The first ever forum for entrepreneurs and start-ups engaged in innovations in africa. Gathering geeks, entrepreneurs, investors, political figures, curious minds, young and old from all over the world. The goal was to dive into the realities of start-ups and their process of innovation.

The first edition of the forum innovation made in africa organized by the International City of Knowledge Innovation of Benin (Sèmè City), the National Agency for the Promotion of Heritage and Tourism Development (ANPT) and the World Bank.

For two days a gathering of people of diverse background came together to network, grab opportunities, learn and talk about the difficulties faced in the world of innovations and entrepreneurship.

The agenda was highly packed with panels of discussions, workshops, mentor speed dates and confessionals. Entrepreneurs and people with ideas and projects in mind where found discussing the future of start-ups and innovations in Africa.

Opportunities and difficulties faced by young businesses across Africa was the heart of all discussions.

Some of the topics tackled where leveraging on entrepreneurship and innovation to cause change, what trainings and models are needed to create durable jobs and an inclusif development, frugal innovation or to do better with less, support tools and financing innovations, using innovation to serve tourism and more.

Sename Koffi, founder and director of Woelab in Togo, he spoke about smart cities. A smart city is a city intimately linked to technology. Lomé hub City for example is a smart city project from Togo that is based on the creation of smart citizen.

Tonje Bakang, Chief Brand Officer for the Anzisha Price and founder of Afrostream (France) talked about the Anzisha Price, an initiative that supports and trains very young entrepreneurs (15 to 22 year olds), he also confessed the errors and lessons he learnt on his entrepreneur journey.

Laurent QUEIGE, General Director of  Welcome City Lab, an innovation platform dedicated to urban tourism, offering a set of services to startups and tourism sector actors: an incubator, a meeting place, exchange and co-working, an experimentation platform and a monitoring cell.


A crucial aspect of this forum was the challenge fund which saw the pitching of innovative solutions to boost the tourism sector in Benin. The winners were awarded

The projects that got to the finals are :

Of the nine (09) finalist, four (04) were selected and are each were awarded a funding of $ 150,000.

Woju Elite: The first ecological museum in West Africa, the Tata Somba Ecomuseum is a project for the conservation, protection and enhancement of the traditional architecture of the Batammariba threatened.

The Benin distillery: A unique experience by discovering the world’s most famous liquor production Tambour Original.Venez profiter d’une expérience unique en découvrant

Country Immersion: Discover the Benin by virtually immersing yourself in its most unusual aspects: optimize your journey and enrich your tourist experience once there.

Fruit Fiber Fabric: An innovative and eco-friendly line of clothing and accessories made from 100% recyclable textiles made from pineapple, banana and coconut fibers.

The Pendjari Balloon project ,Offers a unique safari experience in West Africa, “the Pendjari from the sky”. It will be the first balloon safari in Benin to discover the landscapes and wildlife of the Pendjari, received the public’s prize following the votes of Internet users on Sèmè City’s facebook page.

The presentation of the prizes to the winners of the Challenge Fund organized with the support of the World Bank represented by Mrs. Katrina SHARKEY.

In short, african start-ups need to be trained, they need to be organized. They need to be considered, supported and have easy access to finances. The ecosystem should make the creation and growth of businesses adequate.

© Presidence Benin




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