Extended collaboration to boost African start-ups

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VivaTech's Vincent Voillain, AfricArena's Christophe Viarnaud & Digital Africa's Karim Sy.
VivaTech's Vincent Voillain, AfricArena's Christophe Viarnaud & Digital Africa's Karim Sy.

Cape Town-based tech accelerator AfricArena is expanding its partnership with French tech conference VivaTech.

The move, which follows the organisations' initial partnership last year, aims to create more growth opportunities for African tech start-ups and entrepreneurs, a statement notes.

The refreshed relationship is also said to be another step towards injecting more support into product and service development that will appeal to an international market and help uplift African communities.

Christophe Viarnaud, CEO of AfricArena, says: "The expanded partnership amplifies the work we have been doing together over the last two years. The fact that we have an African showcase at VivaTech is key to assist the development of African start-ups and connect them with international investors.

"VivaTech related projects, such as the open innovation challenge, shows we're actively getting involved, choosing topics around artificial intelligence and putting Africa at the forefront of this specific segment."

Vincent Viollain, VivaTech's co-founder and head of partnerships and start-ups, notes the extended venture will help bridge the gap between talented African and European start-ups.

"To date, our partnership has led to amazing results that are built on two main aspects: corporate-centric and African ecosystem-focused factors.

"Firstly, we want corporates to source start-ups through the Afric@Tech track. We've been seeing many companies come back for another year, alongside new interests, showing growth success on the Afric@Tech scene.

"Secondly, it's one of our goals to attract people who operate in the start-up landscape and who are helping to build the continent's ecosystem.

"We are really happy to continue our journey with AfricArena. We are committed to our Pan-African agenda and are proud to have 25 African countries represented at VivaTech this year. South Africa, especially, has a booming ecosystem - 28% of the African start-up pool is from South Africa and we're proud to be part of this network."

At the same time, AfricArena has joined forces with Digital Africa, an initiative with almost 40 partners in Africa and Europe connecting them to the continent's start-up networks.

In terms of the partnership, AfricArena and Digital Africa will multiply synergies between ecosystem key players and connect African start-ups to resources and stimulate knowledge-sharing.

"AfricArena is boosting Africa's success story; they support what we believe in," says Karim Sy, Digital Africa president. "We use our platform design methodologies and strategies to unify and reunite all the important key players and bring the right people and resources together. Our partnership enables us to create more opportunities from our efforts and, at the same time, give AfricArena access to a global ecosystem to help showcase African entrepreneurs' narratives to the world."

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