Nigerian startups continue to enhance their reputation as some of the most innovative and dynamic players in the continent’s startup ecosystem, after the region walked away with three top awards at the Global Startup Awards (GSA) Africa Summit recently held in Addis Ababa. The 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 overall African category winners.
At the spectacular awards ceremony in the Ethiopian capital, three Nigerian startups were among the winners.
Emergency Response Africa’s critical initiative to connect individuals experiencing a medical emergency to deliver care in minutes using technology earned it the top prize in the HealthTech category. CEO and co-founder Olufolakemi Owodunni was present to accept the award and credited her team for the hard work and commitment that saw the company make a significant impact on the GSA Africa stage, Owodunni commented, ““Winning the health tech award is truly an honour for us at Emergency Response Africa. It is a powerful reminder that our vision of an Africa where everyone can access emergency help in less than 10minutes resonates. The visibility and opportunity for investment that come with this award will have a significant impact, not only in saving lives but supporting us to lead the building out of a critical industry.”
Awabah Nigeria, a digital technology company, focused on building wealth and providing financial sustainability to informal sector workers scooped the Best Newcomer award. Awabah CEO, Tunji Andrews, reflected, “I was blown away by the organization of what is a truly Pan-African celebration of entrepreneurship. Innovation from all across the continent was on display and it was truly a pleasure to share and learn from every start-up present. Also having an opportunity to interact with the GSA Africa and GIIG team was amazing because they not only understood our vision, but they also saw our future and I only hope we get to work together and make Africa an awesome place. This is our first international award and a testament to our growth as a business and the validity that great ideas can come to life.”
Nigerian startup Dataleum Limited, a tech training and consulting firm, took the Best Edtech category for the sterling work it has done training over 16,000 individuals on premium tech skills. “We take this as a call to do more – to triple our efforts in making more impact in the Tech Talent Ecosystem and to keep making our great nation proud,” said Bode Roberts, CEO and Co-Founder of Dataleum Limited.
Debbie Dosunmu, Group Head of Corporate Communications added, “I think this award is going to propel us to do better and push our business out there globally and reach out to youth who need our services.”
This year’s three Nigerian winners competed against 1,780 entrants from Western Africa region and were among more than 8,200 GSA Africa entrants overall.
The winners will also have the exclusive opportunity to engage with the GIIG Africa Fund, the competition’s dedicated investment partner. Through its GIIG Africa Fund and the GIIG Africa Foundation, the organisation aims to find, fund and grow African solutions to globally relevant challenges.
The year-long competition saw entrants first compete at a national level before vying for their spot as a regional finalist. Winners were then decided by an independent panel of judges, offering a holistic view of the African tech ecosystem.
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. It is our mission to find and support these operators and innovators of Africa – these are the young leaders with the ideas, energy, local knowledge, commitment and experience that will build this continent. We have an always-on call out for organisations that share this vision to partner with us on our GIIG Fund and Foundation work that delivers this support especially ahead of the new programme starting in January 2024.”
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.”
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, and Loudhailer Global.
For more information about all of the GSA Africa 2023 winners and opportunities to get involved, visit www.globalstartupawardsafrica.com