AFRICA’S HOMEGROWN HEROES LaStartup Factory One of the biggest groups to be impacted by COVID-19 is start-ups. In Morocco, LaStartup Factory teamed up with StartupSquare to study the impact of the pandemic on the country’s start-ups ecosystem. It found that the resilience of many start-ups has allowed them to adapt and mobilize to contribute to national efforts to curb the crisis. However, it found that only one in 10 entrepreneurs received support and that one in three believed they risked bankruptcy if the situation continues. In response, LaStartup Factory teamed up on several regional initiatives to identify and support start-ups that can provide viable COVID-19 solutions and align them to potential investment opportunities. In collaboration with Maghreb Start-up Network, IncubMe (Algeria) and EY Tunisia, LaStartup Factory held the first regional virtual open innovation COVID-19 Maghreb Bootcamp.
Through the COVID-19 Maghreb Bootcamp, 20 start-up projects were identified across the solidarity, security, health, and crisis economy spectrums from Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. Examples include a tool by AIOX Labs for predictive identification of socio-economic events based on a comprehensive web scan, a digital platform by Speetar to connect patients and doctors in remote areas, an application by Makelti to reduce food waste through advance meal booking, and a chatbot by Icompass that intelligently breaks language barriers, especially in dialects. In tandem, LaStartup Factory collaborated with the Ministry of Economy and Finance to launch the Match and Invest program , which focuses on investing in projects that provide concrete COVID-19 solutions. 25 start-ups from the 600 that applied to the programwere selected to be connected tomore than 40 angel investors such as Angels4Africa, MOBAN, and Kluster CFCIM, with guaranteed expanded financing opportunities. Another initiative, HackCovid, which is led by the Moroccan Federation of Information Technologies, Telecommunications and Offshoring (Apebi) and supported by leading organizations such as OCP, Bank-Al-Maghrib, theWorld Bank, cnDP, INWI, IBM, and Microsoft, played a role in centralizing and showcasing the most promising technological initiatives that the Government can adopt in its fight against COVID-19. These initiatives by innovation hubs demonstrate the ability of African start-ups in delivering real solutions and the importance of supporting them to scale their innovations.
LaStartupFactory isanetworkof innovationenablers inMoroccoandAfrica that accelerates collaborationbetweenstart-upsand corporates.Witha presence inover 10African countries, its network comprises 10,000young talent, 2000 start-ups, 50experts, 30partners, andmore than25 investors.
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