Impact Acceleration Program aims to support impact and mission-driven businesses scale. Our project will allow startups to overcome barriers and build sustainable solutions to environmental and social issues. By providing the necessary business development services, we will scale 14 startups enabling them to create decent jobs for the Sudanese youth.
Sudan is a very young country, with the youth representing a significant proportion of the workforce. However, according to the International Labour Organisation, the unemployment rate in 2019 was estimated at 31.45%. The scarcity of jobs and the lack of skills required by the market are the main reason behind the high unemployment rate.
At the same time, access to finance is a severe obstacle to business development, especially establishing start-ups. There is a lack of diverse financing options for small businesses, with the majority being grants, loans, and microfinance. Therefore, most companies kickstart through bootstrapping or borrowing money from family and friends. Entrepreneurs from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, especially women, are impacted the hardest by the lack of financing mechanisms.
However, with the proper financial assistance in place, entrepreneurship can play a crucial role in accelerating Sudan’s socio-economic development. Therefore, our project aims to close the gap in the financing stages for companies in Sudan.
Start-up accelerators are nowadays considered a highly effective way of providing venture support. Start-ups supported through accelerators have an approximately 23% higher survival rate than other new businesses. To increase start-ups’ success rate and help bridge the financing gap, 249Startups is collaborating with Sudan NextGEN to launch the Impact Acceleration Program. It is a 3-month mentorship-driven program that invests in start-ups and provides excellent resources to help entrepreneurs grow. The accelerator aims to catalyze the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sudan by creating viable opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to close their know-how gap, give them access to funding, network with industry specialists, and build their own companies. It seeks to support robust companies that develop value-adding products and services, create meaningful employment opportunities, generate revenue, and de-risk them for investors to ultimately contribute to the national economy.
We will invest in 14 revenue stage start-ups across two cohorts in exchange for equity and provide business development to create 478 decent jobs throughout the project duration.
CFYE’s grant will help us introduce the acceleration and equity investment-backed programs concept to the Sudanese ecosystem and increase the impact of already operating startups that not only create jobs but also ensure the existing ones are improved.
Therefore, both the technical and financial support from CFYE will be crucial to catalyzing our model. The financial support will enable us to share the initial costs and support the capacity-building part of the program in order to derisk the startups for a wider pool of Sudanese and regional investors in the post-acceleration phase. With the proper monitoring and control, this will increase startups’ success and survival rate and accelerate their growth.