Senegal: a blueprint for West Francophone Africa’s startup ecosystems

In our second issue of the ’empower’ magazine, we dig deeper into Senegal, a country that enpact has long supported with many programs including Program Designers’ Labs (PDLs) and Teach the Mentor (TTM), as well as the collaboration of a new university incubator.

In empower, we work to dive into the lives of the same ecosystem builders we work with in our programs. Through interviews with Joelle Sow, the General Secretary of SenStartup, Fatou Kamara, the Head of Innovation and Student Professional Insertion at Universite Gaston Berger (UGB),  Coumba Diop, Head of the operational office of the university business unit at Alioune Diop University in Bambey, and Ahmadou Seck, founder of the startup Insuris, we were able to bring voices to our rich Startup Friendliness Index and paint a complete picture of Senegal’s startup hubs. Dakar, Thiés, Saint-Louis, Bambey, and Ziguinchor are the most prominent sites of startup life in Senegal and hence the foci of empower 2.

Without further ado we present empower 2, here in web and e-book format, in both French and English.

A few words before you read the edition:



Our entire ethos at enpact revolves around the concept and development of community and networks. We believe nothing worth doing can or should be done alone. In our work to create a global network filled with entrepreneurs, mentors, governmental entities, private interests, investors, and organizational partners, we have found a community ready to support our vision, not the least of which in the creation and execution of this report. 

With that in mind, we would like to extend gratitude especially to our partners on this project, the PDL and TTM in partnership with the GIZ and SenStartup.

Thank you, as always, to our enpact family for continued support and willingness to lend expertise to the project, including all the authors who contributed to the report: Tanyi Franç Martial, João Castel-Branco, Wail Daoud, Joelle Sow, and Jan Lachenmayer as well as myself, Heather Dannyelle Thompson. For as much work in writing that there was, there was an equal amount of research, outreach, coordination, and connections leveraged as well. In that vein, thank you to Rihab Ammar, who’s consistent and steadfast work to coordinate with members of the Senegalese ecosystem and the enpact team made this report possible. A big thank you to our enpact country team for Senegal, Wail Daoud and Quentin Merelle, who’s continual work in and knowledge of their target country allowed for the scope of this work to come into fruition.

Junior Program Coordinator

Tanyi Franç-Martial served as a former research project assistant at enpact’s Data lab. Hailing from Kumba, Cameroon, he has been living in Berlin since 2021. With several years of working experience in a number of African countries, he adds value to the team with his knowledge of the African economic ecosystem. With various experience in sectors such as digital transformation, academic research, growth and development economic policy, he is currently preparing his Thesis towards a masters degree in international and development economics at HTW (University of Applied Sciences) Berlin.

Franç is the principal author of the empower #2 magazine (Senegal)

Heather Dannyelle worked as the Manager of  enpact’s Data & Research sector. Originally from Los Angeles, Dannyelle has lived and worked in Berlin, Germany for two years. Her primary work at enpact revolves around product design, policy research, and authoring reports on enpact’s Startup Friendliness Index (SFI). In June 2021, she graduated from The Hertie School with a Master of Public Policy with a concentration in Policy Analysis. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Material Sciences and Engineering. 

Dannyelle is the creator and Editor-in-Chief of the empower magazine.

Junior Program Coordinator

Rihab Ammar is a former Junior Program Coordinator and part of the Program Designers’ Lab team at enpact, working to develop the capacities of ecosystem enablers around the world. She is an energy engineering graduate from the National Engineering School of Monastir. Rihab worked extensively on defining and developing projects with different Tunisian and Regional Stakeholders in order to create effective collaboration with Columbia University’s different schools.

Research Analyst

João Castel-Branco worked as Research Analyst for enpact’s Data & Research sector. He worked for enpact for more than two years, not only in Data & Research, but across the organization. Originally from Lisbon, Portugal he has a Bachelor’s in Business Management and a Master in Finance from the Lisbon School of Economics and Management (ISEG). Passionate about economy and politics, João is number-orientated and believes in data-informed decision-making.

Senior Manager

An expert in content & curriculum development, Will has developed the organizational support unit at enpact with the development of two flagship capacity building programs: The Programme Designers’ Lab (PDL) and Train the Mentor (TTM). With an International education in Law and Intercultural Communications, he has overseen the implementation of various projects around the globe (Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Iraq, and India, to name a few), focussing on Sustainable Innovation, Agritech, ICT, Renewable Energies, Design Thinking, and Women Entrepreneurship.

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