AfricaBerlin Network Project Launch – Connecting Startups and Ecosystems

The non-profit organization enpact e.V. will manage and implement the project “AfricaBerlin Network – Connecting Startups and Ecosystems” for a period of two years as a program for the internationalization of the state of Berlin. Modeled on the AsiaBerlin project, which has been operating sustainably since 2015, the AfricaBerlin Network aims to create a bridge between Berlin and Africa in order to build international relations together with partners based in the German capital. The goal is to establish profitable partnerships between companies from Africa and Berlin.

Ramona Pop, Senator for Economic Affairs, Energy and Public Enterprises: “Africa has a booming startup scene. Our AfricaBerlin project is a great opportunity for Berlin startups to tap into new markets and to form lasting collaborations, while also contributing to the economic development of partner regions.”

Dr. Stefan Franzke, Managing Director of Berlin Partner: “I am pleased that with this project we are building another bridge and laying the foundation for new partnerships. Many Berlin startups with a connection to Africa have already taken on a role as pioneers. Given both the economic potential and the rapidly evolving startup scene on the continent, cooperation with Africa – not only for Berlin Partner – is more important than ever.”

Primarily, the responsibility for implementing and achieving the project goals lies with enpact e.V. as the main implementing organization. The project will, however, be executed with technical support from and in close collaboration with Berlin Partner’s talent and startup team. The AfricaBerlin Network has been made possible thanks to funding from the Berlin Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Public Enterprises through funding from the European Fund for Regional Development as part of the Program for Internationalization. The new project aims to support innovative startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from Berlin in their international expansion and with overcoming the barriers they experience.

“With the AfricaBerlin Network, enpact once again demonstrates that we are one of the key players in connecting global startup ecosystems. Our team is looking forward to the realization of the AfricaBerlin Network and to the upcoming collaboration with partners in Berlin and Africa,” says Jan Lachenmayer, Managing Director at enpact e.V. and Program Director of the AfricaBerlin Network.

The AfricaBerlin Network pursues three project goals: To initiate and realize projects aimed at attracting businesses and fostering internationalization; to institutionalize cooperations between stakeholders in selected startup ecosystems in the focus countries; and to form a talent bridge. A study initiated by Berlin Partner, a survey among Berlin-based companies and the exchange with the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs) clearly underlined the high potential of the African startup ecosystem. Berlin thus wants to take on a leading role in the African market and actively support the startup ecosystem while also offering Berlin entrepreneurs and investors a platform for expansion. From a startup and talent perspective, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, represent regions of North, South, East and West Africa for possible collaborations in the program and beyond.

The project objectives are to be achieved primarily through facilitating online seminars, workshops, PR events and trade show appearances, as well as inbound and outbound delegation trips. To achieve the project objectives, the planned interventions are divided into the components internationalization, network and talent. To implement these components, three sets of instruments will be applied: Ecosystem, Knowledge and Platforms as well as Partnerships. While fundamental activities of the AfricaBerlin Network are designed to be open to all sectors, the program’s accuracy and long-lasting effects will be ensured by primarily focusing on the connection between the focus sectors of Berlin’s economy and the growth sectors of the focus countries. Subsequently, a particular emphasis lies on the sectors FinTech, SaaS, IoT, Energy, Agrifood as well as the Sharing Economy and Mobility.

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