At Brussels Airlines we have a longstanding relationship with the African continent. Over the years we have witnessed at first sight the unique talent that is harboured on the continent. Today we see this talent manifested along two main economic drivers: entrepreneurship and technology. Together with our partner Seedstars World we believe in the potential of entrepreneurship and technology to positively impact people's lives and transform the region for the better.
With the TAKEOFF platform we aim to enable tech startups to develop their talent and make a difference for the people around them.
Brussels Airlines teams up with Seedstars World to organize startup competitions in six African destinations: Angola, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Senegal and Rwanda. At each local event, the top 10-12 pre-selected startups are invited to pitch in front of an expert jury to determine the winner. The event brings together key entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and institutions from the local ecosystem.
To be eligible to apply a startup should be founded within the last 2 years, have a minimal viable product, and should not have received more that USD 0.5m funding. Check out the upcoming competitions to subscribe your startup or attend the event.
The winner of each local event will be welcomed in our TAKEOFF startup platform and enjoy a wide range of benefits from Brussels Airlines and Seedstars World, allowing them to take their business to the next level. More partners will join the platform so so keep an eye on this page for more benefits.
The TAKEOFF benefits we offer to winning startups:
Whenever young Angolan entrepreneur Paulo Araújo encounters obstacles, he takes a moment to remember the words he lives by. "My motto is: ‘Don’t give up. If it was easy, everybody would do it,’" he explains. Through start-up Wi-Connect, Araújo has not only added value to his own life but to the lives of thousands of his fellow Angolans. The entrepreneur and his team have established 16 free Wi-Fi hot spots around the capital city of Luanda, a service used by around 30,000 people every month.
"Our main focus has been providing solutions for universities, as students and young people are the future of Angola," says Araújo. "We decided to create Wi-Connect because we believe that free internet is one of the best ways to fight poverty in Angola and in Africa. The more people we bring online, the more valuable the e-market becomes and the more viable other online businesses become. It’s about making our country a better place."
Araújo’s vision struck such a chord that Wi-Connect won Seedstars Angola, the world’s biggest start-up competition for emerging markets. He will head to Switzerland in April next year for the Seedstars Summit, where regional winners will congregate for a week-long training programme and an opportunity to meet investors and mentors. On the final day, all the start-ups pitch their ideas in front of a 1,000-strong audience with the possibility of winning up to US$1m (¤890,000) in investment prizes. "It’s a fantastic opportunity," says Araújo, who will use the winnings to expand his Wi-Fi network throughout Angola. "It will be an incredible learning experience, as we’ll meet entrepreneurs from all over the world and learn how they tackle and solve problems."
Araújo and his team will, in turn, be able to share their experiences in overcoming challenges as a growing business in Africa. Wi-Connect is on the path to success, but Araújo knows there’s still work to be done. "It may be ambitious, but when the rate of connectivity to the internet in Angola and Africa reaches the levels in the developed world, we will have succeeded," he says. wiconnectlda.com
Text - Pierre Devilliers | Illustration - Luke Wilson
Brussels Airlines, member of Lufthansa Group and a Star Alliance member, is the Belgian airline that offers the widest choice of flights to and from the capital of Europe, Brussels Airport. The company has more than 3.500 employees and 49 aircraft operating some 300 flights daily, connecting the Capital of Europe to over 90 premium European and African destinations and New York JFK, Washington D.C. and Toronto (Canada). As of March 2017, Brussels Airlines will operate 5 weekly flights to Mumbai (India). Brussels Airlines flies to over 20 destinations in Africa and has a longstanding relationship with the continent.
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At Seedstars World we understand that talent is everywhere but opportunities are not. In a nutshell, Seedstars World (SSW) is about building the largest network for entrepreneurs & startups from emerging markets with the vision of reducing unemployment in emerging markets through the promotion and investment in entrepreneurship. Seedstars World is active in 65+ countries across the world, 20 of them in Africa, to find the best early stage startups , analyze local ecosystems and work with public and private partners to find, support and collaborate with entrepreneurs locally and across the world through a variety of acceleration, incubation and education programs.
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