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These Guidebooks Profile Africa’s Most Important Startups

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Luis Monzon
Luis Monzon
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New guidebooks are being released this year that profile some of Africa’s most innovative and impactful startups. Covering start-ups in Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Egypt, and Kenya. These startup guide books shine a spotlight on companies tackling overarching socio-economic issues, the people behind them and the communities backing them, via TechCabal.

30 of these guidebooks have been published across Europe, America, Asia and the Middle-East and last year 3 of them were published covering start-ups in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Cairo. This year, Startup Guide has plans in place to extend the books to cover dynamic and spirited start-up communities in Lagos, Accra, Kigali, and Nairobi.

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In Lagos, Startup Guide is partnering with pan-African Hub, Co-Creation Hub, Impact Hub Lagos, Workstation, as well as SAP Africa to develop the project.

Damilola Teidi, Director of Incubation at Co-Creation Hub, states that the books will provide one more avenue for people to discover the activities in the Lagos system, in addition to the digital goings-on about the start-ups.

“I recently picked up the Cape Town book, not because I can’t browse for information online, but it was really helpful in knowing where to go, who to connect with,” she adds.

“Now, we’re thrilled to be back on the continent. We hope to find partners that can support the mission to raise global awareness for what is happening in the Accra, Lagos, Kigali and Nairobi start-up scenes,” says Startup Guide.

Jiske van Straaten, External Community Manager, says the company is focusing on African capitals for the time being. A second version of the books is hopefully expected in another two years.

“A country-wide book is also the direction we are going in now,” she says.

A Guide for the Youth

The guidebooks are targeted at millennials looking to either start their own businesses or who want to join the workforce at one of the profiled start-ups in the near future.

The guidebooks are also very useful for anyone simply seeking to understand the start-up ecosystem in any of the aforementioned locations.

New Direction

Moving forward this year, Startup Guide is shifting focus to companies that are merging impact with profitability. The company “wants to change the narrative of what good business means”, it wants to show would-be entrepreneurs that they can create new companies that likewise offer economic value as well as social and environmental value.

“As a Startup Guide, we have the responsibility not only to inspire anyone anywhere to do business, that was what our original mission was, but also to inspire people that are starting businesses that are aligning profit with purpose,” says Van Straaten.

In January, the launch of Startup Guide Switzerland, which it unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos, is the first instalment taking into account the company’s new direction. Further plans by the company include more guides for Japan, Brazil and Australia.

Print in a Digital Age

When asked why the guides were being published as physical books when digital information about the topic is so readily available Anna Weissensteiner, Head of Business Development at Startup Guide, says “There was always demand for print products,” and explains that the tangibility of the product is sought after by its target audience.

“There’s a lot of information online but usually, it is a mass of information and it is also not curated,” she says.

The books are in a compact, accessible format that one can effortlessly peruse and get a sense of the ecosystem very quickly, and while the company has also launched a digital platform and has begun pairing books with online, Weissensteiner says the focus shall remain on print.

Copies of the guide books cost between $11 to $23 and are about 230 pages in depth.

Edited by Luis Monzon

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