The Global Startup Awards Africa (GSA) Africa, in collaboration with the Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG), the Ethiopian Ministry of Labour and Skills (MOLS), the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MInT) with the support of the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) Ethiopia, revealed the names of 16 category winners at the GSA Africa Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The GSA Africa awards began in 2021, a journey that has led to over 15,000 African innovators nominated from 54 countries, support of 300 jury members, ambassadors, and hundreds of innovation hubs across the continent.
Jo Griffiths, co-founder of the GSA Africa and GIIG, highlighted, “The Global Startup Awards Africa aims to raise the visibility of African innovation as a unifying mechanism that transcends borders, cultures, and nationalities as well as the diverse maturity levels of the various startup ecosystems. It provides a common language for us all, fostering understanding and connection, and providing a platform to implement a shared vision of scaled impact.”
Caitlin Nash, co-founder of GSA Africa and GIIG added, “The GSA Africa Summit is an enabler of collaborative transformation – of Africa’s emerging startup nations, founders, and communities leveraging and amplifying Africa’s growing influence in the global community. We were honoured to be hosted in Addis Ababa, signalling a significant milestone in this country’s entrepreneurial journey as they embark on the Next Ethiopian Startup Initiative (NEST) to support and empower startups as a key driver in Ethiopia’s economy.”
Her Excellency Muferihat Kamil, Minister of Labour and Skills, shared, “Ethiopia has big ambitions. We believe it is our turn to shape tomorrow’s world. It is Africa’s turn to herald a new world, a more equitable, more humanity-centred, and more just world. It will be all of us standing tall, and Africa standing tall, Africa assuming its rightful place in the world, Africa ceasing to be a synonym for poverty, social malaise, and hopelessness, and Africa becoming the new frontier for innovation and economic vitality.” H.E. Kamil encouraged all startups, “As you go home, go home with Africa’s future on your shoulders, with Africa’s dream for salvation in your hearts.”
His Excellency Dr Belete Molla Getahun, Minister of Innovation and Technology, said, “If African countries are to truly reap the benefits of the demographic dividends from their sizeable young population, it is extremely necessary to support entrepreneurship and startups with a sense of urgency and purpose. Here, we must leverage this platform to learn from other countries’ experiences and to share yours as well as your country’s vision of going global by fostering a local innovation ecosystem. This is the building of a community of disrupters ready to make its mark on the global startup ecosystem. The world will soon feel your impact, from Lagos to Lilongwe, Cape Town to Cairo. You are the fearless makers and shakers. With you at the helm, steering us forward, there will be light ahead.”
In March 2023, two African startups were named global winners at last season’s grand finale in Copenhagen. Competing against more than 120 companies from 115 countries, Ethiopian greentech startup, Kubik, was recognised as ‘Startup of the Year’, while the Ugandan fintech startup, Emata, was proclaimed ‘Best Newcomer’.
This season’s 16 African winners span diverse categories in the startup ecosystem, showcasing the depth and diversity of the continent’s ability to build human-needs-driven innovation for all levels of societal inclusion.
Startup of the Year: Hiryo (Egypt), a women’s safety and anti-harassment app that uses high-end tech like AI to support women, help them feel safer and fight gender-based violence.
Best Newcomer: Awabah (Nigeria), a digital technology company focused on building wealth and providing financial sustainability to informal sector workers, secured this award.
Best Mobility and Logistics: BasiGo (Kenya), is a startup focused on creating the future of clean, electric public transport in Africa. The company’s Pay-As-You-Drive financing solutions make electric buses affordable to all bus owners in Nairobi.
Best Greentech: Coffee Resurrect (Ethiopia), the first Biotech company in Africa to create 100% natural personal care, nutraceutical, and food ingredients from coffee waste emerged triumphant in the. “GSA Africa will help us impact entrepreneurs across Africa and beyond, adds Almaw Molla, founder of and CEO at Coffee Resurrect Inc. “It [will] help us to steadfastly adhere to a circular business model and continue to develop local solutions to address global challenges.”
Best Edtech: Dataleum (Nigeria), a tech training and consulting firm that has trained over 16,000 individuals on premium tech skills.
Diversity Role Model of the Year: Developers in Vogue (Ghana) took home the prize for empowering a community of women to use tech for Africa and beyond.
Best HealthTech: Emergency Response Africa (Nigeria) is connecting individuals experiencing a medical emergency to deliver care in minutes using technology.
Founder of the Year: Freeziana.com (Egypt), an e-commerce website that is empowering women and marginalised handcraft makers, claimed this coveted award.
Ecosystem Hero: Hani W. Naguib is a leading Egyptian Business Designer and Innovation Consultant bringing a decade of experience in preparing executives and entrepreneurs to become innovators.
VC of the Year: Mo Angels (Mauritius), the first syndicated angel investment group in Mauritius working in funding early-stage startups.
Best Web 3.0 Startup: Momint is a leading Web3 app in Africa, using blockchain to address Payment, Opportunity, and Identity with a focus on energy.
Best Agritech Startup: MooMe (Tunisia) is a startup that offers innovative software and hardware to monitor dairy farming production. “Hard work always pays off,” says Ahmed Ben Achballah, MooMe founder and CEO. “We have been building MooMe step-by-step within a very complicated sector and market. This recognition sheds more light on a specific type of African Agritech Startup focus for dairy and livestock farming.”
Best Co-working Space: Tech Buzz Hub (Uganda) is a hub dedicated to creating inclusive workspaces, with a mission to help young entrepreneurs fulfil their enterprise dreams and vision through coworking spaces, and providing facilities and infrastructure.
Best Accelerator/Incubator Programme: The American University in Cairo Venture Lab (Egypt), is Egypt’s first university-based startup accelerator for helping innovation-driven and passionate entrepreneurs build Egypt’s next generation of tech startups.
Best Commerce Tech: Zofi Cash (Uganda), a startup that is revolutionising how salaried individuals access their wages. “Becoming a winner for the Global Startup Awards Africa feels like an incredible achievement for Zofi Cash and the clients and businesses we are working with”, says Zofi Cash founder and CEO, Paul Kirungi. “Scoring this nomination showcases the great work we are doing in the fintech industry and validates our efforts to create a better financial future for everyone.”
Future Shaper Award: Zuri Health (Nigeria) is a virtual hospital platform that provides affordable and accessible healthcare services to patients across sub-Saharan Africa via a mobile app, website, WhatsApp bot and SMS service.
Kim Balle, founder of the Global Startup Awards (Denmark), praised the achievements of these startups, saying, “What stands out among the winners is that they are all solving real problems in a way that makes the world a better place,” Balle said. “I’ve seen that African startups can go in and completely disrupt an industry.”
Moving forward, the African winners will participate in the global round, where they will compete on an international stage at the Global Startup Awards and gain further recognition and support.
Additionally, the winners of the GSA Africa competition have the exclusive opportunity to engage with the GIIG Africa Fund, a profit-and-purpose vehicle providing catalytic funding to enable African tech entrepreneurs to thrive in businesses that pioneer global solutions that meet the most pressing challenges of our time.
Additional key partners to the GSA Africa summit included UNICEF Ethiopia, UNDP Ethiopia, Grant Thornton Ethiopia, The Mayor’s Office Addis Ababa, The Development Bank Ethiopia, First Consult, Wesgro, ALX Ethiopia and Loudhailer Global.
For more information about the GSA Africa winners and opportunities to get involved, visit www.globalstartupawardsafrica.com