#cocreate2ACCELERATE – A Dutch-South African Success Story
Ever considered Africa as your target market? Our #cocreate2ACCELERATE bootcamp to Cape Town aimed to create a lean landing in ‘the Digital Gateway to Africa’ for Dutch startups eager to conquer the (South)African market. The start-up ecosystem in Cape Town is amongst the most mature of the continent. Especially in the field of Fin-Tech, Ed-Tech and Health-Tech South Africa has a lot to offer. Together with the Consulate General in Cape Town we set up this program, and the results showcase that good business can be done in emerging markets like South Africa.
In the late summer of 2017 we brought together Dutch and South African startups to exchange experience and share their network. #cocreate2ACCELERATE differed from ‘normal’ trade in various ways. First of all we matched the Dutch startups with South African counterparts. Speaking with fellow-entrepreneurs active in the same sector gives valuable clues about how to operate in South Africa, and what challenges to expect. Secondly, we had a very strict selection. Under the motto of quality over quantity DutchBasecamp carefully selected the participants suitable for this mission. Companies needed to motivate their wish to expand to Cape Town. Next to having some understanding about the local context, companies needed to be capable to follow-up on their first visit.
Participants and their evaluation
This year the following South African startups participated: Aerobotics, RecoMed, Snapplify, SkillUp Tutors and Trade Circle. In total eight Dutch startups participated in the program, namely Learnbeat, RanMarine, MEDx eHealthCenter, Trefi, TAHMO, aNewSpring and Talk360. The eighth startup has an impending launch in South Africa and therefore requested not disclose its name.
The overall evaluation of the participating founders gave #cocreate2CCELERATE a 8,1 out of 10 points. Almost 90% of the Dutch participants states they would ‘very likely’ recommend the program to other entrepreneurs. ‘The interaction with other entrepreneurs was inspiring’ was recurring feedback we received. The Dutch and South Africans worked together in workshops on shared challenges in their respective sectors. Next to moments reserved for teamwork, we set up a tailor made program for each founder. These one to one meetings with key business actors in their industry combined with visits to the target market were invaluable for many. ‘I could never have pulled this off alone’ one founder proclaimed.
Results of the program
With 1 partnership agreement, 2 joint ventures and 7 pilot projects we can proudly say that the program has been a success! Three Dutch startups are planning to expand their operations to the Southern tip of Africa. Simultaneously, some of the African scale-ups are looking at the Netherlands as a launching pad into Europe. Part of the companies matched in our program will continue to collaborate in the future. South African rivers and the port waters of the famous V&A Waterfront will be cleaned by Dutch drones in the nearby future. The South African startup Aerobotics’ drone and satellite images will lead the Dutch floating ‘Waste Shark’ from Ranmarine to plastic and other trash in the water which it collects. In the E-health sector the Dutch MEDx eHealthCenter is starting a E-health pilot with the South African startup Santerno Health & Wellness. Furthermore, Dutch aNewSpring will leverage their adaptive learning platform with New Leaf Tech, a South African startup developing learning solutions.
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