Excitement is mounting among many of the country's aspirant fledgling enterprises, as the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa 22 on Sloane start-up campus launches its 2019 residency applications.
The applications aim to attract over 100 start-ups to the campus and this marks the second year of its residency programme, which is fast proving its high-end worth for up and coming entrepreneurs. 22 on Sloane have made a cash and kind investment to startups from its 2018 programme. Over 1000 applications were received in 2017, which saw the selection of 87 startups for the 2018 residency. The current number of resident startups is now at 60 with a combined revenue of over $7m and employs over 150 staff.
The 2019 applications will focus on inviting technology-based start-ups. The sectors of focus are: AgriTech; EduTech, EnergyTech, FinTech, HealthTech, TransportTech, and E-Commerce also joined with startups in Agro-processing and large scale Manufacturing. With this mandate, 22 on Sloane has enlisted additional mentors and programme managers with technical expertise to support 100 of those startups who qualify for the 2019 residency.
Speaking at the launch of the residency applications, Kizito Okechukwu, the co-chair of GEN Africa, reiterated that GEN is here to fully support start-ups, yet they must show an appetite to succeed and the drive to put in the hours, in order to reap the benefits of the GEN’s networks and resources.
He went on to say that “We faced a few challenges in the first year when some start-ups assumed that we’d build their businesses for them, but that’s not the scenario at 22 on Sloane. We’re here as a foundational base, a ‘launch pad’ so to speak, to provide start-ups with the space, skills, access to markets, technical support when needed and the innovative facilities to help motivate them to innovate, while providing professional mentorship all along the way.
“I think one of the challenges some start-ups face is that they are too married to their idea and are not willing to accept that there might not be any commercial viability attached to it at this stage and time. We always respect and acknowledge everyone’s emotional passion to succeed and where they wish to take their concepts, in this case, we will just be there to support and advise," he concluded.
This year also saw the appointment of the former Statistician General, Dr Pali Lehohla, as a resident Research Advisor at 22 on Sloane and a few more appointments of learned and technical colleagues will be made over the next two months. The campus is also undergoing a slight restructuring process in light of valuable lessons learnt during its first year of residency, to ensure it offers premium service and support for its startups.
Residency applications officially open on Monday, 29 October, and close on Friday, 9 November 2018. Selected residents will be invited to pitch their concepts during the Global Entrepreneurship Week, scheduled to take place at 22 on Sloane from 12 to 16 November 2018. Those selected will take residency from January 2019. To apply, visit: https://www.22onsloane.co/residency-programme/