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Behind the Criteria: Africa-Centricity

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

In the next few blog posts, we take you behind the scenes to share our five criteria, the first: Africa-centricity

The Yale Africa Startup Review ('YASR') aims to showcase the dynamism, breadth and diversity of innovation across Africa, from Zambia to Senegal and Morocco to Mozambique. It was important to us to go beyond the staple nations of Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt. It was also important to us to find startups in verticals and value chains other than fintech. We do this through #YASR30, a list of 30 startups from around the Continent innovating for change. In this mini-blog series, we take you behind the scenes to share a selection criteria for #YASR30. Our first criterion is Africa-centricity.

In thinking about Africa-centricity, we look for startups that have at least one local person on the founding team or in a C-suite position; and, at least 50% of their operations and headquarters on the Continent. The rationale behind this criterion comes from entrepreneurs in Africa. Simply put, the playing field is not the same for local founders and startups that operate locally relative to immigrant entrepreneurs who move to the Continent in hopes of starting and launching a successful company. According to the Guardian, “...of the top 10 Africa-based startups that received the highest amount of venture capital in Africa in 2019, eight were led by foreigners. In Kenya, for instance, only 6% of startups that received more than $1m in 2019 were led by locals." Local founders and local-led teams have limited access to financing and are less likely to receive recognition.

YASR is mindful of this and we're proud to say all the companies that we will featured meet the Africa-centricity standard. We celebrate this!

Next up we’ll give a sneak peek into how YASR evaluates innovation.

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