PR agency Wimbart has launched the second edition of its Office Hours Programme that equips early stage technology start-ups with the PR and communications tools needed to help scale their businesses. In partnership with Pan-African early stage fund Ventures Platform and online media platform Techpoint Africa, the 3-month programme will deliver PR and business mentorship to 30 Africa focused start-ups.
Targeted at technology-enabled start-ups building solutions for Africans on the continent or in the Diaspora, eligible start-ups must be less than two years old, have a minimum viable product and be pre-Series A. Applications are now open. The entry submission deadline is at 12pm WAT on Friday July 24, 2020. Successful applicants will be notified by Wednesday July 29, 2020.
Launched in March 2020, the pilot Wimbart Office Hours Programme saw 22 start-ups, including Crop2Cash, Ecodudu and Wellahealth selected from a pool of over 80 applicants from across Africa, Europe and the US. Successful start-ups joined an in-depth PR webinar and Q&A with Wimbart founder and MD Jessica Hope, followed by dedicated one-on-one sessions with senior members of the Wimbart team, that covered deep dives into how PR could support their specific business goals. The power of storytelling, anatomy of a solid press release, and the art of pitching to journalists were among the topics covered during the programme.
Office Hours participants reported some impressive milestones, including coverage in top tier international and pan-African media outlets, increased customer traction, and interest from investors, as some of the early outcomes. The spirit and practical nature of the programme is set to continue as Wimbart has launched an online Alumni Network to continue supporting the early stage start-ups and allow peer-to-peer collaboration.
Kicking off in August 2020, the second Wimbart Office Hours cohort will have access to three expert webinars led by Jessica Hope, who will be joined by Kola Aina, Founder and CEO of Ventures Platform, and Adewale Yusuf, Founder and CEO of Techpoint. The webinars will focus on the importance of communication for growth, investment and reputation management. These will be followed by three dedicated one-on-one PR office hours sessions with senior members of the Wimbart team, and one business mentoring session with an advisor from Ventures Platform.
Speaking on the launch and partnerships, Jessica Hope says: “Hot on the heels of closing out our first Wimbart Office Hours, and having worked with an amazing first cohort, we’ve taken on board some great feedback and are really excited to continue the momentum as we start our search for new start-ups from across the continent to join us in August. For cohort two, we have some amazing tech ecosystem partners joining us – Ventures Platform and Techpoint – allowing us to add another layer of expert insight to our programme offering.
“We’ve also enjoyed working on the Wimbart Alumni Network, which opened yesterday, where the tech start-ups we’ve connected with can stay in touch with all the mentors, ask for comms advice when needed, and we can also share inbound media opportunities when they arise. We hope that with the launch of the Wimbart Alumni Network, we will build a dynamic community of start-ups who share knowledge and opportunities and also foster cross-border, cross-sector collaboration.”
On partnering to deliver the programme, Kola Aina, Ventures Platform Founder says, “Investing in start-ups goes beyond writing cheques. Communicating effectively for talent, growth and investment can feel like a minefield in the early stages, so we’re excited to be providing this strategic support as part of the Wimbart Office Hours Programme, helping the next wave of African innovators on their journey.”
Adewale Yusuf, Founder and CEO of Techpoint Africa added, “It brings me great pleasure to be a part of the latest edition of Wimbart Office Hours Programme. Start-ups need the right strategies to best communicate their value proposition, and it will be an eye opener for them in terms of brand awareness to help achieve scalable growth.”
Launched in 2015, Wimbart is an independent PR agency specialising in Africa and emerging markets. With a focus on the continent’s tech and start-up sectors, the firm produces hyper-targeted, relevant and meaningful media campaigns for clients such as Andela, IROKOtv, Kobo360, and 54gene.
Ventures Platform is a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship across Africa. It provides smart capital through its early-stage fund, Ventures Platform Fund, it provides infrastructure and nurtures communities of entrepreneurs and innovators through Ventures Park and builds pipelines by providing capacity and ecosystem support through its not-for-profit – Ventures Platform Foundation.