The Awards give the entire ecosystem value chain visibility, access to valuable global connections and the opportunity to form partnerships across the continent.
According to Partech’s 2020 Africa Tech Venture Capital Report, despite the effects of the global pandemic, more startups in Africa closed rounds in 2020 than in any previous year, something which was not experienced in any other region in the world. This trend is set to continue with over $560 million in funding deals being announced across the continent since January 2021.
“This, coupled with the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area, have signalled the start of a monumental year for Africa. We knew that now was the time to place the continent on the global stage by elevating the African innovation brand and showcasing it to the world. In addition to global exposure, startups and the individuals and organisations that support them will gain access to a global network and opportunities for cross-border collaboration.”Caitlin Nash, Co-Founder of the Global Innovation Initiative Group, rights holders of GSA Africa
The competition recognises and rewards all aspects of a startup ecosystem, from the startups themselves, through to the people behind them, and the organisations that work alongside these visionaries to make great things possible. Below are the categories in this year’s contest:
- Women in Tech celebrates a pioneering tech startup founded and owned by a woman/women.
- AgriTech is awarded to innovative solutions in food security, food production, farming methods and nutrition.
- HealthTech recognises a startup that has initiated medical breakthroughs through innovative solutions in BioTech, HealthTech, wellness and telemedicine to improve quality of life.
- CommerceTech acknowledges the startup connecting Africa by enabling commerce using technologies ranging from mobile-commerce, e-commerce, blockchain, and cryptocurrency, to fintech, insurtech and big data.
- IndustrialTech celebrates the startup that is enabling Africa’s industrialisation with innovative solutions for safety, mining, manufacturing, production, logistics, mobility and supply chain management.
- ESG Tech is awarded to the startup that is enabling environmental, social impact or corporate governance solutions in areas such as renewable energy, CleanTech, sustainability, recycling, water and sanitation, human rights, EdTech, GovTech, policy and regulation, among others.
- Startup of the Year salutes a startup that inspires the next generation of founders by positively impacting the economy and the world in general. It should be a product and/or service that is already a success on the market, disrupting its industry with an innovative approach.
- Best Newcomer acknowledges a startup of up to two years in age with the potential to become Startup of the Year in the future. Its product and/or service should already be on the market and on a path to disrupt its industry and positively impact the economy and the world.
- Founder of the Year will go to a startup founder or co-founder who has shown strong leadership skills and achieved exceptional business results while also being an inspiration to their team and a role model for the next generation of founders.
- VC of the Year honours the VC who has created impressive financial results while investing bravely in innovative companies that can positively impact the economy and the world, supporting them with resources other than purely financial.
- Best Accelerator/Incubator Program recognises a fixed-term, cohort-based, mentorship-driven program that helps and empowers entrepreneurs to foster the growth of their innovative companies by providing tools, resources, connections, knowledge and expertise.
- Best Co-working Space is bestowed on a co-working space that deserves recognition for the services, support, and resources it gives to fast-growth startups, and for creating a culture and an environment that fosters innovation.
The GSA Africa mission and categories in this year’s competition are aligned to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 which strives to feed Africa, industrialise Africa, integrate Africa and, ultimately, improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
“This is the first year that GSA Africa will reach all 55 member states of the AU – a big step for African innovation. The Awards will bring African innovation to the world and place African innovators on the global stage, helping to connect emerging innovators in Africa to unrivalled opportunities.”GSA Africa Country Partner and leader of Zambia’s Jacaranda Hub, Mara Zhanet