m:lab East Africa and the World Bank Group launched Traction Camp, a new initiative developed to support emerging digital and mobile entrepreneurs across the region. With support from the World Bank Group, Traction Camp will allow m:lab East Africa to extend its capacity and service portfolio, ensuring that innovative digital products can be developed and scaled into sustainable and profitable businesses.
In East Africa, there is limited support for companies with a market-ready product. Entrepreneurs who graduate from incubators still lack the necessary skills to accelerate the development of their businesses, by attracting financing from different sources and building links to a wider value chain.
“Entrepreneurial skills, business acumen, access to networks, and good knowledge of financing mechanisms are critical to scale startups,” said Ganesh Rasagam, manager for Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the World Bank Group’s Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice. “Now is the time to seize the moment and help entrepreneurs bridge the gap through increased training and technical support in those areas.”
The first call for applications will be published in the coming days and will stay open until the end of January 2017. The program will consists of two weeks of intensive training followed by up to six months of personalized coaching, tailored to each entrepreneur’s needs.
Participating companies will receive technical assistance to improve their marketability to early-stage financiers. The curriculum will cover key topics, such as investment readiness and investor engagement, along with negotiations, regulatory environments, and internationalizations.
Traction Camp is supported by the World Bank Group’s infoDev program and the governments of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Kenya. Traction Camp is a regional acceleration program aimed at nurturing startups in East Africa to create globally competitive, growth-oriented, mobile and digital technology businesses. The 6-month program will support growth-oriented startups in scaling their business through a tailor-made acceleration process designed to take the enterprises and startups through a rapid-cycle competitive curriculum, and match them quickly to appropriate capital and business mentor. The program will connect entrepreneurs with the knowledge, capital and markets they need to grow their enterprises.
infoDev is a World Bank Group’s multi-donor program that supports high-growth entrepreneurs in developing economies. infoDev oversees a global network of business incubators and innovation hubs for climate technology, agribusiness, and digital entrepreneurs. Through its centers, infoDev connects entrepreneurs with the knowledge, funding, and market opportunities they need to launch and scale their businesses.