Digital entrepreneurship in Burkina Faso: Four start-ups led by Orange Burkina Faso, through Orange digital hub

As part of its first “Orange Fab season #1” acceleration program, Orange Digital Center has selected four start-ups from ten others, which will now join a six-month acceleration program. The selection took place on Thursday, April 14, 2022 in Ouagadougou after a pitch.

Supporting start-ups to develop their businesses and build relevant products and services is the objective pursued by the Orange Digital Center in this first season of the Orange Fab. In fact, there were 70 candidates who responded to the call for proposals launched by the Orange digital center in February 2022. During the elimination phase, 25 candidates out of the 70 were selected, then another 15 were eliminated, leaving only 10 to compete in the final where the top three start-ups.

On Thursday, April 14, 2022, instead of three startups as planned, the 14-member jury finally selected four. These are the start-ups: Okalm, Legal Faso; E-bet equipment and AASS Africa that the general manager of Orange Burkina Faso describes as a favorite. Having convinced the jury of the relevance of their project during the five-minute pitches, the lucky winners each walked away with a check for 5 million CFA francs and a laptop worth 600,000 CFA francs. Thus, with this act begins a beginning of collaboration with Orange Burkina Faso. The initiative, according to Orange officials, aims to accelerate the growth of these companies.

Orange Burkina General Manager Mamadou Coulibaly praised the relevance of the various candidates’ projects.

The president of the jury, Maïmouna Sawadogo, congratulated all ten candidates for the relevance of the different projects. From her point of view, this is what made choosing the four winners more complex. “It wasn’t easy, but we had to make a choice,” she hinted at the moment of deliberation. For her, the selection was made taking into account several criteria. These include, among other things, the innovative nature of the solution; the maturity of the business; simplicity of use and the personality of the entrepreneur. “I am really impressed with the quality of your projects. And the relevance of the ideas gave us the embarrassment of the choice”, confided the president of the jury to the candidates. However, she wanted to encourage the six failed candidates by inviting them to always apply for the upcoming season, especially in 2023.

For Orange Burkina’s general manager, Mamadou Coulibaly, none of the ten candidates were unworthy; but the principle of the game was to retain four. He praised them for showing ingenuity in their designs. As first manager of telecommunications company Orange Burkina Faso, Mamadou Coulibaly reiterated his institution’s commitment to always support innovative projects within the framework of the Orange digital center. “Don’t give up, get ready for the next season. The pitches were excellent,” he concluded, acknowledging the determination of these start-ups.

Winners salute the Orange digital center initiative

Dieudonné Lankouandé is the promoter of Legal Faso. It is a solution of legal services, exclusively online collaborative between users and the legal system. In other words, it is a company that allows litigants to contact the actors in the judicial chain via the Internet. Officially created in October 2021, this company, according to its promoter, aims to democratize access to law, justice and the law. “It’s a way to get in touch with players in the legal world, if necessary, without having to travel,” explained his promoter. Through this collaboration with Orange Burkina Faso, he hopes to give his business a boost.

E. Pari equipment promoter Aïssata Derra receives her check

E-bet Equipamentos is a company that offers the facility to acquire goods and money for better living conditions and carry out projects through the online tontina mechanism. Its promoter Aïssata Derra saluted Orange Burkina Faso for the opportunity it offers her to boost her business. In terms of warranty, the person responsible for E-Pari’s equipment indicated that all measures are taken within its structure to avoid possible mishaps with subscribers. After a year of existence, the company plans to expand its network through collaboration with Orange.

Students, young graduates or not, can participate in this initiative; young entrepreneurs, unemployed, young people undergoing professional retraining in the digital domain.

In addition, this initiative is carried out by one of the three components of the Orange digital center, in particular, Orange Fab. The purpose of this component is to improve through a six-month season of accelerated training, coaching; the performance of these start-ups, to refine their business model, their productivity in order to build commercial partnerships at national and international level with the Orange group and the Orange Fab global network. The other two components of the Orange digital center are: the code school and the solidary Fablab.

The Orange digital center is an initiative of the Orange group, which benefits Burkina Faso, which aims to train and support young people to increase their employability in digital professions and strengthen digital entrepreneurship.

Serge Ika Ki

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