Village Capital

NextGen Ecosystem Builders Africa 2020


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About The Program

Village Capital and African Management Institute launch a management training program for the next generation of talent within entrepreneur support organisations in Africa.

Africa’s startup ecosystems have experienced incredible growth in recent years, driven in part by the rise of entrepreneur support organisations (ESOs) which encompass coworking spaces, accelerators, incubators, business advisory firms, markerspaces/fablabs and tech hubs. The number of active Tech Hubs has tripled from 200 in 2015 to more than 600 in 2019.

These organisations are critical to the success of Africa’s burgeoning entrepreneurship sector, providing entrepreneurs with business training, access to markets, networks and mentors, financial and social capital, and in-kind support. They are key to unlocking the pipeline of early-stage innovation in Africa, and driving investment and job creation across the continent.

However, these ESOs face their own barriers to sustainability and growth. As highlighted in Village Capital’s 2019 report Unlocking Pipeline, these barriers include talent attraction and retention, the ability to absorb increasing amounts of capital from donors, impact measurement, efficiency and productivity of internal operations, and time/budget to develop, test and enhance products and services. 

All of these challenges can be overcome through the vision and execution of a strong team, especially the mid-level managers who lead programs or departments and are responsible for the successful implementation of services/programs for entrepreneurs. These mid-level team members with the strategic guidance of strong leadership are the key to delivering exceptional outcomes at the organisational level. 

Currently, overstretched budgets and intense program schedules leave very little time to provide these critical team members with skill enhancement and professional development to overcome these barriers and deliver better outcomes to the entrepreneurs and enterprises they serve. 

Village Capital and African Management Institute, with support from the Dutch Good Growth Fund, have launched a management training program for the next generation of talent within entrepreneur support organisations in Africa. 

Program Overview

This management development program includes training on both technical skills and soft skills for participating mid-level team members and includes;

  • Understanding your ecosystem, target entrepreneurs and engaging stakeholders

  • Planning, executing and measuring the impact of a program/service for entrepreneurs

  • Professional and management skill development 

  • Developing a culture of performance 

  • A practical implementation project within your organisation 

  • Cost to attend in-person training and all learning resources for 2 team members 

Participants will also have the opportunity to connect with and learn from a network of peers and mentors across the continent, dedicated to the same vision of an integrated African ecosystem.

The program is designed to deliver impact at an organisational level. Although the training will be with the mid-level team members (department leads, partnerships, managers, incubator and accelerator managers, program managers) it will include significant input and time with at least one member of leadership (e.g. Managing Director, CEO, Founder/Co-Founder, COO) committing to support the team members throughout the program to deliver outcomes at an organisational level. 



This program is designed for ESOs that are ready for the next stage in their growth and see their mid-level managers as critical to unlocking this potential. As such, applications are reviewed at an organisational level with each organisation nominating 2 team members.* 

This program is best suited to entrepreneur support organisations (ESOs) coworking spaces, accelerators, incubators, business advisory firms, markerspaces/fablabs and tech hubs focused on supporting early-stage small and medium enterprises and/or startups. The ideal profile of ESO has been in operation for more than 2 years, have grown from co-founder/founder to 5+ employees including middle management (department leads, partnership managers, incubator and accelerator managers, program managers). ESO’s should have multiple lines of business or departments, raised funding, offer support programs and/or services for entrepreneurs and can demonstrate traction. Nominated participants should be managing their own department, line of business or program and directly manage or indirectly manage people to deliver results. 

The program will be offered in English and in French. Applications will be accepted in both languages. A basic level of English is required for logistics organising but facilitation and learning will be available in French for French speakers. 

Target Countries

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe

The Workshops

Learning Labs

We will select around 20 organisations, each will nominate 2 mid-level managers* to attend the training. We will host three learning labs: one in-person in Nairobi and two remotely. The dates are as follows:

  • Learning Lab 1 (virtual) : June 8-12

  • Learning Lab 2 (virtual) : week of July 27th 

  • Learning Lab 3: ( TBC) : Week of September 14th

The deadline to apply for this program is 30th January 2020.

*Expenses will be covered for the two nominated team members to attend the training including accommodation, flights and F&B. During the scoping of this program, some organisations expressed interest to send more than 2 members of their team. We are considering this and will provide an opportunity for those interested to indicate on their application form. Costs for additional team members would likely need to be covered by the ESO.

Advisory Board