Fourteen startups from Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Senegal and Benin have been announced as Western Regional winners of the Global Startup Awards (GSA) Africa 2022/23, the largest independent startup ecosystem competition on the continent.
The announcement took place at the launch edition of GITEX Africa 2023 in Marrakech, Morocco, late last week.
GITEX Africa 2023 is the biggest gathering of innovation stakeholders on the continent, bringing together global leaders in the public, private and civil sectors to spur the adoption of next-gen technology in Africa.
Launched in 2021, GSA Africa is a platform dedicated to showcasing and scaling Africa’s most promising startups.
This year’s competition focused on solutions in agriculture, climate change, commerce, education, healthcare, and mobility & logistics, with particular interest in startups championing Web3.0 technologies, sustainable business models, green innovation, and diversity in the workplace.
Nigerian startups secured six titles at this year’s Western Africa competition. This includes the awards for Best Newcomer (Awabah); Startup of the Year (Salubata); Best Agri-Tech Startup (Crop2Cash); Best Health-Tech Startup (Emergency Response Africa); Best Ed-Tech Startup (Dataleum Limited); and Best Web3.0 Startup (Xend Finance).
Ghana, which secured three awards for Best Incubator/Accelerator Programme (2Scale); Diversity Role Model of the Year (Developers in Vogue); and Ecosystem Hero of the Year (Demasko Farms).
Awards were also given to startups from Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Senegal and Benin, which earned the titles of Founder of the Year (MyWatchman), Best Co-Working Space (Impact Hub Abidjan), Best Commerce-Tech Startup (Taybull Soft Ltd.), Best Green-Tech Startup (SNTECH-Afrique), and Best Mobility & Logistics-Tech Startup (Zed Motors) respectively.
These regional winners will now advance to the Continental Finals of the GSA Africa competition, where they will compete against their counterparts from Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Central Africa.
Startups crowned an African winner will then join the GSA Grand Finale where they will have the unique opportunity to showcase their solutions alongside some of the world’s top entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and ecosystem enablers.
In March 2023, two African startups were named Global Winners at last season’s Grand Finale hosted in Copenhagen. Competing against more than 120 companies from 115 countries, Ethiopian green-tech startup, Kubik, was recognised as ‘Startup of the Year’, while the Ugandan fintech, Emata, was proclaimed ‘Best Newcomer’.
African winners will also have the exclusive opportunity to engage with the Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG), 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.
On securing the region’s best Mobility & Logistics title, Zed Motors’ Olou JP Koucoi comments that “Being a regional winner is exciting news and boosts our team morale, our supporters, the people we are empowering, and our investors.
This is showing entrepreneurs in Benin, in Francophone Africa, and to all those hesitating to launch their innovative venture that anything is possible in the world.
The impact that the Global Startup Awards Africa has is not just about possibility but – like Barack Obama put it -, it highlights ‘the audacity of hope’.
African startups of all sizes shall comprehend that when you are doing something to help others live better, don’t give up, there will be a day when a team like the people at Global Startup Awards will acknowledge your efforts and shine light on it.” Zed-Motors is on a mission to lead Africas transition to clean mobility by locally replacing all ICE, petrol motorcycles with electric.
Reflecting on this year’s regional winners, GSA Africa and GIIG co-founder, Jo Griffiths, says: “With 199 finalists, Western Africa did not disappoint! Our panel of judges were blown away by the quality and diversity of solutions that are actively working to solve some of our greatest challenges. From the Benin to Togo, startups like Salubata, Xend Finance, and SNTECH-Afrique are proof that Africa is the tech continent of the future.”
Griffiths adds that this year’s GSA Africa competition attracted 8,272 entries from all 54 African states, resulting in 71 regional winners across Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, and Central Africa, including twenty-three African countries being represented in the line-up of regional winners.
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 wholistic view of the African tech-ecosystem.
Announcing the regional winners at GITEX Africa was GSA Africa and GIIG co-founder, Caitlin Nash, who remarked that: “These winners represent the top startups in both their home country and region – and it’s all the more significant that we announce them here in Morocco.
This competition is all about building global bridges between our continent’s most exceptional solutions and the people, markets and communities where they can make the most significant impact. In that vein, this event has been the ideal launch pad for these startup’s global ambitions, and we’re excited to help take them to the world.”
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