Start your engines: Road trip for African tech start-ups opens applications

A Berlin-based start-up accelerator and advisory firm is opening up the latest round of its pan-African bus tours for corporate executives, founders and investors.

Ampion are an NGO who promote tech entrepreneurship in Africa and 2015 marks their third year of running the novel bus scheme. Entrepreneurs can now apply to bag a seat on a ‘Venture Bus’, on which for seven days winners will receive advice from mentors plucked from technology centres and incubation facilities across Africa while travelling through 14 countries.

Each tour wraps up with a series of pitches in front of regional investors and political dignitaries, as well as by coinciding with regional events DEMO Africa in Nigeria, AfricaCom in South Africa and the Transform Africa Summit in Rwanda.

Buses will hit the road between September and December, charting routes across East Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa and Tunisia.

“We believe, home-grown entrepreneurship and startups tackling social needs are the best way to sustainable growth on the continent”, said Ampion CEO Fabian Guhl.

Seats on the venture buses will set entrepreneurs back $50 but are mostly subsidised by Ampion’s corporate partners who in the past have included Microsoft, Merck and SAP.

Each batch of winning entrepreneurs will focus on distinct industries in technology; East and West African tours will work with entrepreneurs building companies in financial technology, electronic health and modern governance, while the South Africa tour is focussing on founders who are launching hardware and agriculture businesses. Tunisia’s tour is designed to build connections between female entrepreneurs and investors.

In last year’s tour, Ampion selected 160 winners from a 1,000-strong applicant pool.

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