Six-month aerospace start-up programme concludes in Paris

August 4th, 2019, Published in Articles: PositionIT

The six-month accelerator concluded its final leg in Paris in June 2019, as ten participating African start-ups pitched on stage at the Paris Air Lab. The ten start-ups in Airbus Bizlab and GIZ Make-IT in Africa’s #Africa4Future accelerator programme got to pitch their businesses as part of the annual Paris Air Show — the world’s largest gathering of aviation innovation.

This event concluded six months of workshops and programmes across Africa and Europe, intense mentorship, cross-border collaboration, growth and more. Flying in from seven African nations, the founders had the opportunity to pitch their businesses twice in the French capital, along with networking opportunities during the biggest week in aviation.

The #Africa4Future team and startups at the Meltwater office in Paris

Events in Paris kicked off with an evening panel and pitch night, where Rey Buckman of Airbus Bizlab and Matthias Rehfield of GIZ were joined by Simon Duchatelet of The World Bank and Soumeya Rachedi of Digital Africa to discuss the role of corporate and international institutions in strengthening African entrepreneurship.

The next day, Airbus CTO Grazia Vittadini introduced the #Africa4Future programme at the Paris Air Lab stage. Founders had the opportunity to pitch their businesses and answer questions from a curious, international audience keen to hear about African innovations.

Following the events, the founders reflected on how they have changed over the course of the last six months. From major shifts in some business models, to significant technological developments, to new partnerships and cross-border collaborations, the teams pulled up their initial diagnoses from their first workshop in Nairobi and reflected on what had changed.

This programme was a public private partnership between Airbus Bizlab and GIZ Make-IT in Africa, implemented by MEST and Innocircle. It brought together the expertise of Airbus, with government support from GIZ and local partners well versed in the African tech landscape. Its success has not only proven that promising hardware and software aerospace startups are prevalent on the continent, but has contributed to collaborations that are setting the stage for a stronger aerospace ecosystem in Africa.

Contact MEST Africa, info@meltwater.com

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