Building a Resilient Innovative Africa in a COVID-19 world

Pauline Koelbl, Founder & CEO, AfriProspect & ShEquity explains how individually, most African countries offer small markets. Therefore, further collaboration between African countries is required to enable the scaling of homegrown solutions. This requires harmonized trade policies across borders, which give preference to African-made solutions and allows them to remain competitive in comparison with imported solutions. Without such support, African innovators will continue to struggle to scale because they must compete with bigger and well-funded foreign companies.

“From an investment perspective, those innovators and entrepreneurs who start their ventures with a growth mindset and clear plan to scale have more chances of raising capital. Investors want to see traction and scale opportunity. They need to be convinced that there is enough demand in other markets for the proposed solution. If the solution is needed at a pan-African level and there is a clear plan to make it happen, investors will be more interested because having a billion potential customers means greater return on investment.”

Pauline Koelbl Founder & CEO, AfriProspect & ShEquity

Drivers and challenges of international expansion With the AfCFTA looming close, we sought to understand the key drivers for young start-ups seeking to expand to other markets. The majority (38%) say that market research indicates growth potential in these foreign markets, while an almost equal but lesser number say theywish to enter new markets because they believe their business is easily scalable with only incremental costs associated.

Personal experience in newmarket(s)


Market research demonstrates growth potential

My innovation / business is easily scalable with only incremental costs to be incurred



Fig. Drivers andmotivations formarket expansion


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