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EBRD and IFC Launch Initiative to Strengthen Start-ups in North Africa

Initiative to deliver more integrated support for start-up development in North Africa

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, are joining forces in an initiative that aims to strengthen their support for early-stage enterprises and accelerators in North Africa.

The initiative aims to deliver a higher level of integrated support for start-up development and the start-up ecosystem in North African countries where the two institutions invest. Capitalising on the two institutions’ specialised programmes – the EBRD Star Venture programme and the IFC Startup Catalyst – the goal of the new initiative is to create synergies and boost the development impact of the two programmes by addressing the challenges that exist in the early-stage space and by making North African start-ups more commercially sustainable and successful.   

Under the initiative, a pilot project will be rolled out in one North African country, then expanded across the region.

EBRD Chief Operating Officer for the Client Services Group, Jean-Marc Peterschmitt said at the launch: “We are very happy to see the recommendations of the Alliance for Africa event in Cairo, to further support start-ups in Africa, come to fruition. Partnering with the IFC, we will adopt an integrated approach to increase our input and meet head-on the challenges that early-stage tech start-ups are facing in scaling up their operations and, helping them to achieve their potential and contribute to economic growth and more employment.”

IFC Vice President for Africa, Sérgio Pimenta, said: “Entrepreneurs and the start-ups they build are essential pillars of economic development and job creation. IFC’s partnership with the EBRD through the Alliance for Entrepreneurship in Africa will help innovative businesses in North Africa across a range of sectors access the funding and support they need to grow and succeed. IFC is strongly committed to working with partners to support private sector development across North Africa.”

Launched in 2018, the EBRD Star Venture programme supports high-potential start-ups (HPSUs). HPSUs are selected directly through open calls, local accelerators and ecosystem players and receive business advice and capacity-building support to strengthen start-up ecosystems. To date, the Star Venture programme has supported more than 600 start-ups, including over 180 HPSUs and 25 accelerators, in 22 countries.

The IFC Startup Catalyst was launched in 2016. It is a platform that invests in incubators, accelerators and seed funds, supporting innovative, early-stage start-ups in emerging markets through mentoring, networking and funding. As of December 2022, the IFC Startup Catalyst had supported 19 accelerators and seed funds that had invested in over 1,180 start-ups in 24 countries.

Source : European Bank for Reconstruction and Development