BIC Africa Annual Gathering 2023: Promoting shared learning. Driving innovative startups!

BIC Africa Annual Gathering 2023: Promoting shared learning. Driving innovative startups!

The BIC Africa Annual Gathering 2023 (#BICAfrica2023) took place on the 26th of October 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya, with a theme of “Promoting shared learning. Driving innovative startups!” This year’s event, co-hosted by the BIC Somali project in partnership with UNIDO Somalia, brought together over 100 participants from the country projects: Angola, Comoros, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Somalia, Kenya, and participants from Europe.   

The event was officially opened by Eduin Matta Castillo from the European Commission. After welcoming the participants he introduced the programme’s components, provided an overview of the Annual Gathering, and highlighted the level of commitment and the work done by the regional network, the country projects and participating business incubators. Ygor SCARCIA from UNIDO Somalia, as the Somali Programme Representative, also welcomed the participants and shared that BIC Somali is delighted to co-organise this year’s BIC Africa Annual Gathering 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya, in partnership with EBN. He also commended that the Annual Gathering is an excellent opportunity for the BIC Somali programme, implemented by UNIDO Somalia, and for the Somali business incubators to network, share experiences, success stories, and lessons in driving innovation, and better supporting the Somali startup ecosystem and doing business.

Eduin Matta Castillo from the European Commission during the opening remark
Ygor SCARCIA from UNIDO Somalia welcomed the participants

In the first part of the programme, the BIC Africa project was presented by Robert Sanders, Team Leader of BIC Africa at EBN, followed by two panel discussions. The first panel focused on the country projects whereby the EU Delegation representatives and the implementing partners presented the state of play of their respective programmes. On the second panel, moderated by Adolfo Cires, Magdaline CHEPKEMOI from countrywide hubs, Dennis KASUKU from FCA Investments, David CHEBORYOT from ASSEK, and Ian Lorenzen from GrowthAfrica shared about the intricacies of Kenya’s vibrant Entrepreneurial and Innovation Ecosystem, including its strengths and challenges.

L to R: Benoît Larielle from EUD to Somalia, Linda ESTRELA TAIMO from IFC Africa – Angola, Oliver Petzoldt from BIC Ethiopia, Ebe Muschialli from UNIDO – APILE Comoros, Murielle Lesales from EU Delegation to Madagascar, Jamila Hagi from BIC Somali and Robert Sanders from BIC Africa.
L to R; Ian Lorenzen from GrowthAfrica, David CHEBORYOT from ASSEK, Magdaline CHEPKEMOI from countrywide hubs, Dennis KASUKU from FCA Investments, and Adolfo Cires from EUD in Kenya

The second part began with the third panel session where the participants delved into the Somali Ecosystem: Challenges and Opportunities including the existing legal or regulatory framework and the financial products, under which the business incubators operate. On this panel, moderated by Najib Abdi AbdirizakAbdikadir Ali from IBS Bank, IBS Bank, Mahamoud Muhumed IBRAHIM from Har Hub, Mohamed Muse HASSAN from SIMAD iLab, Mohamed Abdikadir ABDULLE from iRise Hub and Robert Sanders took the stage. The panel was also joined by Muhiyadin Aweis YUSUF from Deegaan Design and Visualization and Yusuf Abdirahman HASSAN Somali Dried Fruit Snacks, incubatees from the BIC Somali project who presented their startups and how they got support for their startups through the project.

L to R: Najib Abdi from UNIDO Somalia, Abdikadir Ali from IBS Bank, Mohamed Muse Hassan from SIMAD iLab, Mahamoud Batalaale from HarHub, Mohamed Abdikadir ABDULLE from iRise Hub, and Robert Sanders from BIC Africa

The last panel with all women speakers, moderated by Krisztina Dax, zoomed on BIC Africa’s Acceleration Programme for Women Entrepreneurs. In this panel, three Alumni of the Acceleration Programme, Afomia Andualem from Ethiopia, Anazra Mohamed from Comoros, and Wacheke Mwangi from Kenya shared their entrepreneurial journey and experience with the acceleration programme. In addition, Danielle Anderson from Step & Stone Consultancy Limited, who was the coach in the Acceleration programme, shared many interesting reflections and highlights from the previous editions, especially why such a programme is very important for young women entrepreneurs to tackle the challenges in starting and running a business and their different needs compared to male founders. The discussions covered a range of vital subjects to support Women in Entrepreneurship and inspiration to those who are early on in their entrepreneurial aspirations. Furthermore, it opened many interesting new insights as well as reflections for the future visions of our Acceleration programme implementation.

L to R: Wacheke Mwangi from Drips Purified Drinking Water – Kenya, Anazra Mohamed from Comoros Moringa, Afomia Andualem from Agelgil Eco-Packaging – Ethiopia, Danielle Anderson from Step & Stone Consultancy, and Krisztina Dax from BIC Africa

This 2nd edition of the Annual Gathering sparked many thought-provoking discussions, and the participants had an opportunity to connect with other stakeholders and enthusiasts, exchange insights and lay the foundation to explore strategic partnerships for future potential collaborations and leverage unique mutual understanding. This was one of the key outcomes of the gathering.

The event showcased the role of regional collaborations and facilitated exchanges in the innovation and entrepreneurship arena to overcome the challenges faced by the business incubator communities today to support current and future entrepreneurs (with a focus on youth and women). Finally, we had an exciting networking reception – what a great gathering!

We would like to thank our phenomenal speakers, moderators, BIC Somali – UNIDO Somalia, the implementing partners of the Country projects, and the EU delegations of Angola, Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, and Somalia, for making the BIC Africa Annual Gathering 2023 (#BICAfrica2023) an event to remember!

A special gratitude to everyone who took part in person and online, in what was an amazing day! We would like to thank our financial partner European Union as always for their support in making this and our other events possible. We can’t wait to share what we have in store for you for the third edition in 2024 (#BICAfrica2024) in Madagascar.

Finally, a special shoutout to our amazing team who did a great job. We couldn’t be prouder of the dedication and hard work shown.

We look forward to the 2024 edition and continued collaboration with our growing BIC Africa community. 

For more information, visit the official BIC Africa website:


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