French-South African company, Methys Group, is a long-time technology and venture studio actor in Africa. The company is proud to announce its major role in newly launched Enrich in Africa initiative backed by the European commission and a dozen European and African partners.
Methys confirmed today its leading role in the new ENRICH in Africa (EiA) initiative, a platform for supporting the EU-African Innovation Community. Funded by the European Union (through its Horizon 2020 programme) and coordinated by Germany-based Steinbeis 2i, the EiA initiative brings together many key stakeholders from the innovation community in Europe and Africa to address the needs for capacity development of incubators, accelerators, and entrepreneurs in both regions.
Recent years have revealed an increased focus and interest with regards to the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems across Africa. Such focus has covered the academic, political, and of course business environment, looking to enhance cultural, technological, and economic advantages. To best explore and engage with this environment, the European Union (EU), through the European Commission (EC) and alongside the African Union (AU) and individual European and African organisations, have been active in designing several initiatives to best explore the current situation and investment requirements needed to capitalise on opportunities that exist, for the mutual benefit of African and European countries.
This work has generated scientific cooperation topics that are now active within the Horizon 2020 programme - which support the development of EU-Africa intercultural and research exchange for the benefit of both continents. The outcome has been to develop initiatives and projects that can build on this political momentum and drive the engagement of the innovation community. With this background in mind, the EiA project comes into play by engaging and working in partnership with a wide variety of successful players in both the EU and Africa community.
Mission of the EiA initiative
The project will be extending the existing ENRICH network, currently present in the USA, Brazil, and China, and India. In its initial phase, EiA activity will primarily connect European and African innovators to the high-quality services provided by the incubators and acceleration programmes engaged in the pilot phase.
With an initial funding of €3.5 million for 2021-2023 period, EiA will be the European Commissions' primary public-private partnership to stimulate inter-continental cooperation and further develop the EU-African Innovation Community.
EiA will be delivering capacity-building services for its members, the incubators and accelerators across Europe and Africa, promoting networking opportunities, developing high-quality soft-landing services and fostering incubation and acceleration support that strengthen innovators’ capacity to establish themselves in the other continent. EiA will also help innovators reach out to investors, innovation centres, and partners in the European and African ecosystems to develop business creation coupled with market development, increasing chances for business success. These actions aim to therefore increase productivity and generate inclusive employment across Europe and Africa. The EiA programme will work with current actors within the local economies of countries across the continents, including public institutions, academia, business support organisations, investors, and corporates.
Furthermore, EiA will be organising a range of activities to support the wide range of innovations facilitators across this ecosystem, such as the Annual Congress which will highlight capacity building opportunities, fostering policy dialogue and recognise best practice, the Learning Expeditions to enable organisations to explore new local markets as well as offer local market development to the host cities, and the community platform to ensure connectivity across all EiA stakeholders.
Methys and EiA
As part of this programme, Methys will be delivering the digital backbone of the Enrich in Africa platform, providing soft-landing services in South Africa in partnership with its incubator, the French South African Tech Labs, and leverage on the leading African Series of tech events, Deal Flow, Open Innovation platform AfricArena to support the objectives of the Enrich in Africa Programme.
Eduardo Herrmann, Member of Management Board at Steinbeis 2i GmbH - a Coordinating Partner of the initiative, says “We are thrilled to be able to work with such a strong group of partners to add additional value to the innovation ecosystem of Europe and Africa. There is such a great amount of work already taking place in this space, but we see a real value in being able to raise the capacity of such actors as well as connect the two regions to each other. There is much to be done but we have the right team in place to achieve great results.”
Christophe Viarnaud, Founder and CEO of Methys added, “The Enrich in Africa project is a very important pillar for the future of the EU relationship with the continent in terms of technology innovation and collaboration. Methys, a company with presence in Europe and Africa, has been for over 10 years a significant contributor to the ecosystem development of the tech innovation on the continent, most particularly by its work with startups and corporates, but also its 5-year investment in the Cape Town based French South African Tech Labs, which has incubated over 35 early-stage startups to date, and AfricArena, which Alumnis have raised over $220m in the past 4 years. We are proud and thrilled to be part of the world class consortium and look forward to contributing.”
Methys is an international Digital Transformation & Innovation firm with operations in France, Benelux, UK, Tunisia and South Africa. Methys is focused on customer success, driving maximum business performance from Digital innovation. Leveraging on partnerships with leading technology stacks and a rich set of methodologies blending functional and technological excellence, the passion of Methys people is about giving its customers the means to enhance the performance of their business.
About EiA Consortium
In addition to Methys, the consortium is composed by Steinbeis 21 (Germany), Impact Hub (Austria), European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN – _Belgium), Sociedade Portuguesa De Inovação (SPI - Portugal) Agorize (France), Bondy Innovation (France), Co-Creation Hub (Nigeria), I-Hub (Kenya), Tech Accelerator (South Africa), Science Technology and Innovation Policy Research Organisation (Tanzania), BPI France (France). More information on enrich-in-africa-project.eu/
About ENRICH Network
ENRICH is a global network of centres and hubs that promotes the internationalisation of European science, technology, and innovation. Promoted by the European Commission, the ENRICH network offers services to connect European research, technology, and business organisations with global frontrunner innovation markets like Brazil, China, the US, India and now, Africa. More information: www.enrichcentres.eu/