FAQ

all you need to know

AT WHAT STAGE DO WE TYPICALLY SUPPORT COMPANIES?

Eligibility Criteria

  • Your startup is for profit and registered, with a team of at least three people. It means that if you are an association or a NGO, your organisation does not meet this criteria. Similarly if you are on your own, a one person company, your organisation does not meet this criteria.
  • Your digital or tech product / service is currently available in the market. If your startup is at the idea or prototype stages then your startup do not qualify for the program. People should be able to use and/or biy your product or service.
  • Your startup is either based in or deriving at least 75% of turnover in one or several of the following Francophone Africa markets: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, DRC, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, and Togo. It means that you can be based in Benin and do all your turnover in Benin. You can be based in Congo and do your turn over in several of these francophone countries. It can also mean that your startup is based in France, South Africa or Nigeria but still generate at least 75% of its turnover in one or several countries of Francophone Africa
  • You have a very strong management team – when applying, it is important to explain and detail each manager’s profile and background: education, career, key competences
  • You can demonstrate tangible traction, evidence of revenue and potential to scale. This can be done via your current revenues but also by sharing your forecast or any contract you might be negotiating with a company, an institution,…and that will generate revenues in the near future
  • You are seeking investment capital in the range of $250K – $5M. To support your growth ambition, your startup needs more capital than the revenue you are generating.
  • While there will be exceptions, most likely your start-up has already received investment capital, as debt or equity, or received grants from donor organisations or prize money from competitions. This is not compulsory but it sends a positif signal about the appeal of your company

IS THERE A FEE FOR JOINING OR PARTICIPATING IN L'Afrique Excelle?

No. L’Afrique Excelle is a completely free program.

The support you receive is free, so are your flights and accommodation costs when attending the Residency in Mali and France. Yet, if you decide that another person from the management team will join you for the residency in Mali, transports and accommodation costs will be at your expenses.

DOES L'Afrique Excelle PROVIDE ANY FUNDING?

No, we do not provide any funding nor take any equity. We aim at partnering you with the right type of investors, at connecting you with investors throughout the program and beyond. If an investor is interested in your company, any term sheet negotiations will be between you and the investor directly.

HOW MANY COMPANIES ARE SELECTED FOR THE COHORT?

Up to 20 attend the Mali residency whereby 10 finalists are selected for the residency and final show venture case in France.

SO HOW DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORK?

Initial screening

After January 14 deadline, we will screen all applications for eligibility, using the criteria explained above. At this stage, we simply ensure that all applications match the eligibility criteria.

Full review

An adjudication team of 3-5 people, comprising of investors, and industry experts, will use objective selection criteria (see below) to rank and score each application. This jury is independent from the organisations that support or implement l’Afrique Excelle.

Virtual interview

Up to 30 of the highest-scoring startups will selected for a virtual interview. It’s the opportunity to present your business and answer any questions the jury may have. We might also ask for pitch decks, revised financials and details on the product or service.

Final 20 Selection

Based on the interview outcomes, 20 startups will be invited to join L’Afrique Excelle’s Mali residency. One person from the management team will represent your startup and attend Mali residency

Final 10 Selection

During that residency program in Mali, 10 finalists will be selected to carry on with the program. Ideally, the manager who attended Mali residency will also be the one attending France residency.

TELL ME ABOUT THE SELECTION CRITERIA?

Commercial Value of your Product/Service (25%)

The company addresses a real problem in the market. The digital or tech solution is different from others in the industry. The product or service is catalyzing social change.

Strategy for Growth (25%)

There is potential to expand locally and into new markets. We can see demonstrable progress and your startup is scalable.

Management (25%)

The team has the qualifications needed to make the business successful.

Market Traction & Financials (25%)

We will evaluate the market traction and potential market size. We’ll also look at the business model, revenue streams and unit economics, and if any outside funding has been raised before.

WHAT'S AVAILABLE FOR YOU AT L'Afrique Excelle?

We can help you access funding, networks, mentoring and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs in the form of:

  • Structured access to investors throughout the program and at a Venture Showcase in France.
  • Mentoring from at least two successful entrepreneurs or investors (global and local) to develop accurate company valuations, financial forecasts, risk management and customer acquisition strategies. Access to other expertise can be provided, based on your specific needs.
  • An opportunity to meet with investors, potential customers and partners as well as peers at an all-expenses paid residency in Mali and in France.
  • Support in developing investment packages so you’re ready for investment after the program.
  • Knowledge through curated content designed to strengthen your competences

WHEN WILL I HEAR IF I'M SELECTED?

Everyone who’s selected as a finalist will hear from us on March 11th, 2019. Announcement will be made by press release and all applicants will receive a notification

CAN I APPLY IF MY COMPANY ISN'T REGISTERED IN A FRANCOPHONE AFRICA COUNTRY?

Definitely, as long as you have a product or service currently available in one of the eligible Francophone Africa countries (see full list here).

CAN I STILL APPLY IF I'VE ALREADY RECEIVED FUNDING?

Absolutely. We will help you with advice and connections to investors if you need additional funding.

IF I JOIN L'AFRIQUE Excelle, WHAT ARE MY COMMITMENTS?

Once you’re signed up, there are steps we take together and steps you take yourself. First, we will work with you to assess your business and your needs to further grow your company. We have to know exactly how we can best support you.

We will develop a road map for your company’s development and agree on a series of milestones to achieve. We track these as you progress through the program.

You will also be asked to:

  • Engage regularly with your mentors (4-6 hours a month) over 6 months. Remember it’s a two-way street – both mentors and mentees learn and commit to this relationship. In many cases, we expect these relationships to last long after the program has ended.
  • Make use and learn from the online XL Academy.
  • Participate in two residencies: one week in Mali between March 25-30, and another week in France, between May 13-18. Ideally, the same manager attend both residency.
  • Engage with 19 other African enterprises, along with mentors, investors and strategic partners.
  • Come with an open mind and be willing to learn from others and collaborate

TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR L'Afrique Excelle, YOUR STARTUP CAN BE REGISTERED ANYWHERE, BUT YOUR TEAM MUST BE BASED IN ONE OF THE FOLLOWING COUNTRIES

Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, DRC, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

KEY DATES

Nov 19 – Applications open

Dec 6 – Info webinar 1 (See the video HERE)

Jan 7 – Info webinar 2 (Sign up HERE)

Jan 14 – Applications close

Jan 14 – Feb 11 – Review and selection by investor committee

Feb 11 – Mar 4 – Interviews and due diligence

Mar 11 – Public announcement of 20 participants

Mar 25-30 –Mali residency

Mar 31 – Public announcement of 10 finalists

Mar 30 – Sep 30 – Mentorship (6 months in total: 1,5 months before France residency, 4,5 months after France residency)

May 13-18 – France residency

May 15 Final Venture Showcase at Afrobytes 2019 Station F, Paris

May 16-17 Final Venture Showcase at VivaTech 2019 in Paris