After inviting interested startups to participate in this year’s edition of DEMO Africa, followed by completing a DEMO Africa Innovations Tours in some African cities (first of which kicked off in Kenya on the 10th of May 2016), the first round of adjudication for DEMO Africa 2016 finally sees 131 startups shortlisted.
A total of 723 applications were drawn from 46 countries across the globe. DEMO Africa is the place where the most innovative companies from African countries get a platform to launch their products and announce to Africa and the world what they have developed, and it comes as no surprise why this year recorded a 30% increase from last year’s event which attracted 26 countries.
It is necessary to state that, as of this publication, the names of the startups have not yet been released by the organizers in what may turn out to be a rather tense situation. But we can particularly draw encouraging notes from the fact that Nigeria ranks highest among the total number of entries received with 217 applications, followed by Kenya at 154 and South Africa at 104. Other countries with notable numbers were Uganda at 23 applications, Cameroon 17, Ghana 16, Zimbabwe 14, Egypt and Tanzania 12, Ivory Coast 8, Ethiopia 7, Zambia and Rwanda submitted 6 applications each.
This year, DEMO Africa also attracted participation of African diaspora entrepreneurs with those in the US topping the list at 15 applications and Belgium 4. Applications were also received from other countries outside Africa and these include the United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, South Korea, Costa Rica and Afghanistan.
Twelve judges from across the continent are currently reviewing the applications and will later short list 50 startups that will then go into the next round of adjudication.
Without much regard to the numbers or for the startups potentially emerging for the DEMO Africa proper, there is an increasing awareness of Nigeria and Africa at large to the immediate problems pervasive around them. This has also occasioned an increasing rise in technology to tackle these problems firsthand.
Showing his excitement Harry Hare, Executive Director of DEMO Africa said, “We are very excited at the response we received from the startups and startup owners. This goes to show how DEMO Africa is becoming a critical piece of the entrepreneurship development agenda in the continent”.
The adjudication process will continue until the end of June and the announcement of the final 30 is expected in the first week of July.
The first round of adjudication for DEMO Africa 2016 may have been completed, but it’s the beginning of another journey for those shortlisted startups as they head into the latter rounds of the adjudication process. They might as well hope to ride on the same luck or belief in the quality of their innovation to see them make the final shortlist.
DEMO Africa is one of the flagship initiatives of LIONS@frica and aims to connect African startups to the global ecosystem.
Ifeanyi is a desk reporter-turned administrator. Outside of work, I love to read and travel.