Open Startup hosts second Global Immersion Week to connect Africa and Middle East ecosystems




Open Startup (OST) has concluded the second edition of the Global Immersion Week (GIW), a week-long event aimed at connecting different ecosystem players from countries in Africa and the Middle East (MEA) to bridge ecosystems and foster cross-region collaboration through innovation, openness, and exchange.

The GIW 2.0 is a significant milestone in reinforcing OST’s mission to foster cross-regional collaboration and knowledge exchange among innovators. It provided an opportunity for startups, ecosystem builders, investors, and stakeholders to discover new perspectives, forge new relationships, and learn from one another, contributing to the growth and development of the MEA startup ecosystem.

From March 13o 17, 2023, a total of 14 startups, 25 ecosystem builders, investors, and stakeholders from more than 5 countries gathered for a series of engaging panel discussions, networking events, and site visits, counting pitching and talk sessions delivered by Africinvest, the “Meet & Mix” sessions aiming to connect Tunisian entrepreneurs with regional ones, and more.

The Global Immersion Week also welcomed the delegation from Columbia Engineering and Business School, New York and Legatum Center of Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT, and MIT Executive MBA Program.

During the week-long event, sub-events dedicated to tech savvies and different ecosystem players, and led by top leaders: OST Tech Night- a tech event showcasing the tech landscape in the region, a Deep Dive session about Ecosystems in Africa, delivered by Abdou Chaoui, a panel covering Investment opportunities in Africa, delivered by Michel Amsalem, Diego Arias, Julio Mupemba, and Ioto Iovo, and a session presenting Columbia Global Centers in Amman and its impact, delivered by Ahmad Al Mousa.

During the ceremony, OST CEO, Houda Ghozzi presented OST’s strategy and its 4 main pillars for the upcoming 3 years: (1) more regional activities, (2) focus on advanced startups through OST Grow (its investment readiness program), (3) focus on Deeptech in Africa through the Brain program, and finally, (4) Community building. As she explained: “In our region of the world, supporting startups cannot be intrinsically about entrepreneurs and their ventures. Without regional understanding and openness, startups are quickly confronted with narrow markets, resources, networks, and ambitions. That is one of the reasons why OST focuses on fostering cross-boundary partnership through joint interest, alignment and trust”.

She added: “We would like to thank all the startups from around the Region who joined us this week and all the partners and speakers who supported the event. Without their support and contributions, the event would not have been possible.”

Martin Ewald, Lead Portfolio Manager Impact Investing, Allianz Global Investors, said: “We are thrilled to be working with and being able to support a partner as dedicated and as professional as OST to developing the start-up ecosystem in Africa.”

OST is grateful for all the partners who supported the organization’s mission, including AfricaGrow Technical Assistance Facility which is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation through KfW, Drosos Foundation, Columbia Engineering, Columbia Business School, US Embassy Tunis, AfricInvest Group, Columbia Global Centers l Amman, Columbia Global Centers I Tunis, Innov’i – EU4Innovation, Union européenne en Tunisie, France Expertise, and The Dot. OST is also grateful for the trust of its BRAIN partners: Africa Grow, Legatum Center of Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT, MIT Executive MBA Program, MIT Africa, US embassy, Africinvest, IFC, Instadeep and Digital Africa.

Open Startup (OST) is a non-profit organization serving as a regional hub for startups in North Africa and the Middle East. OST’s mission is to foster entrepreneurship and innovation by providing access to resources, networks, and mentorship across continents. Through its various programs, OST supports startups and entrepreneurs in building and scaling their businesses, driving economic growth and job creation in the region.

OST is in partnership with Columbia Engineering, Columbia Business School, US Embassy Tunis, Africa Grow, AfricInvest Group, Columbia Global Centers I Tunis, Columbia Global Centers l Amman, Drosos Foundation, Innov’i – EU4Innovation, Union européenne en Tunisie, France Expertise, and The Dot.

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