Bpifrance Strengthens Its Economic Links With Africa
Bpifrance has recently developed 3 original programs, as concrete elements of its many links with Africa this past few years: Pass Africa, the Africa Accelerator and the sponsorship of a Women in Africa s’ program.
Bpifrance has maintained closed relationship with Africa, either with entrepreneurs or with funds. The French Public Investment Bank is willing to increase the development of projects related to Africa through three news programs. The Africa Accelerator and Pass Africa were launched by Bpifrance at the beginning of 2021. Women in Africa was launched in 2017, but the concept evolved in 2021/2022 with the addition of consulting advices and the participation of Bpifrance as partner of a mentorship program.
Pass Africa: a springboard to develop business in Africa
In 2021, Bpifrance alongside with the Presidential Council for Africa have created the Pass Africa project to speed up the development of French entrepreneurs in African countries. Firms which join the program must have made Africa their first priority and must exist for less than two years.
A daily guiding program is planned by a dedicated counsellor which allows them to structure their business plan through training, coaching and advice. The four offices of Bpifrance in the African continent – in Casablanca, in Dakar, in Abidjan and in Nairobi – can help CEOs to develop their business in this area and connect them with partners and potential clients. The purpose of this initiative is to give firms a simplified process towards all the financial tools. Pass Africa counts several partnerships such as Seedstars, Africa Ventures, August Debouzy, ESSEC, Expand in Africa, Southbridge and Affectio Mutandi.
This program is intended to stimulate inclusion, through a mentoring program “The mentors of Pass Africa”. The laureates of Pass Africa are committed to guide the beginner entrepreneurs who bear project related with Africa and will coach and inspire them. In 2022, 29 entrepreneurs have incorporated the second edition of the Pass Africa program, the announcement was broadcasted on live from Rennes on the 7th of March.
The Africa Accelerator: a consulting program made for and by entrepreneurs to develop companies’ activities in Africa
The Africa Accelerator was launched in 2021 by Bpifrance, as well as Business France and Team France Export. It is a selective and individualised program for French SMEs and MidCaps with a high development potential. They must exist for three years at least and have managed a first experience on the African continent.
The Africa Accelerator is mainly aimed at bringing tangible solutions to entrepreneurs and at uniting a community of entrepreneurs. It will allow firms to:
- Define a strategy and a business plan on the African continent.
- Choose targeted markets and find the country which offers companies the best opportunities.
- Develop commercial opportunities thanks to customized business appointment.
- Meet peers and the local ecosystem during missions and events on the African area.
These 12 months customized program focus on four major pillars:
- Companies benefit experts’ advice for a strategic and operational guiding of their business plan in Africa.
- Firms participate in two international missions, which include individualized appointments to meet prospects and sign contract with them.
- Accelerated companies are being put in contact with a networking of French and African entrepreneurs to help them develop on the African area.
- They attend training courses and exchange good practices, find synergies.
Women in Africa: a new mentoring program for African women entrepreneurs
Women in Africa is an association which selects and supports every year African women entrepreneurs by offering them training, networking and mentorship. It was created in 2017, and Bpifrance is a historical partner of the program, but in 2021/2022 a mentoring opportunity was added.
Since January 2022 Bpifrance is participating in the mentorship program of 10 African women entrepreneurs, 6 from the Ivory Coast and 4 from Kenya. For six months they will be coached by 10 French mentors, and will learn how to finetune their projects and pitch in front of potential investors. The mentorship program brings together experienced French entrepreneurs and new builders. At the end of July, they will try to convince Business Angels to loan them money in order to develop their project.
These three programs are not the only one related to Africa, Bpifrance participates in other projects such as Enrich in Africa or Inspire & Connect Mediterranean. Besides, Bpifrance is supporting African investment funds since 2003 via its Averroes Africa mechanism. The French Public Investment Bank has also promoted and amplified the links between European and African French ecosystems through the EuroQuity platform.