Top Global startup accelerators accepting Nigerian startups

In recent years, Nigeria has emerged as a hotspot for innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa. With a vibrant tech ecosystem and a growing number of creative minds, Nigerian startups are making their mark on the global stage. 

One significant avenue that has been pivotal in propelling most of these startups to success is participation in global startup accelerator programs.

Navigating and growing a startup comes with different challenges especially because founders often need help hiring talent, raising capital and convincing investors to believe in their company while still overseeing other activities.

As a result of these challenges, most startup founders need access to resources, mentorship, and funding and this is where startup incubators and accelerators come in.

What are Startup Incubators/Accelerators?

Startup incubators and accelerators are programs that are fully designed to help early-stage startups and founders grow and succeed. 

These programs are expected to provide entrepreneurs with access to resources, mentorship, and funding, as well as connections and a supportive community of like-minded individuals.

It cannot be denied that Startup accelerator programs have played a huge role in the growth of startups in the Nigerian ecosystem, as they help to compress what would have been years of trying to figure things out by founders into an intense period of mentorship, teaching and financing. 

In this article, we want to look at some of the Startup accelerators and incubators that accept African Startups.

1. Co-Creation Hub Incubation Program

Established in Lagos Nigeria in the year 2011, the initiative seeks to leverage technology to effect social change in Nigeria and across Africa. Currently, the program is being held in Nigeria and Kenya.

CcHub is Nigeria’s first open lab designed to support a community passionate about using technology to transform Nigeria and Africa at large.

CcHub has different accelerator programs - a 6-month pre-incubation program, a 12-month incubation program and a 12-week accelerator program for startups. 

The accelerator hopes to help startups fine-tune their products, business model and processes, and help position them for sustained growth. 

The core focus of the program is on Product development, Business modelling, Financial management, and Investment readiness. The program is flexible and provides support tailored to individual startups' needs.

Whisper, Lara.ng, Crop2Cash, Gradely, Vetsark, Edves, Stutern and Budgit are some of the notable startups that have successfully participated in the program.

2. Seedstars

The program targets the world’s most dedicated entrepreneurs and aids them in growing their startups to create meaningful and lasting change. It was started by 3 entrepreneurs from Switzerland in 2012. 

Since its inception, they have held a “pitching” competition (Seedstars World Competition) to discover the most promising early-stage, high-growth startups. 

They also hold a virtual three-month post-accelerator growth program that helps startups to build a growth team and implement a growth methodology, to support scaling up the venture and raising Series A and beyond. 

Benefits to participants of the Seedstars World Competition include; a $50,000 initial investment ($30,000 cash + $20,000 services), up to $100,000 in-kind, and perks up to $500,000.

Seedstars is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland but they have offices spanning 90+ countries across Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Central-Eastern Europe and Asia.

Chaka, EazyPapers, Lendigo, Medsaf, Quickcheck and Edves are some Nigerian startups that have participated in this program.

3. Village Global

Backed by formidable and serial entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Reid Hoffman just to name a few, this accelerator has the goal of helping founders to sharpen their business focus, speed up their learning and avoid pitfalls associated with running a startup.

The program targets and invests globally in startups that use software and IT to transform global industries across different sectors such as health, fintech, SaaS, consumer internet, cryptocurrency etc. 

If you’re just getting started with a new company, then this is a great accelerator you should consider. 

Eden Life is one company that has successfully participated in the program.

4. Mest Africa

Founded in Ghana in 2008, MEST Africa is a network of hubs and an entrepreneur training program that offers incubation opportunities to African tech startups.

Their program is made up of three components;

  • a one-year entrepreneurship training program, 
  • Incubation & Seed Fund, and 
  • a year-long training program for Entrepreneurs-in-Training.

After completing the one-year entrepreneurship training program, the successful candidates receive seed funding and full support to launch their businesses to scale across African markets. 

MEST Africa has hubs across major African cities including Cape Town, Nairobi, Lagos, and Accra.

Decagon, Smile Identity, and ADP List are some of the portfolio companies under Mest Africa.

5. Google for Startups Accelerator Africa

Google for Startups Accelerator Africa is a virtual program for African Tech startups with high-potential Seed to Series A.

They focus on supporting growth-stage startups that leverage advanced technologies and pair them with relevant Google and industry experts to solve their top societal challenges. 

It is open to startups based in African countries like Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

They also have a program specifically for women-led tech startups.

Alajo App, Maxibuy, and Tyms Africa are some of the companies that have successfully participated in the program.

6. Wennovation Hub

Founded in 2010, Wennovation Hub is an innovation accelerator in Nigeria that focuses on supporting very early-stage startups and teams across emerging sectors. They provide startups with access to incubation, acceleration, investment opportunities and mentorship to build thriving startups.

They have office spaces in Ikeja, Abuja, Ibadan, and Barbados designed with all the necessary tools to inspire business ideas.

Reliance HMO and Asusu are some of the companies under their portfolio. 

7. Founders Factory Africa

Established in South Africa in 2018, Founders Factory Africa (FFA) is committed to helping create, nurture and scale tech startups in Africa. 

Unlike other startup accelerator programs, FFA partners with startups to build the product, develop the AI tool, discover new distribution channels and walk hand-in-hand to help the startup attract global investors.

MVXchange, Rxail, Foodlocker, Wellahealth and Schoolable are some of the portfolios under their belt.

8. Digital Financial Services Lab

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, DFS Lab is an accelerator focused on fintech startups that are building the future of digital finance and commerce in Africa. 

The program supports early-stage startups with high growth potential by connecting them with seasoned entrepreneurs (venture scouts) and a network of global mentors.

OnePipe and Suplias are examples of Nigerian startups that have benefited from the program.

9. The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL)

This is a civil society organisation committed to people-centred justice, which is justice that is affordable, accessible and easy to understand. 

They are guided by 5 core principles, which are;

  • working from data, 
  • applying best practices, 
  • scaling game changers, 
  • creating an enabling environment, and 
  • strengthening the movement.

They support innovations in a program they call  ‘Gamechangers’. 

They created the Justice Acceleration Programme in 2012, where they provide the participating startups with advice, mentorship, networking connections, and help them engage with the justice sector. 

Stand to End Rape, MamaMoni, Iverify, Donate-Ng, Curacel, Bankly, Africlaim, and Community Peace Initiative are some of the startups that have participated in the program in the past.

10. Pioneer

Founded by Daniel Grosswith, the aim was to provide some of the non-intuitive benefits of Silicon Valley to many more people.

The program is designed to find & fund the world's most creative and ambitious individuals who could build great companies but might not have the resources or opportunities to do so.

It is a two-month program where founders are trained on fundraising, product-market fit, hiring and more.

Pioneers get some perks and benefits in exchange for 1% equity.

Some Nigerian startups that have been successful participants are Flux, Bumpa and Afriktrip. 

In conclusion, startup accelerators offer essential support for the growth of startups, as they provide valuable resources, mentorship, and funding opportunities, and help create an environment where startups can thrive.

Therefore, as a startup founder, getting into a startup accelerators program can be what is needed to take your business to the next level. With the list provided above, we hope it gives you an idea of where to start.

Thanks for reading. Let us know if you found this useful.

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