Looking back a few years ago, African startups had a hard time. From limited access to financing to inconsistent government regulations and minimal government assistance, running a startup was challenging. But today, Africa’s startup scene is coming of age. Last year marked a turning point for Africa’s startup scene with African startups raising a record $725.6 million.

Some African startups are already beginning to make waves after securing millions of dollars in funding rounds. Over the years, some conferences, expos, and programs supporting African startups have been the real kick behind the successes of these startups.

It’s no news that conferences and expos can often provide the ideal opportunity for startups to network and meet potential investors or clients. Here are five programs supporting African startups this 2019.


The MEST Africa Challenge is a Pan-African pitch competition for startups based in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, or Cote d’Ivoire, ready to expand into new markets.

Top 5 Programs Supporting African Startups in 2019

This year’s finalists will attend the MEST Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, from June 10 to 12, 2019. Here, they will once again compete on a global stage for up to $50k in equity investment. They will also join the Pan-African MEST incubator community.

The team at MEST, along with this year’s platinum sponsor, Microsoft, looks forward to hosting the second edition of the Challenge Finals at the 2019 MEST Africa Summit.  This will bring together leading African and global entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners, and ecosystem players in MEST Africa’s newest home, Nairobi, Kenya.



Top 5 Programs Supporting African Startups in 2019

Africa Moves’ Big Summit is a multiple day event that gathers 8,000 industry leaders, startups, investors, and other tech lovers from around Africa and the world.  They equally build meaningful connections and exchange ideas during exceptional events including:

  • The Super Summit: a 1-day gathering of 1000 top leaders around an innovation summit.
  • The Forum: 3 days gathering offering various conferences, round-tables, and keynotes, bringing concrete solutions to real challenges faced by African countries.
  • The Exhibition: 3 days with hundreds of exhibitors showcasing 20,000 M2 of pure innovation and technology.
  • The Big Disruptive Festival: an exceptional closing event celebrating African innovation with several African artists.

The organization has called for 100 eligible African startups to apply and take part in this program. Selected startups will receive an all-inclusive benefits package: flights, accommodation, meals, pass for the event, and a turnkey connected booth. These startups will also pitch in front of 100 investors. Moreover, they will present at the event and/or in front of potential customers or partners.

Raising millions of tech experts in all sectors, Africa Moves Summit touches from Adtech to Agritech to Biotechnology and medical research, Clean technology, Clean technology and energy, Fintech, and lots more. Moreover, it’s a program that doesn’t just celebrate African startups but provides real-world solutions to real-world challenges these startups face.


The Pitch AgriHack is a program which aims at supporting the growth of business services of young e-agriculture startups. It equally contributes to the acceleration of the adoption of innovations for stronger productivity in the agrifood sector.

Top 5 Programs Supporting African Startups in 2019

The competition is open to both male and female founders and co-founders of startups offering digital services to the agricultural sector. The applicants must also be between 18 and 35 years old.

The final will be held in Accra (Ghana) in the framework of the 2019 edition of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF 2019) in September 2019.

Winning startups will receive from CTA and its partners up to Euros 15,000 in cash (grant). This grant is to help them advance their services and additional benefits.


She Leads Africa (SLA) is a social enterprise dedicated to supporting young African women and their journey towards professional success. The organization has featured on CNN, CNBC Africa, Black Enterprise, and Fox Business and has over 300,000 members across Africa and the diaspora.

Top 5 Programs Supporting African Startups in 2019

The SLA Accelerator is a 4-month program designed to identify, support, and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest female entrepreneurs. The winner of the program will receive N2 million from SLA.

This year, the program is open to businesses in any sector or industry based anywhere in Nigeria.


Startupbootcamp AfriTech is a leading accelerator focused on high-growth startups in blockchain, connected devices, payment solutions,  capital markets. Moreover, it deals with startups in asset management, integrated supply chain, e-commerce, retailtech, insurtech, and alternative financing. Startups in identity management, digital connectivity, data and behavioral analytics, and enabling technologies are also involved.

Top 5 Programs Supporting African Startups in 2019

Through this program,10 selected high potential startups from across the globe have sped up their companies. Thanks to the help of first-class entrepreneurs, investors, and partners, the selected teams have achieved a lot. These teams were also able to achieve in 3months, what normally would take 18 months.

They equally provide each team with €15,000, access to 100+ highly engaged mentors.  from the FinTech, InsurTech and RegTech industries, free office space, and access to funding from a network of industry partners, investors, and venture capital firms.

Have any other programs supporting African startups in 2019? Just leave us a note in the comments section below.


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