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DAKAR, Senegal - SuguLab, a new platform to assist entrepreneurs in West Africa, has been launched. SuguLab will help startups identify potential investors, expand to new markets or raise financing.
SuguLab, a complementary entrepreneurial service that will be offered to start-ups and SMEs operating in West Africa, particularly Mali, Cote d'Ivoire and Sénégal, has officially been launched.
SuguLab will assist companies that are legally registered, that have a minimum of two years of existence and have an innovative business model with strong job creation potential that aims to provide a solution for the poor.
Focus will be on SME's with founders aged 40 and below, that are confronted to a specific challenge.
SuguLab was launched by Suguba, a Malian-based regional platform that fosters entrepreneurship and regional integration. Suguba aims to become the first sustainable, regionally connected network of locally-run communities, workspaces and programs.
Suguba co-founder Issam Chleuh said, "Suguba's vision is to support and scale the impact of SMEs and entrepreneurs across Francophone West Africa."
Entrepreneurs and SMEs in West African countries such as Mali, Senegal and Cote d'Ivoire, play a pivotal role in driving economic growth, creating jobs, and engineering solutions, to various development challenges. However, there is a lack of access to expertise, advisory support, networks, and financial resources needed to start new ventures.
The key gap is sustainability and replicability of the SMEs while at the same time, capacity-building services for SMEs in the region are scarce and rarely sustainable.
More money is flowing into impact investing, yet many entrepreneurs creating companies that serve the poor, still find it difficult to raise capital and reach specific operational objectives. Also, out of the $366m that African start-ups raised in 2016, only 10% went to Francophone countries. Suguba intends to close this gap by launching SuguLab.
Through SuguLab, one of the Suguba co-founders will personally work with entrepreneurs to assist them reach their business objective over a period of six months. Suguba co-founder, Fayelle Ouane, added, "We will use our deep investor network, our investing experience and our general management experience to enable you to accelerate your performance."
"Once we receive your specific goal and gather initial information about your company, we will develop a targeted and personalised program for you. We will be available to interact regularly to follow up on the plan we will have developed and check on progress. The collaboration will end once the milestone has been reached."
Zabbaan from Mali and Aywajieune from Senegal are the first two start-ups participating in SuguLab.
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