Silicon Valley-based African Technology Foundation (ATF) is the Managing Partner of the Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations (LIONS@FRICA) partnership. LIONS@FRICA, an initiative of the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State, is a public-private partnership that seeks to mobilize the knowledge, expertise and resources of leading public and private institutions to encourage and enhance Africa’s innovation ecosystem, and to spur entrepreneurship across the continent.
As the Managing Partner of the LIONS@FRICA partnership, ATF is responsible for directly supporting African startups with capacity building and training in venture creation, opportunities for connectivity to global innovation grids, access to capital, opportunities for further partnership expansion, and promotion of best practices and successes in African-led innovation solutions. Planned activities for the partnership include a series of programs across the continent that will feature promising African startups and entrepreneurs, as well as innovation boot camps, venture capital engagements, and roundtables in Silicon Valley. The partnership also includes direct engagement with private sector stakeholders, multinational corporations and innovation agencies that are directly interacting and investing in the African entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Since 2012, LIONS@FRICA has revolutionized the innovation and entrepreneurship landscape on the continent by partnering with business networks and platforms to develop a series of programs tailored to the advancement of the current generation of African venture creators. These programs have catalyzed innovation ecosystems across the continent and built bridges for African startups to showcase their talent in Silicon Valley and beyond. Among these is LIONS@FRICA’s marquee event, DEMO Africa – a global platform that connects African startups to the global ecosystem and allows the most innovative companies to launch their technology products to diverse audiences filled with innovation stakeholders.
Over the last five editions of DEMO Africa, approximately 180 of Africa’s most promising startups have presented their uniquely African technology solutions to much fanfare, and the summit has successfully positioned some of the startups to receive about $14 million (USD) in aggregate funding over the same period. The partnership has also launched other innovation programs including: Africoderdojo, Boomcamp, Hollywood in Focus, and the LIONS@FRICA Innovation Tour.
“We are very proud to have supported various initiatives within LIONS@FRICA over the last few years, and we certainly look forward to broadening the partnership and multiplying the opportunities available to African startups, entrepreneurs, innovators and investors,” said Stephen Ozoigbo, CEO, ATF and new Managing Partner. “The partnership is poised to build a leading network of innovation stakeholders that are betting on Africa’s entrepreneurial future”.
“Real startups are being created in Africa, developing real-world solutions worthy of investment and global attention,” remarked Constance Tzioumis, Director of Partnerships in the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships. “This partnership with ATF will expand the LIONS@FRICA partnership footprint and leverage diverse resources for strengthening and deepening the African startup ecosystem”.
Under ATF’s leadership, LIONS@FRICA will also be convening a multi-stakeholder advisory council that will oversee the operations of the LIONS@FRICA Partnership in accordance with the program charter and other policies that satisfy the goals and objectives of the partnership. Interested parties can request more information here.