Startup Genome, International Finance Corporation, and INAPEM Collaborate to Strengthen Angola’s Innovation Sector

Global economic transformation specialists partner with Angolan leadership to further accelerate their startup community
on May 23, 2023

Startup Genome is proudly partnering with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, the European Union, and Angola's National Institute for the Support of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (INAPEM) to analyze and support Angola’s entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem development. Based on the terms of the agreement, the parties are working together to assess Angola’s current entrepreneurial climate for early-stage startups, prioritize additional ways to shape the innovation sector, conduct long term economic planning, and inform the IFC of investment opportunities.

Select key findings include:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation efforts in Angola’s public infrastructure, making it possible to start the process of creating a company online for the first time. The National Institute for Small and Medium Businesses (INAPEM) hosted a session dedicated to the startup ecosystem, and entrepreneurship is now a subject in the school curriculum, a move that could help foster an entrepreneurial mindset in future generations throughout the country.

  • Successful local startups include Soba-store, Socia, and BayQi, all e-commerce platforms selling traditional handmade items from Angola. Other startups that have seen growth in recent years include mobility startups Kubinga and T'leva, food delivery platform Tupuca, healthtech platform AppySaúde, and WiConnect, which offers Wi-Fi solutions for marketing and advertising.

  • The average founder is 34 years old, slightly below the global average of 37, and 25% of startups in Angola are founded by women, compared to a global average of 16%.

  • Recently, the CMC-Capital Market Commission has approved the first private VC funds to specifically back high-risk startups in Angola. There is also growing interest in impact investing, as well as increased access to capital from national banks.

  • The creation of the Angolan Association of Startups and Digital Entrepreneurship (AASED) is a step towards achieving this objective by bringing in investors and promoting collaboration, communication and experience exchange.

  • Angola has several industries poised for success, offering potential for growth and development, which can intersect meaningfully with innovation opportunities. The oil and gas sector is a significant opportunity for investment in exploration, production, refining, and distribution, and the country has also shown a substantial focus on renewable energy.

“Given the nascent stage of the startup ecosystem in Angola, access to finance is a challenge as well as access to incubation and acceleration services. This assessment draws on best international practices with particular focus on successful regional experiences to strengthen coordination amongst policy makers, founders, and investors, which should enable an ecosystem where startups can grow and thrive,” noted Carlos Katsuya, Senior Country Manager of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for Angola. Dr. João Nsoki, Chairman of the Board of Directors of INAPEM, added "The assessment of the Angolan Startup Ecosystem is an empowering tool for emerging entrepreneurs. It supports the growth of the startup ecosystem through a closer look at the national context, the challenges, and opportunities that are within our reach.”

The analysis delivers a data-driven foundation that enables ecosystem leaders to confidently drive consensus among legislative and regulatory decision makers—including legal and regulatory frameworks to promote innovation and competition. Additionally, the project supports the promotion of linkages with local incubators, hubs, and universities to create an enabling digital ecosystem and identifies verticals of strength and latent potential in traditional and emerging startup industry sectors.

“Startup Genome is excited to work with Angola as they foster a thriving startup ecosystem built on existing strengths to drive job creation and economic growth for the region,” shares Stephan Kuester, Head of Ecosystem Strategy for Startup Genome.

On May 24th at 4:00PM West Africa Standard Time (GMT+1), a launch event at the Hotel Epic Sana in Luanda was hosted to cover major findings and community reactions, including a Q&A session. A summary of the presentation can be viewed here.

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