A partnership between Tiphub, an Africa-focused accelerator, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, hopes to help African entrepreneurial dreamers in the diaspora. Chinedu Enekwe is Tiphub’s executive director and co-founder. A Wall Street lawyer and investment banker, he became an analyst for U.S. President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative and the World Bank. Tiphub started in Washington, D.C. in 2014. Operating from Nigeria, it has provided an on-the-ground presence in West Africa. Through Tiphub, Enekwe supports African and diaspora entrepreneurs.
Diaspora Demo Day 2016 will give African startups an opportunity to pitch in front of U.S. investors and take part in a six-week program, the second time the event has taken place. First, potential entrepreneurs must apply. The application deadline is Aug. 31. Application screening teams will hold interviews Sept. 1 – Sept. 10. The chosen ones will be matched with a mentor, and there will be venture capitalist-led startup virtual workshops. A three-day summit Nov. 10 to Nov. 12 will include workshops and networking receptions at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.
Program participants will be able to pitch their idea to potential investors. In fact, the pitches will be in front of an audience of 300-plus angels, venture capital and impact investors, innovation enthusiasts, fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts, and a panel of judges for a chance to win an assortment of prizes. Diaspora Demo Pitch applications are open to people age 18 or older with a tech-enabled company based in, focused on or with one or more founders from Africa, the African diaspora or of African descent.There are other criteria. The startup cannot be older than 2 years. Any investment the startup has previously received cannot exceed $500,000. The startup must have a demonstrable product or service. Founders must be willing to pitch their idea on stage in English (or with a translator) and must be willing and able to obtain a U.S. visa. The program encourages startups in such sectors as health, education, job preparedness, smart energy, logistics, fintech, agritech or enabling marketplaces to apply.