BY Fast Company 2 MINUTE READ


There’s no shortage of events in the African tech startup scene. Some serve as discussion and marketing platforms. Africarena however is an event with a difference and impact.

It’s a tech accelerator that runs Corporate Open Innovation challenges throughout the African continent. Going into its sixth year, AfricArena has the privilege of operating in three key spheres that underpin Africa’s economic landscape. These are tech startups, corporations, and investors (i.e. angel investors, VCs, CVCs, and other institutional investors). Through open innovation challenges, in partnership with corporations, it aims to bring together these 3 spheres, to foster co-investment and collaboration that can move the economies and people of the continent forward. Last week it launched its Annual State of Tech in Africa report and awarded 5 startups during its Southern Africa Summit in Johannesburg.

21 startups across the Southern Africa region came to learn, network, and showcased their innovative Ideas to an ecosystem of investors, incubators, and accelerators for a chance to make it to the Grand summit taking place in Cape Town, South Africa November 2022.

The summit was attended by 60+ high-level investors, 21 startups from the Southern Africa Region, as well as the continent’s ecosystem builders. 140+ in-person attendees and 1000+ virtual viewers joined the summit.

During the Summit, major announcements took place, including the launch of the AfricArena State of Tech in Africa (SoTiA) Report, the presentation of the Vivatech AfricaTech challenge with IFC, and five startups winning awards – qualifying for the AfricArena Grand Summit taking place in Cape Town next November.

South African-based AfricArena, which has established itself as an ecosystem accelerator and deal flow platform across Africa has since its inception in 2017, built a platform dedicated to supporting the creation of market access and investment opportunities for its ever-increasing community of founders, angels, corporates and VC investors.

Over 20+ speakers attended the two-day summit and hosted an array of Panel discussions, Fireside chats, and speakers with the aim of accelerating startup participants’ journey into scaling, by giving an overview of what’s happening in the African tech ecosystem. Amongst speakers were Zach George, Clive Butkow, and Philip Kiracofe.

Zach is an early-stage investor and partner at Launch Africa Venture spoke about Exponential Growth and the Impact of Venture Capital in Africa. Clive Butkow the CEO of Kalon Venture Partners, a disruptive digital technology Venture Capital Fund (VCC) located in Johannesburg, gave an insightful address that covered 10 lessons for entrepreneurs when raising venture capital.

The second leg of the tour will take place in West Africa. AfricArena will hold its West Africa Summit on 26 – 27 April in Dakar, with the support of the DER (Senegal Government Agency). It will be preceded on 23-24 April by a VC Unconference, on a model similar to its highly successful VC event in Cape Town. The events are organised in partnership with the African Venture Capital Association (AVCA).

All of these efforts across the continent will lead to access to funding and market for local founders which is truly an impactful contribution by an event.