Seedstars World – Africa Tour Opens Applications for 2018 Edition

Silicon Cape
07 Aug 2018

After breaking award records on the 2017 edition, Seedstars World, the largest startup competition for emerging markets, is back in Africa to scout for the top high growth startups and entrepreneurs and accelerate them on their path to global scaling. Local winners will be invited to represent their country at the Regional Summit in Africa and win an all-inclusive trip to Switzerland, to introduce their startup to some of world’s most prominent investors and executives and enjoy the opportunity to win up to $1mn in equity investments and additional prizes.

On the 2018 edition of the tour, Seedstars Africa regional team will visit 20+ cities across Sub-Saharan Africa, hosting bootcamps and pitch competitions. Countries such as Mauritius and Zambia, amongst others, will host local competitions for the first time, enlarging the impact of Seedstars mission in the continent.

Seedstars has done five successful tours so far, placing the spotlight on entrepreneurs from fast growing economies, and one can say African startups have had significant successes with 3 of its entrepreneurs having won the global prize in the past: SimplePay (Nigeria: 2013), Giraffe (South Africa: 2015) and Agrocenta (Ghana: 2018). In the lastest Seedstars Global Summit edition, which happened on the 12th of April in Lausanne, Africa broke new records having three startups amongst the finalists (besides Agrocenta), two of them awarded with important prizes: GiftedMom, finalist startup from Cameroon; Medsaf, from Nigeria, winner of Best Women Entrepreneur Prize, by TAG Heuer; EMGuidance, South Africa, winner of the Health Tech Prize by Merck. Solar Freeze, Kenya, was also winner of Africa Energy prize, by Enel; and EDVES, from Nigeria, was awarded Transforming Education Prize by TRECC (Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities) and School of Management Fribourg (HEG Fribourg). With hopes of repeating this success for African startups in the upcoming summit, Seedstars World is kicking off this year’s tour on the 29th of June in Harare, Zimbabwe.

At Regional and Global Summits, the best startups of each country will benefit from local mentorship and exposure, as well as from being part of the largest global network and platform for tech entrepreneurship and impact investment, comprising entrepreneurs, investors and other ecosystem players and spanning over 80 countries around the world. Local winners will also have a chance to be part of the Seedstars acceleration program (Seedstars Growth).

“For the past years, there’s been quite a lot of buzz about Africa’s economic growth and social developing. The winning streak that African startups have put together at Seedstars World competition is the validation of the increased quality of startups across the continent, particularly this year, when we took home so many prizes.”, celebrates Claudia Makadristo, who continues by saying that “for this year we have a more country-focused strategy going on, built upon the large network of local ecosystem builders that we have managed to relate to through the past years, and we are looking into different initiatives to complement the great work they have done so far.”

The companies selected to pitch at the Seedstars local events need to be less than 2 years old, have raised less than USD 500,000 in funding and have built a minimum viable product, ideally with existing traction. The Seedstars World team is searching for one additional criterion – the startup’s regional and global scalability. With a strong network of regional partners such as Merck, SPECo, Enel or Continental, Seedstars World is looking for smart startups that are addressing underlying social challenges in their home countries and developing profitable products for the global market, to support their regional businesses and growth.

Applications are open here for startups in South Africa, Mozambique , Democratic Republic of Congo , Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Cameroon, Rwanda, Angola, Zambia, Mauritius, Botswana and Zimbabwe, amongst others.

“They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.” – Mexican proverb

Seedstars is a Swiss-based group with the mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on the Sustainable Goals for the Development of the UN. Seedstars connects stakeholders, builds companies from scratch with public and private partners and invests in high-growth startups within these ecosystems. Seedstars aims at fostering impact investing and impact entrepreneurship over the world. Through different activities, that range from startup scouting, events organization to company building and acceleration programs, Seedstars has built the world’s biggest community of changemakers in emerging markets. Seedstars group includes the largest startup competition in emerging markets (Seedstars World Competition), the Entrepreneurship Forum for Emerging Markets (Seedstars Summit), physical entrepreneurs hubs (Seedspace), acceleration programs (Seedstars Growth), teaching & training programs (Seedstars Academy) and an investment entity with a startup lab and a fund (Seedstars Investments).  Some of Seedstars main partners are Enel (Energy), School of Management Fribourg (HEG Fribourg) & TRECC – Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (Education), BBVA (Finance), Tag Heuer (Fempreneurship, Time Saving and Innovation), Merck (Health) and Continental (Mobility).


Seedstars World is the world’s biggest startup competition in emerging markets. It has been five years now that Seedstars Team takes off every year for a 9-month world tour and scouts for the best early-stage startups in 65+ countries, organizing 80+ events. One winner is selected to represent each country visited, and is invited to attend one of the 5 Regional Summits, reuniting all local winners of each region to network with regional investors, mentors and corporates. Local winners are also awarded the chance to represent their countries at the Seedstars Summit, the competition final happening in Switzerland, where startups compete for up to $1Mn in investment. The Seedstars Summit is the flagship event of Seedstars, filled with breakout sessions, panel discussions, specialized workshops and the best minds from emerging markets.