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In the quest for sustainable development, there is a need for collaboration across public, private and social-impact sectors to enhance growth and positive change. Do it Now Now's initiative, AfriTech XYZ is dedicated to bridging these sectors, and connecting African start-ups with mentors and experts in the UK and US.
To help achieve this, AfriTech XYZ has partnered with globally renowned legal firm Hogan Lovells, to provide pro bono legal advice to a group of award-winning African social entrepreneurs as part of Hogan Lovells (HL) BaSE Catalyst. The programme delivered a workshop to four innovative tech start-ups across Africa, providing them pro bono legal advice to support them in tackling some of the most pressing challenges we face today, including employment, food security, and biodiversity loss.
Hogan Lovells is an American-British law firm co-headquartered in London and Washington, D.C. It is a top 10 global legal services, and was listed within Forbes' list of America's Top Trusted Corporate Law Firms 2019.
For more information on the collaboration and its impact, visit here.
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Afritech XYZ is running a Clean Energy Tech Innovation Prize with Lion’s Head Global Partners | Announcement
We are pleased to announce that we are working with Lion’s Head Global Partners to highlight and support some of the most innovative early-stage clean energy startups coming out of Sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of this partnership is to assist Africa’s clean energy tech entrepreneurs in achieving their full potential, to empower diverse perspectives to contribute to the international discussion of Net Zero and the Extinction Rebellion and to spotlight the development of globally relevant innovative technology from African startups.
Over the past 5 years, Afritech XYZ has successfully collaborated with the UN World Food Programme, British Council, International Trace Centre, international investors, Amazon, Google, Hogan Lovells and others to effectively support African tech entrepreneurs.
After researching the needs of African tech entrepreneurs we recognised that two of the key elements missing in the support ecosystem available to them is publicity and direct links to expertise, locally and internationally. Our Innovation Prize allows us to select a small group of startups (5) that have the potential to solve a pan-African or global problem and provide them with access to experts and opportunities that will challenge them to think bigger, build quicker and more sustainably. Through the prize, we also offer a small amount of cash to the winner (£1000) to help them build out their innovative technology even further. This prize is happily partnered with Lion’s Head Global Partners.
Established in 2008, Lion’s Head Global Partners is a leading investment banking and asset management firm bringing innovative financial solutions to emerging and frontier markets, with a specific focus on Africa and the Middle East. Regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and UAE’s Dubai Financial Services Authority, they provide investment management, financial advisory and capital raising services across multiple sectors and geographies. With offices in London, Nairobi, Lagos, New York and Dubai, they leverage their local market understanding and global investor networks, to deliver the best financial solutions to their client's diverse challenges. They combine a ‘client-first’ culture with a long term sustainability mindset to deliver outstanding products and services, whilst upholding the highest professional and ethical standards.
The Lion’s Head Asset Management team provides fund management services to partner DFIs, impact and institutional investors. They currently manage four pioneering funds, including three Africa-focussed, clean energy orientated funds, the Off-Grid Energy Fund (OGEF), the Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI) and Africa GoGreen (AGG). They now have over US$550 million of assets under management with investments in 18 African countries, giving them unique insights into local market activity. They are also creating a new jointly-owned venture fund that invests in fast-growing, tech-enabled businesses across Africa. Their Investment Banking group provides bespoke financing solutions and skilled transaction execution to sovereign, corporate, donor and public sector clients across a wide variety of key sectors, including healthcare, technology, infrastructure, power & energy, financial services and sustainable finance.
Our mission with Afritech XYZ is to support tech startups to ensure that they are closing the skills and opportunity gaps that will ensure the forward movement of their innovative startups through effective mentorship based training programmes. Our last cohort of finalists has gone on to build significant relationships with investors in the UK and USA. The cohort of finalists before them have gone on to raise more than £3M in funding to develop their startups further. This partnership with Lion’s Head Global Partners has the potential to transform the trajectories of our finalist startups in just a few months.
Our upcoming Clean Energy Tech Innovation prize will run between August 15th and November 15th 2021.
The startup criteria
To register your interest in the Innovation Prize, please fill in this form. By September 15th, 2021.
To find out more about Lion’s Head Global Partners please visit their website or connect with them on LinkedIn.
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The exceptionally difficult challenges that pervaded 2020 further highlighted the importance of our work as demand continued to rise and the depth of support needed became more and more apparent with each passing day.
As an organisation, we are committed to the empowerment of Black people and this year we have hit the ground running on the mandate. We have continued to make strides in our mission to deliver the best support we can to the people most in need of our help within the Black community and the Black-led organisations that have more immediate access and understanding of the local issues that may compound and intensify their specific needs.
The following is a roundup of our work over the last quarter. 2021 has been an exciting year so far, with over 2000 unique individuals receiving at least 1 hour of training support either in a group setting or through a 1-2-1. Approximately 10% of them received more than 3 hours of support and 6.5% of them received more than 6 hours of support.
As part of our mandate to continually empower Black people, we have continued championing the causes of Black communities by empowering individuals within those local communities to speak up and trust us to convey the message clearly.
Our community members have lent their voices to key reports and articles that helped us realise the severity of funding support needed by Black-led charities and social enterprises who self-fund approximately 60% of the money they spend on keeping their organisation available to their communities. Black women, Black LGBTQ+ and Black non-binary people shared theri stories of fear and trauma with us when we asked them about their experiences of policing in the UK.
We continue to actively engage in open innovation by bringing community members together in focus groups that are enriching for them and helpful for us as we continue our community-first approach to co-production of all our community offerings.
2021 Q1 Impact Summary
Here are a couple of quotes from our community members:
"Thank you very much for your time and expertise. It's the best financial advice I've received so far - I feel much better and can see a path to success - I've already been singing your praises! Keep up the good work Caroline. It makes such a difference. I'll definitely pay it forward." - a community member after a 1-2-1 with one of our expert financial coaches.
“This session helped reinforce my need to focus on strategy. It's easy to get stuck in the day to day but it's important to have a birds eye view, in addition to having input from your beneficiaries and partners. Then using that data to create a long term plan that keeps you focussed. This is one of my core priorities at the moment. Thank you to Ugo and the team for a great Core 1 programme.” - a community member who leads a social enterprise after a group training session about Strategy
We are so encouraged by the feedback and in-session comments made by our community members.
Commenting on the impact the innovation programmes are having, our Head of Innovation, Caroline Komuhangi shares: “The recruitment of participants across our programmes has been steady, with increased uptake in the My Moon Landing and Black and Good programmes. The coaching sessions have been a hit with the participants and there is a lot of interest in follow up sessions. In addition, we are thankful to the high calibre of experts that have joined us so far this year. We’re looking forward to growing our participation levels in the next quarter.”
Our external training and consultancy work has also been growing over the last few months. Recognition for our work in the open innovation and social impact space has led to training and consultancy contracts with a number of organisations including:
At this point in our financial year, which begins in October of each year, we have secured £1.03M in total funding to support our community and develop stronger mechanisms to sustain our impact and growth in the coming years. Our major funders include:
Ana Bradley, our Director of Digital Communications shares: “In Q1, our goal was to grow the communities of the DiNNHQ core programmes, primarily through organic reach. We successfully grew our digital community by 4,350 people, achieved 650,000 impressions, and maintained a good engagement rate of 2% across organic campaigns. In the first 3 months of 2021 alone, we have engaged with 12,382 people online (likes, follows, comments, retweets).”
Ana continues, “We’re continually evaluating our strategies so that we can engage with each specific community through their platform of choice. For example, we discovered that some target users prefer YouTube, others use Twitter more and some use a combination of platforms. Our goal in Q2 is to grow our audience as well as engagement rates, while continuing to share the opportunities available on our programmes with potential and existing users.”
During Q1, we wrote and shared a number of blog posts across each program, including reactive comments on key news stories such as the Race Report, the murder of Sarah Everard (thoughts on safety from our My Moon Landing community) and many others.
Do it Now Now was also featured in a number of articles and reports, allowing us to add our voice to the wider conversation on social justice and inclusion for the Black community. In Q1 we were featured by:
In the past few months we have grown significantly, going far beyond the figures stated above. We have significantly strengthened our relationship with our community members, we have continued and strengthened our organisational culture and we have clarified the vision for this organisation in a post-pandemic world, committed to growing our impact with breadth and depth, sensibly and boldly.
We are truly grateful to each individual that has trusted us with their story, their time and their own expertise as they support us and each other.
We’ll report again at the end of Q2.
Sign up to our newsletter to receive that and other reports, learnings, articles and insights we share about our community.
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A word from Bayo Adelaja, CEO
So much has changed across the world over the past year. As an inequality focused organisation we have seen a significant rise in the need for our services, support and advocacy for the demographic of people we centre in our work, namely Black people.
We continue to be very grateful to our key partners and clients who have financially supported our work and provided access points for our beneficiaries to gain even more support than we are able to provide as a single organisation.In keeping with our belief in open innovation, we are happy to have a network of stakeholders that have seen the need for the deliberate and continued support of the Black community in the UK and across Africa.
2019-20 has been a learning year for our organisation, in terms of what we need to do for our beneficiaries, but in light of COVID, also what we need to do to ensure our organisation’s continued sustainability financially and as a deliverer of impact across under-served communities.
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Thanks to research carried out by key players of the African tech ecosystem, GSMA, VC4A, Orange Digital Ventures, Techcabal and Briter Bridges over the past year, we have finally been able to put numbers to anecdotal evidence we've been collecting for years. Some of the key finding of the year have been:
Of the Africa-based, VC-backed startup founders that have raised over $100K:
With this information in mind, we sought to discover the difference between these funded founders and the African born, raised and educated founders not yet in receipt of funding.
We carried out our own research and found that the overarching barrier is access.
With this in mind, we created AfriTech XYZ; a program that supports high potential, early-stage startups across 6 African countries through an individualised mentorship program supported by skilled volunteers around the world. Here's a quick snapshot of our volunteer community:
Much more news to come on the progress of this program in 2020, but we believe we’ve stumbled on something that could significantly impact the African tech ecosystem and allow for a stronger, more effectively supported pipeline of startups to grow out of the continent.
In Africa, we support the democratisation of access to key opportunities and information that will catalyse the growth of startups and their ability to get funded. We’re working to ensure that we can bridge as many of those gaps as possible through the AfriTech XYZ program.
Subscribe to the AfriTech XYZ newsletter for more information on the work we're doing with tech entrepreneurs across Africa - www.afritech.xyz
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2019 has been an amazing year, full of challenges and milestones in equal measure. We want to share the successes with you, especially as without you as our champions and invaluable support network, this journey would have been so much more difficult.
Now, as 2019 draws to a close we look back at what our incredible community has accomplished in the UK and Africa.
We’re building an organisation that supports underserved, predominantly black, people across the world to create better lives for themselves and their communities.
2019 began with a mission to think big in order to affect growth. In conversation with some of our fantastic champions over the past few months, I was driven to consider the opportunity an organisation like Do it Now Now can provide for BAME groups worldwide.
I learned that we needed to:
In the UK, we’ve been focusing our work on helping to reduce social and economic inequality within the black community. The statistics below spur us to redress the balance in equality:
Through initiatives like Black and Good (our support of black social entrepreneurs) and Moon Landing (our support of black female and non-binary local community leaders), we’re contributing to a world in which black people can gain the tools and resources needed to effectively impact the structures that affect the mobility of all of our lives on a daily basis. We’re grateful to have been funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to do this.
Empowering African founders to unlock growth potential in their communities
We also learned the following about Africa-based, VC-backed startup founders that have raised over $100K:
From this information, we created AfriTech XYZ; a program that supports high potential, early-stage startups across 6 African countries through an individualised mentorship program supported by skilled volunteers around the world. Our initial cohort has gone extremely well:
We are extremely excited and incredibly humbled by the interest of this group of truly wonderful people in something we created.
Much more news to come on the progress of this program in 2020, but I think we’ve stumbled on something that could significantly impact the dearth of the African tech ecosystem and allow for a stronger, more effectively supported pipeline of startups to grow out of the continent.
In Africa, we want to support the democratisation of access to key opportunities and information that will catalyse the growth of startups and their ability to get funded. We’re working to ensure that we can bridge as many of those gaps as possible through the AfriTech XYZ program.
Thank you for your support in 2019, we hope to continue receiving your support in 2020.