Innovate Ventures targets Somalia, Somaliland-based startups, entry deadline is June 30

Innovate Ventures is for the second year running its tech start-up accelerator, the Innovate Accelerator. Launched in partnership with VC4A, Telesom and Oxfam as part of Work in Progress! project, Innovate Accelerator saw over 180 applications submitted for last year’s inaugural cohort.

This year the accelerator has promised to be bigger and better with the programme extended to 12 weeks and the top 3 start-ups from the 2017 cohort receiving up to US $15,000 in investment from Innovate Ventures Fund. The programme aims to support and invest in the next wave of tech start-ups in Somaliland and Somalia and grow the nascent start-up ecosystem in the country.

Applications will be accepted online from start-ups based in Somaliland or Somalia and founded by entrepreneurs under the age of 35. Initially, 12 to 15 start-ups will be selected for a one week long bootcamp based on the potential of the team, the scalability and commercial viability of the product or service espoused, and the traction attained to-date. From these start-ups 10 will be selected for the Innovate Accelerator programme and will receive mentoring and training on how to build a commercially viable and scalable technology business. The start-ups will also receive introductions to leading companies and investors in the Somali region.

Demo day
The accelerator programme will culminate in a Demo Day where last year’s graduates have received investment and clients. The top 3 start-ups will receive a total of US $15,000 in equity investment from the Innovate Ventures Fund.

“Building on our previous success in supporting businesses in Somaliland and Somalia, this accelerator programme is intended to help further grow the tech scene and provide start-ups the mentoring and investment they need.”, says Dr. Abdigani Diriye, Director of Innovate Ventures.

Alina Vinogradova, Head of Programs and Partnerships at VC4A, adds: “A program like this was much needed to jump start local tech start-up scene and to put Somaliland on the map as a possible destination for angel investment. Relatively small seed rounds go a long way here – we hope for Somali diaspora to step in and close the funding gap for entrepreneurial youths.”

The Innovate Accelerator has opened applications and will close on June 302017. The next 2 months will see workshops and info sessions being run for start-ups, investors and potential applicants held jointly by VC4A and Innovate Ventures as part of their roadshow in Somaliland. Start-ups can apply for the Innovate Accelerator programme via the online application form or email VC4A for further information via

Innovate Ventures is a start-up accelerator and technology fund in Somaliland and Somalia. It was created to propel and accelerate technology start-ups in Somalia and Somaliland, support the next wave of Somali entrepreneurs, and grow the nascent start-up ecosystem in the country. Innovate Ventures have run coding camps, incubators and accelerators in the Somali region since 2012.

The Work in Progress! Alliance is focused on unlocking the economic potential of young women and men in Egypt, Nigeria and Somalia. The project aims to enable them to generate sustainable and living incomes – by finding regular employment or starting enterprises. Alliance partners include Oxfam, VC4Africa and Butterfly Works.

VC4Africa is a platform for start-up funding and dedicated to building game changing companies on the African continent and supporting the growth of Africa’s start-up ecosystem.


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