LIONS@FRICA was launched by public and private sector organizations that recognized the need for coordination and collaboration around Africa’s growing technology sector.  These Founding Partners are the LIONS working tirelessly to unleash Africa’s innovation potential. LIONS@FRICA also benefits from assistance from a variety of Supporting Partners that help to further our goal to deepen Africa’s innovation ecosystem. Finally, entrepreneurs are at the heart of everything we do and are the real LIONS. Learn more.

Founding Partners

United States Department of State
U.S. Department of State
The Secretary’s Office for Global Partnerships (S/GP) is the entry point for collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, the public and private sectors, and civil society. GPI aims to strengthen and deepen U.S. diplomacy and development around the world through partnerships that leverage the creativity, innovation, and core business resources of partners for greater impact. GPI collaborated closely with Bureau for African Affairs, Bureau of Ocean, Environment, and Science, and Bureau for Economic and Business Affairs’ Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) to develop and launch LIONS@FRICA.

Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN)

The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) is a year-round platform of programs and initiatives created by the communities that celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week each November. Aimed at creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem, GEN helps people in 150 countries unleash their ideas and turn them into promising new ventures—creating jobs, unearthing innovations for society and strengthening economic stability around the world.


The John Templeton Foundation

The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. We support research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. We encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights.

Microsoft Logo

Microsoft Corporation is a multinational information technology corporation that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of software products for computing devices. Microsoft has a strong presence in Africa with six Microsoft Innovation Centers in South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Botswana. Through its signature Microsoft BizSpark program, Microsoft supports over 600 African startups and has 188 Network Partners. Microsoft BizSpark Network Partners comprise organizations supporting Entrepreneurs: notably Enablis (Kenya), global partners Startup Weekend and some of the leading technology hubs/incubators.

African Development Bank
The overarching objective of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries (RMCs), thus contributing to poverty reduction. The Bank Group achieves this objective by mobilizing and allocating resources for investment in RMCs; and providing policy advice and technical assistance to support development efforts.


DEMO is a business unit of International Data Group that produces conferences twice a year in the U.S., Brazil, Asia, and China that serves as a launch pad for emerging technologies and trends from around the world. At each DEMO conference, a carefully selected group of companies are invited to launch products for the first time to a top tier audience of global press, investors, corporate acquirers, strategic partners and customers. Content from each conference is hosted on and syndicated throughout the world, generating tremendous exposure for each company. During DEMO’s 21-year history the conference has earned the reputation for consistently identifying innovations that are most likely to disrupt the markets they serve and change the way we use technology overall. DEMO is a powerful forcing function for companies; the platform can profoundly change the course of a company’s development and the technology landscape.

U.S. Agency for International Development
USAID is a U.S. Government agency that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) works with investors, local financial institutions, and development organizations to design and deliver investment alternatives that unlock financing in support of U.S. Government priorities.

nokia Nokia
Nokia is a global leader in mobile communications whose products have become an integral part of the lives of people around the world. Every day, more than 1.3 billion people use their Nokia to capture and share experiences, access information, find their way or simply to speak to one another. Nokia’s technological and design innovations have made its brand one of the most recognized in the world.


infoDev, a global partnership program in the Financial and Private Sector Development Network of the World Bank Group, supports growth-oriented entrepreneurs through creative and path-breaking venture enablers. It assists entrepreneurs to secure appropriate early-stage financing; convening entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, mentors and other stakeholders for dialogue and action. infoDev also produces cutting-edge knowledge products, closely linked to our work on the ground.

Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST)
The Department of State’s GIST initiative is funded by the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) and implemented by CRDF Global. As part of President Obama’s call for enhanced engagement globally through partnerships that address shared challenges, the GIST initiative forges links at the individual and institutional level among scientists, entrepreneurs, and the marketplace through opportunities focusing on networking, skill development, and financing. Through country-based partnerships and regional activities, GIST has engaged over 5,000 young tech- entrepreneurs across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Six GIST startup Boot Camps and second cycles of the GIST Technology Idea competition and GIST “I Dare” business plan competition are planned for the coming months. GIST’s partners include the MIT Enterprise Forum, technology incubators, and successful entrepreneurs such as Priceline co-founder and GIST advisory board member, Jeff Hoffman.


Business Action for Africa
Business Action for Africa has emerged as an innovative international platform for harnessing the collective energy of business in support of Africa’s development. We are a free-to-join network of businesses, business organizations and development partners, and together we work in three areas, we Advocate, Act, and Share.

Startup Weekend (SW)
Startup Weekends are 54-hour hands-on experiential events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! In 2011 alone Startup Weekend held 260 events in 243 different cities through 75 countries. Since inception, Startup Weekend has had 45,000+ people participate, who have collectively formed 5,000+ teams.


VC4Africa is the largest network of entrepreneurs, mentors, business angels, venture capitalists and impact investors building great companies on the continent. We connect top innovators with the information, knowledge and capital they need to realize their potential. We have members in 159 countries and support more than 2000 ventures gaining traction in over 40 African markets. As a community, we champion entrepreneurship as a key driver for the continent’s continued development.


Appfrica International
Founded in Kampala, Uganda, Appfrica International is an organization that sources and mentors young technologists, invests in technological ideas that will positively impact African cities and states, and highlights the success stories of African technologists. Appfrica creates opportunities for employment and self-employment that service the global economy. The goal of the organization is to bring business to the African region, exposing local technologists to the outside world (and the outside world to Africa’s talent) through local public and private sector partnerships. Its premier program, the Apps4Africa competition, aims to support African social entrepreneurs who use technology to solve societal problems, an initiative that allows grassroots innovators and technologists to share their ideas for solutions to local problems.

Business Fights Poverty
Business Fights Poverty
Business Fights Poverty is a vibrant community of individuals from business, the international donor community, non-government organisations and academia – all of whom share a passion for fighting poverty through business. Business Fights Poverty provides its members with targeted peer-to-peer engagement and hot-off-the-press, mission-critical knowledge.

Venture Hive

Venture Hive
Venture Hive exists to energize, educate, and cultivate entrepreneurs at three levels of engagement. Venture Hive Accelerator and Incubator programs focus on connectivity and guidance for entrepreneurs and startups to maximize regional economic development impact. The Venture Hive Prep and Venture Hive U programs foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the high school and university levels. We offer educational institutions and communities efficient and effective plug and play models to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem based on sound educational principals. Fore more info, visit

In just over three years since its launch, .CO has become one of the most successful global domain extensions in history, with close to 1.5 million web addresses registered by people and companies in over 200 countries – including Twitter (, Angel List ( ), 500 Startups ( and many others . From start-ups and small businesses to big brands and multinational corporations, .CO is increasingly becoming the web address of choice for innovators and entrepreneurs the world over. For more information about .CO, please visit – or follow us on Twitter @dotCO.

Supporting Partners

In addition to the Founding Partners, there are many Supporting Partners that are lending their expertise and advice to the LIONS@FRICA partnership.  These include:

African Growth Fund





Entrepreneurs are at the heart of everything we do through the LIONS@FRICA partnership. Any entrepreneur that has participated in a training, boot camp, competition, DEMOAfrica, or received assistance or support thanks to the LIONS@FRICA partnership is considered a LION. To date, there are over 3,000 LIONS and we look forward to continuing to grow this number in the future.