Why do we need another startup accelerator program?

Implement, learn, improve, and measure impact

After working together with startups in accelerator programs and venture capital investors for more than a decade, we learned how to see both problems and markets. So do entrepreneurs who see and seize the opportunity to build and market a solution to a problem by creating a startup.

We have identified more than 600 African startups and qualified more than 320 for our database, further fitting into our qualification criteria of our first focal area: the post-harvest value chain.

For example, if we take the challenge of food waste, the selection from our database could look like the following selection of startups, which we call an “ecosystem of solutions”:

So what to do with these startups? Run an accelerator program? Yes, but different! We will not only accelerate the startup's development, but we are also accelerating the development of a selected community by applying the startups' products and solutions. We believe it is possible to build a new layer of infrastructure to enable the community to solve some of its burning issues and develop a local economy based on enhancing the value created by the people for their local market.

We learned that in Africa, startups, in many cases, have to be the market and infrastructure makers to build a sustainable business and unleash the impact they imagine. That's why many startups offer not only their core service but also complementary services and solutions without their core product or service would not work, e.g. a learning solution.

Working with startups for such a long time now, we know that focus is one of the critical success factors for a startup. That is why we let them focus on what they are best and complement the missing parts with top-notch startups and their products and services. We face challenges together and develop integrated solutions between the startups to accelerate joint learning and joint resolutions.

We talk a lot about the necessity of sustainable development, but only hands-on implementation accelerates the learning curve for successful adaption and materialising impact for the local community. That is why the Motherland Accelerator is a program with the mission to implement the startups' solutions in a community and not only focuses on the startups.

How will this look like in practice? We have designed a 6-month program that consists of two parallel paths.

  • The first will focus on the startups to solve their most significant challenges to become viable, fundable, and scaleable businesses in Africa to positively impact Africa's sustainable development. We are building a program that brings together global startups know-how by mentors, experts, and our international network of impact investors. The startups are in the stage of pre series A or B.

  • The second will focus on the community and the implementation of the startups' solution. We will work with a dedicated community in a participatory process to systemically understand their challenges and opportunities. We will then select matching startups and their solutions to tackle the community's challenges and unlocking their possibilities. We are currently running a community selection process with our team in South Africa and will select a final community in June. More communities in other African countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Siera Leone, Ethiopia and Kenia are already on our list for future programs.

Both are interwoven with each other and form an integrated program, where startups meet mentors, experts, and other entrepreneurs and meet the communities where they are inducing sustainable change. As implementation is an agile process, we will run three implementation sprints throughout the program. Between each of the sprints, we will bring the startups on-site for joint learning and solution development with the community and the other startups of the batch. Our team on site is in charge of the implementation close to the community members and in liaison with the startups.

At the end of the 6-month program, the first positive effects should become imminent to the community and measurable for our team on site. This outcome will be presented and celebrated at our final event: The Motherland Demo Day!

Please get in touch with Thomas or Sebastian for questions, ideas, discussions or just feedback.