is a staple champion and advocate of the ecosystem. Keeping the criteria in mind, tell us why the nominee should be considered for the Service Provider of the Year award.

• Customer service: The service provider goes above and beyond for all customers, including startups, and has a dedicated team to support startups.
• Community involvement: This service provider can be seen at startup events because it wants to maintain relationships, stay up-to-date with innovative companies, and learn from startups.
• Product flexibility: The service providers products and/or services are adaptable to the needs of startups.
• Collaboration: The service provider constantly seeks opportunities to partner, work or learn from startups.
• Positive impact: The service provider’s services and contributions make a consistent positive impact on startups within the community.

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Incubator of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Seme City

  • Buja Hub
  • Burundi Business Incubator
  • Dicos Incubator

StArfrica – Startup Germany-Africa

  • The Human Entrepreneur
  • Propella Business Incubator

Burkinafaso Incubator

La Plage Factory

Harhub

Centre for Technology and Innovation for Development (CTID)

Iceaddis

Gibela Business Incubator

  • The Incubator must be registered.
  • The Incubator must be operational at least for two years.
  • The Incubator must have successfully graduated a minimum of 20 startups.

Incubators help startups succeed by providing them with mentorship, guidance, training, strategy, partnerships, working space, R&D and funding. They’re instrumental in getting startups, especially early-stage ones, off the ground.

The awards is awarded to an incubator that demonstrates both innovative approaches and the largest impact in advancing the success of entrepreneurs, startups, startup communities and entrepreneurial activities locally and nation-wide.

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Accelerator of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Maio Business Center

Impact Hub Abidjan

  • Edventures
  • AUC Venture Lab

PDollar Entrepreneurship Center of Excellence

  • Ocean Hub Africa
  • Sahara Ventures
  • Injini
  • Tech Tribe Accelerator
  • Startupbootcamp AfriTech

Sahara Ventures

Accelerators help startups succeed by providing them with mentorship, guidance, training, strategy, partnerships, working space, R&D and funding. They’re instrumental in getting startups, especially startups that have moved beyond the earliest stages of getting established, off the ground.

The awards are awarded to an accelerator that demonstrates both innovative approaches and the largest impact in advancing the success of entrepreneurs, startups, startup communities and entrepreneurial activities locally and nation-wide.

• The awards recognise business accelerator and entrepreneurship centers with proven track records of excellence. These organizations and the outstanding companies they serve are the foundation for regional economic growth in communities around the world.
• The awards celebrate the heart of business accelrator and entrepreneurial economic development organizations. Local or national, specialized, technology or mixed-use, we’re looking for high impact entrepreneurship programs that showcase excellence in sustainability growing companies that drive economic growth.

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Business Advisor of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Eposi Frida

Al Karaki

  • Ghana Tech Lab
  • Naa Adjekai Adjei

PDollar Entrepreneurship Center of Excellence

 Ascenção Machel

  • Simila Hlophe
  • Puseletso Modimogale
  • Uve Gcilishe
  • Nkosikohona Sydney Mdluli
  • Sibusiso Mzulwini
  • Catherine Wijnberg
  • Mighty Mabule

Muyobo Consult

Opelo Capital Ltd

Advice from professional advisors can be game-changing for a growing business. That has never been truer than over the past year, where many startups have been surviving the advice from these professionals can help them to thrive. This award will recognise advisors who have helped to continue growth and turnaround businesses over the last year

  • The judges are looking for:

    • Overview of the strategy
    • Growth of the clients due to working with a business advisor
    • Evidence of innovation in the strategy that was implemented

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Startup Coach of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Coaching and developing individuals through ongoing, targeted and specific one-to-one conversations can have wide-reaching benefits for the organisation and for individuals. It can develop and retain your critical talent; provide a stabilising factor during change; facilitate knowledge-sharing and skill-transfer; as well as boosting people’s performance and motivation and supporting their career transition.

Judges will be looking to understand how your coaching, and personal development/performance management initiative and conversations have supported the organisation’s performance and success and how far-reaching the impact has been. 

 

Abiyah David 

Mariam Inna Kanoute

  • Ascenção Machel
  • Carolina Neves

Kenneth Udeh

  • Dr Jabulile Msimango
  • Sibusiso Nomsa

John J Silwember

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Diversity & Inclusion Champion of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

  • Lawrence Yawa
  • Purity Fikile Mvemve
  • Doreen Mokoena
  • Purity Fikile Mvemve 

Innovation has always been about generating good ideas by challenging the status quo with new viewpoints. That is why diversity is fundamental to the sustainability and success of any innovation ecosystem. Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the startup and innovation ecosystem can deliver greater economic and societal value. 

An individual, group, or organization that has created, promoted, and maintained diversity and inclusion by establishing an environment that recognizes, encourages, and effectively utilizes everyone’s talents over the past year.

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Immigrant Ecosystem Builder of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Stephen Muraga

This award recognizes an Immigrant who has substantially contributed to the growth and development of their startup ecosystem over the past year. They have been an integral part of an inspiration for the continued growth of their startup community. 

  • Leadership: The individual demonstrates leadership in the community. Through their actions and passion they are a role model for others.
  • Advocacy: The individual advocates for the greater community and inspires members and non-members of the community to engage in and/or support the ecosystem.
  • Impact :The individual’s contributions have made a notable impact on the development and growth of the community.
  • Inclusivity: The individual actively strives to include diverse individuals and companies within the community without any bias.
  • Commitment: The individual has demonstrated commitment to the community’s continued development through investment of their time and/or other resources.

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Entrepreneurship Education of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Eyouth Egypt

Sage by Dee Entrepreneurs Academy

  • Watoto Wazania NPC
  • Akasha School

In our increasingly dynamic and unpredictable world, an entrepreneurial mindset is a must-have trait. To best serve today’s students and prepare them for tomorrow’s future, primary school administrators and educators must have the primary school-based entrepreneurship ecosystem and these schools recognize this. This award aim at recognizing primary schools that provide comprehensive, bold, high quality entrepreneurship education programs that train future generations of entrepreneurs.

  • The program must have an established record of accomplishment for a minimum of one year. This award category recognizes the comprehensiveness of a curricular program that demonstrate creativity, quality, sustainability, innovative and impact.
  • . Campus policy and leadership.
  • IP policies and commercialization programs and activities; and / or,
  • Private sector, entrepreneur, small business and startup community engagement and outreach.

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Startup Event of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

She Can

French Tech Maurice for Tech4Good Challenge

 
  • Tropics Business Summit
  • AWIE Forum
  • Hustlers Summit

This award recognizes the best startup community event of the year. It was an event that brought the community together, amplified momentum and was an overall great time. Keeping the criteria in mind, tell us why the nominated event should be considered for the Startup Event of the Year award.

  • Engagement: The event brought together broad members of the startup ecosystem and created a lot of buzz in the community.
  • Innovation: The event made innovative use of technology to deliver the event and to build engagement.
  • Content: The event delivered unique and interesting content that promoted or supported the startup community.

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Student Connector of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

John Musonda

Gideon Shilunga

Julius Mbigili

The award recognises a student who is leveraging on and off-campus resources and connections to help students create startup companies and develop opportunities to retain entrepreneurial students.

  • Demonstrated excellence in educating, empowering and equipping entrepreneurship students with the attitudes, skills, experiential learning opportunities and networks needed to pursue successful entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Made a significant impact in both fostering student-led entrepreneurship initiatives and motivating senior campus leadership to adopt entrepreneurial policies and priorities; and / or,
  • Engaged actively in the local startup community through bringing students into the community and bringing the community onto the campus.

 

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Youth Connector of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

  • Festus Malakia
  • Jesse Lula Schicey

Abdulrazaq Ibrahim Jeje

Abdirizak Omer

  • Phakamani Ndlovu
  • Karabo Mokgonyana
  • Themba-lethu Youth development
  • Hope Tshepo NPO
  • Sfiso Zitha

Kelvin Imasiku

Nkosana George Mazibisa

  • Introductions: The individual is known to demonstrate constant and active willingness to facilitate introductions across various community and non-community stakeholders.
  • Network: The individual is known to have a strong network across the community as well as the greater ecosystem. Willing to leverage their network for the benefit of others.
  • Availability: The individual is always willing to make time for others, even at a moment’s notice.

This award is given to a youth (under 35). The person is the best connector in the community. This is someone who is always ready to make an introduction to those who can help you or your business to grow and prosper. The person plays a special role by being on the ground ambassadors working towards fostering youth entrepreneurship and innovation in their communities.

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Venture Company of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Edventures

Goodsoil

An increase in funding and number of startups shows that the African startup ecosystem is more dynamic and robust than ever. It would be impossible to achieve this without the support of venture capitalists, who use their experience, money, and networks to help startups reach new levels.


This award recognizes venture capital companies for their significant contributions to advance the entrepreneurial ecosystem and generate returns for their investors.  Companies receiving the award are recognised for strong fund performance and high exit multiples for recent exits as well as activities to promote entrepreneurship and create a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem.

  • Particularly focus on bringing to market new and high impact innovations.
  • Must have strong fund performance and high exit multiples.
  • Must demonstrate leadership in venture industry and commitment to advancing entrepreneurship and supporting a diverse, equitable and inclusive ecosystem

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Angel Investor of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Mo Angels

John Kamara

Marie-Noelle Baba

An increase in funding and number of startups shows that the African startup ecosystem is more dynamic and robust than ever. It would be impossible to achieve this without the support of business angels – private investors, who use their experience, money, and networks to help startups reach new levels.

This award recognises the most active and impactful angel investor backing start-up and early-stage Africa’s businesses, bringing not only vital risk capital, but significant added value to support the growth and success of their portfolio.

  • a serial private investor dedicated to expanding their portfolio with diverse enterprises
  • a supporter and mentor committed to the development and growth of startups under their wing
  • an experienced entrepreneur or manager willing to share their know-how and contacts
  • an ambassador of angel investment in Africa focused on propagating early-stage private funding

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the HeForShe Champion of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

#HeforShe #XeforShe (Man/ non binary individual who have championed women)
Recognizes men/ non binary individuals who have made significant contributions to improve the careers of women in the ecosystem. physicians. This award is meant to honor men /non binary individuals who recognize and fight to correct gender disparity.


  • Men/non-binary who have demonstrated a commitment to breaking down barriers for women.
  • Their influence would have a notable influence on those women and possibly their business. The judges will be looking for evidence of where, what, when and how they have achieved this in the last 12 months.  
  • AmidoMunido Balde
  • Fernando Cabral

Natview Technology Ltd

Chisala C. Bwalya

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the SheForShe Champion of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

  • Entreprenelle
  • Mena Farouk

Auguster Asantewa

  • Green girls platform
  • Kibebe Ltd

Natview Technology Limited

Karabo Mokgonyana
Entreprenelle
Mena Farouk
Auguster Asantewa
Green girls platform
Kibebe Ltd
Natview Technology Limited 
Sarah Luyele

Lumbie Mlambo

#SheforShe (Woman who have championed women)
Recognises women who have made significant contributions to improve the careers of fellow women in the ecosystem. This award is meant to honor women who lift each other up and breakdown barriers for other women.

  • Women who have demonstrated a commitment to breaking down barriers for other women.
  • Their influence will have had a notable impact on those women and possibly their business. The judges will be looking for evidence of where, what, when and how they have achieved this in the last 12 months.

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation have been considered for the Corporate Champion of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

  • SAtion
  • Virtual Actuary (Pty) Ltd

Africa Health Business

We imagine corporates and startups as being on two ends of a spectrum: suits and ties versus trainers and jeans.

However, the role of corporations in supporting startups and innovation is actually striking. Large corporations have started to see the appeal of startups and the opportunities they can create. Some have created accelerators, investment funds, and other programs. Their aim? To support and collaborate with startups.  Knowledge exchange between startups and corporates is part of a powerful symbiosis, which strengthens the ecosystem instead of fragmenting it. 

  • Sponsorship: The Company is an engaged and intentional sponsor or invest of the community talent and business. Has made corporate resources available to support the community.
  • Mentorship: The Company is a trusted mentor of startups that has made their leaders available to support local founders.
  • Advocacy: The Company is a constant advocate and promoter of investment into the startup ecosystem

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Women in STEM of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Vuyiswa Mojela

  • Doreen Mokoena
  • Tholang Mathopa

This award recognises an inspirational woman in STEM who could be a role model to show women what they can achieve. This Award is designed to identify and share women who are passionate about science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics (STEM) and good at what they do – she could be a young woman just starting out working to change the image of girls and women working in STEM, , a technician, female inventor, sparking inspiration for other women to innovate in any STEM business, start-up, academic setting or non-profit organisation, large or small. She will inspire others by showing what it is possible to achieve and demonstrate to the wider industry the contributions women are making.

  • A unique offer to the market – through location, facilities, or some other aspect of the coworking space
  • Evidence of customer delight – such as testimonials and/or low level of member churn
  • A clear commitment to the customer throughout the management and hosting teams
  • Evidence of long term commitment through sustained capital investment and/or service innovation and improvements

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the Coworking Space of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Maio Business Center

Sylabs

Duapa Werkspace

T-hub

Techno Lab

Co-working Port-Louis

It’s a fact: startups with mentors are more likely to succeed. Mentors can help founders during their entrepreneurial journeys in many ways. For one, experienced, successful mentors help you stay accountable and true to your vision. Their own experience in business is often critical to your success. They can help you prepare from the future and offer unbiased opinions on critical situations

Judges will be looking to understand how your mentoring, and personal development/performance management initiative and conversations have supported the organisation’s performance and success and how far-reaching the impact has been. 

Keeping the criteria and description in mind, the Finalist individual or organisation has been considered for the StartUp Mentor of the year award.

Congratulations!

Public Voting will contribute 20% to the judges votes and final decisions. Here are your finalists.

Al Karaki

Marc Israel

Mareme Dieng

Jibril Mohamed Ahmed 

  • National Mentorship Movement
  • Dr Jabulile Msimango
  • Willem Gous
  • Lisa Illingworth

Priscillar Banda

It’s a fact: startups with mentors are more likely to succeed. Mentors can help founders during their entrepreneurial journeys in many ways. For one, experienced, successful mentors help you stay accountable and true to your vision. Their own experience in business is often critical to your success. They can help you prepare from the future and offer unbiased opinions on critical situations

Judges will be looking to understand how your mentoring, and personal development/performance management initiative and conversations have supported the organisation’s performance and success and how far-reaching the impact has been. 

Prize

Apart from Certificates and Trophies that would be given to the winners, each winner will nominate two startups that they support within their organisation to enrol on a twelve-month programme on the IRPAFRICA Investment Readiness Programme sponsored by IRPAFRICA. 

IRPAFRICA is an investment readiness white-label digital platform that supports entrepreneurs, non-financially, in building their business by providing affordable entrepreneur training and personal development support, access to business experts and mentors and eventually creating an enabling and sustainable ecosystem. It facilitates the investment process for all parties, making it easier for start-ups to raise investment and for investors to build diverse portfolios. 

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