Fifteen startups from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Rwanda and Tanzania have been announced as Eastern Regional winners of the Global Startup Awards (GSA) Africa 2022/23, the largest independent startup ecosystem competition on the continent.
The announcement took place at the launch edition of GITEX Africa 2023 in Marrakech, Morocco, late last week. GITEX Africa 2023 is the biggest gathering of innovation stakeholders on the continent, bringing together global leaders in the public, private and civil sectors to spur the adoption of next-gen technology in Africa.
Launched in 2021, GSA Africa is a platform dedicated to showcasing and scaling Africa’s most promising startups. This year’s competition focused on solutions in agriculture, climate change, commerce, education, healthcare, and mobility & logistics, with particular interest in startups championing Web3.0 technologies, sustainable business models, green innovation, and diversity in the workplace.
Kenyan startups secured seven titles at this year’s Eastern Africa competition. This includes the awards for Founder of the Year (Gjenge Makers Ltd.); Startup of the Year (Farmer Lifeline); Diversity Role Model of the Year (Thynk Care Foundation); Best Health-Tech Startup (Zuri Health); Best Mobility & Logistics-Tech Startup (BasiGo); Best Web3.0 Startup (Crypsese Digital Group); and Ecosystem Hero of the Year (Saniwise Technologies).
Also winning awards were startups from Uganda, which secured the titles for Best Co-Working Space (Tech Buzz Hub); Best Incubator / Accelerator Programme (Transformational Business Network Africa); and Best Commerce-Tech Startup (Zofi Cash). Meanwhile, startups from Ethiopia were recognised as the Best Newcomer (Husky Energy & Technologies) and Best Green-Tech Startup (Coffee Resurrect), as finalists from Mauritius, Rwanda and Tanzania walked away with the awards for Venture Capitalist of the Year (Mo Angels), Best Agri-Tech Startup (NjordFrey), and Best Ed-Tech Startup (Niajiri Platform) respectively.
These regional winners will now advance to the Continental Finals of the GSA Africa competition, where they will compete against their counterparts from Northern, Southern, Western, and Central Africa. Startups crowned an African winner will then join the GSA Grand Finale where they will have the unique opportunity to showcase their solutions alongside some of the world’s top entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and ecosystem enablers.
In March 2023, two African startups were named Global Winners at last season’s Grand Finale hosted in Copenhagen. Competing against more than 120 companies from 115 countries, Ethiopian green-tech startup, Kubik, was recognised as ‘Startup of the Year’, while the Ugandan fintech, Emata, was proclaimed ‘Best Newcomer’.
African winners will also have the exclusive opportunity to engage with the Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG), the competition’s dedicated investment partner. Through its GIIG Africa Fund and the GIIG Africa Foundation, the organisation aims to find, fund and grow African solutions to globally relevant challenges.
Reflecting on this year’s regional winners, GSA Africa and GIIG co-founder,Jo Griffiths, said “With 233 finalists, Eastern Africa did not disappoint! Our panel of judges were blown away by the quality and diversity of solutions that are actively working to solve some of our greatest challenges. From the Comoros to Uganda, startups like Farmer Lifeline, NjordFrey, and Coffee Resurrect are proof that Africa is the tech continent of the future.”
Griffiths added that this year’s GSA Africa competition attracted 8,272 entries from all 54 African states, resulting in 71 regional winners across Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, and Central Africa, including twenty three African countries being represented in the line-up of regional winners.
The year-long competition saw entrants first compete at a national level before vying for their spot as a regional finalist. Winners were then decided by an independent panel of judges, offering a wholistic view of the African tech ecosystem.
Announcing the regional winners from GITEX Africa 2023 was GSA Africa and GIIG co-founder, Caitlin Nash,. “These winners represent the top startups in both their home country and region – and it’s all the more significant that we announce them here in Morocco. This competition is all about building global bridges between our continent’s most exceptional solutions and the people, markets and communities where they can make the most significant impact. In that vein, this event has been the ideal launch pad for these startup’s global ambitions, and we’re excited to help take them to the world.”