Giving African start-ups wings to fly

Life at Absa | Written by Moza Moyo

03 November 2017

Each year, Africa’s start-up landscape enjoys remarkable expansion as eager, business-minded Africans wade into the world of entrepreneurship. While it’s exciting and liberating to start your own business, most start-ups are met with a multitude of hurdles right from the onset – chief among them being the lack of funding and mentorship. To address some of these issues, Barclays Africa launched an initiative last year that aims to give African start-ups the support and tools they need to turn into sustainable businesses.

After a successful launch year, the Barclays Accelerator programme is back for the second edition, continuing its quest to uncover the next M-Pesa or Jumia by working with African entrepreneurs who have trailblazing ideas. This partnership between Barclays Africa and Techstars, offers an excellent opportunity to top 10 financial technology start-ups to take part in a 13-week programme in May 2017. “The programme searches for Africa’s next financial technology disruptors, companies that are focusing on the continent to shape industries through technology,” explains Yossi Hasson, Managing Director at Techstars.

While last year the Barclays Accelerator programme focused on early stage startups looking to launch big ideas, this year, the programme aims to give established businesses the tools, access and network to rapidly accelerate their growth.

“We are a pan-African programme, so, in partnership with Barclays, we’re looking for the best companies across the continent. We use the proven model of Techstars, a programme that started in the US, and runs in 23 cities across the globe and has invested in over 900 tech start-ups. Many successful tech companies have gone through the Techstars programme.”

The opportunities that come with being selected among the top 10 start-ups are impressive. For starters, the companies selected will get access to about 100 mentors. “These are well-renowned entrepreneurs and experts who will be sharing their wealth of knowledge and expertise,” shares Hasson.

Additionally, the selected start-ups will get the assistance to enter or expand their presence into the African marketplace, and also gain global exposure through Barclays Rise sites in London, New York, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, and Vilnius.

Lately, the digital economy has been dominating conversations about how to fuel growth in Africa. With start-ups sprouting all across the continent, it’s clear that Africa is a fertile ground for entrepreneurship and tech innovation.

If you’re ready to take your venture to new heights, head over to and apply before 05 February 2017.

Disclaimer: The advice contained on this blog is for general purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances, objectives or financial needs. Accordingly, readers are advised to seek appropriate advice from licensed professionals prior to making any investment, or taking up a financial product or service.