Africa Seed Trust Early Stage Venture/Project Funding and Development Program

The Africa Seed Trust, The Afribiz Foundation, and Afribiz Group, Inc. have partnered to bring early stage project funding and project development support to start-ups and project developers in Africa through the Africa Seed Trust Early Stage Venture/Project Funding and Development (ESVPFD) program. From a process perspective, this spans from venture/project idea to concept development to pilot to launch. Those projects who successfully make it through these stages will have access to a large ecosystem of partners who can invest in, fund, partner with, support, etc. their enterprise. This program entirely covers the gap between idea to implementation in one place. The program’s support, resources, partnerships, and funding will support projects/ventures with implementation capital requirements of between $5 million and $100 million.

(The Summer 2017 Cohort has already been chosen. Announcements will go out in September 2017 for Fall 2017 Cohort application process. Make sure to add your name to our email list.)

At the heart of the program is the concept of venture maturation, which means as you develop the venture you will draw more resources, funding, and partners. This is simple to understand if you consider human development. For example, it is not advisable to give your car keys to an eight year old and let him drive. She or he may understand what the key and the car do, but the child does not have the physical capacity, mental capacity, and know-how to manage a car effectively. It is no different for ventures or projects. Investors, funders, and partners may like the idea, but they want to know if you have the ability to carry it out so that they will get what they expect out of it. This is what makes it very difficult for early stage projects and ventures to draw resources. But fortunately, we cover this gap entirely through our methodologies, programs, and resources.

The ESVPFD program follows the methodology, process, and model of the Venture Cultivation and Developing and Structuring Bankable Projects programs administered by Afribiz Group, Inc. Participants will be given the opportunities to participate instead of having to pay for them as the general public or clients do. These programs will be complemented with funding and support suitable for early stage ventures/projects that can assist with market studies, feasibility, pilots, and demonstration tasks and phases. The major steps in the ESPFPD process are as follows:

  1. Submit a concept document according to our guidelines. We provide free webinar sessions and tools to help you do this, as well as a digital platform to guide you through the process (available September 2017).
  2. If your business concept is accepted, you will be invited to attend a two-week intensive workshop to empower you to manage the entire project/venture development process up until launch. The workshops will be held at our regional offices in Morocco, Nigeria, DRC, Kenya, and South Africa. You will be responsible for handling your own travel and accommodations.
  3. You will be expected to go back and improve upon your concept and submit a proof of concept for further consideration within two months.
  4. If you have demonstrated sufficient progress on your concept, you will be accepted into the full program which lasts six months to 18 months depending on what needs to be done to implement your business model. This is where the support and funding begins. Support and funding for early stage project ventures will equal up to 3% of the project/venture implementation capital requirements.
  5. As you begin to transition from the program, you will receive relational advisory services to assist you in capitalizing your operations. At this stage your venture/project depending on how well you have developed the venture and its business model, your venture/project can be ready for venture capital, construction finance, project finance, trade finance, and other funding options.

Sectors Covered

  • Agriculture
  • Clusters and value chains
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Health
  • Housing
  • ICT
  • Industrial/Economic Zone
  • Manufacturing
  • SMME (serves small, micro, and medium enterprises)
  • Other Infrastructure
  • Road
  • Transport
  • Village/Neighborhood/District Integrated Development (Mixed Use)
  • Waste Sanitation
  • Water

Note: If your concept is not covered in these sectors, please feel free to contact us and inquire as to suitability.

Sectors Not Covered

  • Illegal or gambling
  • Anything not suitable for family or community involvement
  • Oil and gas (will consider upstream or downstream products services, as well as gas plants or similar projects)
  • Retail (will consider value chain serving retailing)
  • Wholesale and trade (will consider cluster, platform, value chain serving wholesale and trade)

Priority given to projects/principals that demonstrate:

  • Stakeholder involvement (e.g., partnerships formed locally, community participation) throughout the lifecycle, including early stages.
  • Economic opportunities for the long-term (not just jobs or economic opportunities during construction) to local workers and SMMEs. An example is an integrated project, including infrastructure for an economic zone and a manufacturing facility that anchors future opportunities for other ventures.
  • Strong ability to leverage non-financial resources to move project forward, e.g., partner with others to acquire talent and equipment needed. (social capital)
  • Vision and strategy beyond the project submitted.
  • Is accounting for sustainability throughout lifecycle of project and use of assets after project (cradle to grave, decommissioning, re-purposing).
  • Solutions that are positive socially, economically, and environmentally.