Africa Startup Ecosystem Lab

Save the date: ASEL Finale

On April 23rd, 2021, six teams will be selected to present in front a panel of active investors on the continent. Join us to hear from those students, as well as our panel of investors and African entrepreneurs.

The Yale Africa Business & Society Club is organizing a 6-week Africa Startup Ecosystem Lab ('ASEL') partnering African founders with selected teams of students. The goal is to work together to solve a major challenge faced by the startups. At the end of the lab, the best proposals will be selected to present to a panel of active members of the African innovation ecosystem - serial entrepreneurs, investors, executive leaders, etc.

Participating students have been selected come from universities around the world. They will be matched with leaders and founders that were featured in the #YASR30 list.

Key Facts

150+ applications

75 advanced to final rounds

30 selected to participate in ASEL

90% of teams have a mixed representation of females and males

22 countries and 6 continents represented by team members

92% of the participatns are graduate students and represent 16 different industries

ASEL Judges

Hannah Subayi Kamuanga

Experienced investor in Africa (Private Equity / Venture Capital / Angel), currently acting as the Country Officer for the Republic Democratic of Congo (DRC) within Proparco - one of the largest DFIs in the world (  She is also in charge of all equity transactions for Central Africa for Proparco. In addition, Hannah is a Director at Dazzle Angels, the first South African female angel fund investing in women-led tech businesses. In this context, Hannah sits on the investment committee of Launch Africa (, a pan-African early stage investment fund; as well as Aruwa Capital (, a Nigerian private equity fund. Hannah has been recently appointed as a board member of ABAN, the African Business Angel Network (ABAN) is a Pan-African non-profit association ( Before joining Proparco, Hannah was a Principal at South Suez Capital, the largest pan-African fund of private equity funds on the continent, with $1bn under management. Prior to that, Hannah was an investment banker in London with an expertise on capital markets and M&A in developed markets.

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Christopher Aidun

Partner at Persistent (, a company he co-founded. Persistent is a venture builder that invests in and develops commercial businesses that bring clean energy and other essential services to customers in emerging markets.  Chris has nearly forty years of experience in venture capital, private equity and debt finance.  Prior to founding Persistent in 2012, Chris was a senior private equity partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.  Since founding Persistent, Chris has served as CEO, a director and a member of the firm’s management committee.  Chris also serves on the Boards of Altech (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Zonful (Zimbabwe) and Balance of Systems AG (Germany).

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Uwem Uwemakpan

Investor in early-stage startups. He leads the Operations at Ingressive Capital (, a $10 Million VC fund targeting early-stage startups across Sub-Saharan Africa’s key tech markets. Prior to this, he served as the Entrepreneurship Programme Manager, and the founding team of the largest Pan-African Entrepreneurship Programme, a $100 million initiative – The Tony Elumelu Foundation, which he led for 5 years and surpassed the 10-year goal of training, mentoring and funding 10,000 entrepreneurs from across Africa.

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Lydia Idem

Founder and Managing Partner at FM Capital Group (, a registered investment advisory firm for angel investors in Africa and Latin America. She has founded, advised and invested in startups for the past 24 years. In 2012, Lydia expanded her portfolio into Africa and is looking to make a bigger footprint on the continent. Her most recent investments include Rise and Redbird. She has been a special guest on Yahoo! Finance, TD Ameritrade Network, Benzinga's #PreMarket Prep Show, and Forex Analytix's F.A.C.E. She's been featured in FORBES Magazine and CNNMoney. Lydia is also co-author/contributor to The StockTwits Edge and Trading: The Best of The Best. Lydia was recently named #22 of the Twitter Accounts Investors Need to Follow and #3 of the Top 10 Women To Follow In Finance.