French Tech Cape Town & Johannesburg, community Hub of La French Tech, France's startup ecosystem government-backed initiative, has announced a series of initiatives to support South African tech entrepreneurs to help mitigate the effect of Covid-19, particularly on early-stage startups.
Since the selection of Cape Town as one of the 21 international French Tech hubs in 2016, the French Tech community, with its dozen of South African startups led by French nationals, including Ozow, FinChatBot, PayGenius or AfricArena as well as the French South African Tech Labs accelerator with investment from Methys and SEDA, has been very active in South Africa.
The recent launch in October 2019 of the French Tech community in Johannesburg at 22 On Sloane provided combined support from the French Corporate and Investor Community. Through this initiative, France and South Africa are bridging their ecosystems enabling collaborations between French and South African entrepreneurs and fruitful business opportunities.
The community has, in particular, had a distinctive positive track record at fundraising from international investors, raising a total of $15 million to be deployed in South Africa in just the past two years.
The Covid-19 pandemic is having an enormous and unprecedented negative economic impact on the nation. Most particularly, South African early-stage tech entrepreneurs are particularly vulnerable in the current context.
In order to contribute to the mitigation of the current situation, the French Tech Cape Town community announced a series of initiatives to support the South African entrepreneur community: the CEOs of French Tech Cape Town and Johannesburg communities will provide a combined 400 hours of dedicated mentorship, particularly directed on 4 axis where these CEOs have proven track records: 1. Cash Flow Management, 2. Bridge Fundraising, 3. Leveraging the Covid-19 digitalization and 4. Pivoting
The CEOs committed to the initiatives includes Antoine Paillusseau (FinChatBot), Renier Kriel (FSATLABS), Sebastien Lacour (PayGenius), Thomas Pays (Ozow), Romain Diaz (Far Ventures) Christophe Viarnaud (AfricArena/Methys).
Further to this, Ozow has been providing its EFT processing services at no charge to non-profit organizations (such as SHOUT SA, empowering donations campaigns initiated by the government), and to entrepreneurs for the first 12 months on their first R 1 million providing much-needed cost-free revenue collection services.
Commenting on the initiative, Christophe Viarnaud, leading the community in Cape Town and founder of AfricArena and CEO of French Digital Innovation company Methys, says “As an entrepreneur community deeply rooted in the South African Tech ecosystem, we recognize the extremely precarious situation most tech startups are currently in. We believe that now, more than ever, solidarity and network support are an essential tool for survival. We hope our humble contribution of time and our very dense network with corporates and investors may make a small difference to help mitigate the crisis.”
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