Announcing the 2012 Cameroon Startup Challenge

{ Posted on May 07 2012 by Bill Zimmerman }

Fostering the growth of the VC4Africa community is central to the daily work that Ben and I do. In our travels and interactions with entrepreneurs in all corners of the continent, we’re also acutely aware of the need for early stage venture finance. Increasingly, new funds, niche firms and angels are testing the waters of investing in African tech. Despite this, many African markets remain underserved. The challenges are well understood: high costs of due diligence, lack of viable exits and so on.

We’ve kept Sanaga Ventures in standby mode over the last year while we refined our strategy. Ben and I are focused on markets and sectors we know well, and will offer not only seed finance but a package that includes the knowledge, network, mentorship and non-financial resources needed to give startups their best shot at success. Our end goal is to work closely with these founders to create an attractive opportunity for the investment community.

To start things off, we’re pleased to announce a Startup Challenge for Cameroon; a country and tech community that’s very close to us:

The competition offers a cash prize of USD $5,000 for the most innovative web, mobile or hardware-based business venture in Cameroon. As an additional benefit, the winning venture is eligible to be incubated at ActivSpaces, Cameroon’s leading technology hub, and receive ongoing support, oversight, services and mentoring. An awards ceremony will be held in Cameroon at the close of the challenge with the top three startups, participants, judges, invited guests, a video crew and local press. Entries will be accepted from May 7th – July 6th, 2012.

We’re very fortunate to have several of the top figures in Cameroon’s tech sector participating on the judging panel. Entry criteria, eligibility, success measures and all the details are available in the press release:

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I'm an engineer, ex-Microsoftie, founding board member of AfriLabs, co-founder of ActivSpaces in Cameroon and VC4Africa. Drawn to innovation, creativity & all things tech. More at