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Africa-India: Building a Start-Up Bridge Workshop

While India is a leading “Start-up Nation”, African nations are gearing up to become the next frontier for emerging technologies. When considering scaling, entrepreneurs are often faced with the question of whether to scale their businesses into new surrounding markets or enter emerging international markets.


This month in the TechTribe Community, we took a deep dive into how African Startups can scale their businesses and access new markets on the continent and beyond.

On Tuesday the 20th of April we hosted the India-Africa: Building a Start-up Bridge Masterclass with Startup Réseau, an Indian-based accelerator. The masterclass hosted by Ajay Ramasubramaniam, CEO of Startup Réseau showcased the great potential for African start-up’s to enter the Indian market.

Ajay took us through some of the history of the ecosystems and how similar the African and Indian perspectives are.  According to Ajay, “Africa and India are natural partners in more than one way, not today or yesterday but for several decades. And the opportunities are immense across different industries.”

One of the specific objectives of Africa’s Digital Transformation Strategy is to enable an additional 300 million people in Africa to come online by 2025.

Here are 4 key reasons why Indian start-ups should look at entering the African market:

  1. Mega Cities
  2. Consumerization
  3. Connected Cities
  4. Ecosystems


An extract from The Citizen in October 2020, “It is estimated that the systems churn out between 600 000 and 800 000 graduates every year. These include university graduates graduating from tertiary and technical institutions, against available 50 000 job vacancies. Some stay as long as three years waiting for formal employment.” Ajay emphasized that the only ways to solve this problem is to create policies or frameworks that are in favour of supporting entrepreneurs because this will not only eradicate unemployment but also redefine the future of many economies.

India is poised to become the 3rd largest economy by 2034.

For African start-ups who want to enter India, here is a 5-point strategy to consider:

  1. Can you rapidly acquire knowledge about local markets, players, preferences, and ways of doing business?
  2. Are you prepared to fundamentally rethink and adapt your products to be relevant to underserved Indians and their local context?
  3. Are you prepared to think of smart ways to reach rural populations with lower literacy levels, poor internet connectivity and significant language barriers?
  4. How much will it cost to apply to obtain licenses to operate and comply with local regulatory requirements?
  5. What partnership models would work best to facilitate your market entry, gain local knowledge and scale?


Rodgers Mbaga, CEO and MD of Phimona Ltd from Tanzania commented, “My view as far as Tanzanian ecosystem is concerned, to start with it would be easier for African start-ups to join hands with Indian start-ups that are solving similar problems and work together and share experience from both markets and see how they can make money as partners.”

Missed the workshop? Watch it here:


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