Nigeria: CChub, Google Target Tech Transfer for African Hardware Startups

An initiative targeted at revamping the fortunes of hardware sub-sector of the African technology ecosystem has been initiated by Co-Creation Hub (CChub), and Google.

The plan, which is coming through the PitchDrive Tour, the second edition, will build partnerships across Asia for African Deep tech startups.

The PitchDrive II, a three weeek-city Asian tech tour across Singapore, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokyo will bring 10 elite African hardware and advanced technology startups together to discover and engage Asian suppliers and manufacturing partners to help grow their businesses, explore funding opportunities and share learnings from the Asian technology market.

African hardware and deep tech entrepreneurs looking to build connections with Asia's innovation and manufacturing ecosystems will be selected by the PitchDrive team to embark on a landmark tour that aims to facilitate Africa-Asia collaborations to strengthen deep technology companies in Africa. PitchDrive II will enable African startups to take key learning from the Asian technology market and apply them locally to improve their businesses. The tour will also be an opportunity for startups to discover and connect with suppliers or manufacturing partners while securing funding opportunities and learning how best to navigate the manufacturing terrain.

Following the first edition of the tour, over $4.5 million was raised by a number of participating startups, alongside market expansion into new cities.

Starting in Rwanda on August 15th, the cohort will first benefit from a two-day bootcamp at the Kigali-based CcHUB Design Lab, sponsored by the Ministry of ICT and Innovation Rwanda. Following the bootcamp, startups will visit Singapore, China, South Korea, and conclude the tour in Japan with a pitch event in partnership with JETRO, during the Tokyo International Conference of Africa's Development (TICAD 2019) event.

This is the first tour of its kind aimed at creating international partnerships with Asian companies and budding African tech companies. The PitchDrive team sees a strong opportunity for African startups, particularly those focused on deep technology and hardware to benefit from the vibrant tech ecosystem in Asia.

Start-up founders will attend a two-day intensive bootcamp before the tour, where expectations will be clarified and aligned. This will take place in Rwanda. Founders will be encouraged to set their goals and what they want to achieve from the tour. There will also be select mentors from across Africa and Asia's tech scene who would facilitate expert sessions on how to scale a successful startup.

Advisory sessions between startup founders and selected advisors will be organized during the trip.

CcHUB Co-founder and CEO says, Bosun Tijani, said: "The growing relationship between Africa and Asia presents an opportunity for African startups to leverage the advantages of a distributed innovation system that the world today offers. PitchDrive II is a unique opportunity to inspire international collaboration, strengthen and grow world-class African businesses while helping startups explore markets, networks and relationships in key Asian countries."

EMEA Partnerships Manager at Google for Startups, Connor Swenson, added; "We're thrilled to be supporting the second round of PitchDrive. African tech startups are building companies on a global scale, and we believe connecting them to Asian markets through the Google for Startups partner network will not only help them grow even further, but provide a chance for Asian startups to learn from best-in-class African entrepreneurs."

In 2017, CcHUB and Google for Startups inaugurated PitchDrive, engaging 14 of Africa's top tech start-ups representing eight countries in Africa, on a tour of five technology hubs in Europe (London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Zurich and Paris) to pitch to investors.

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