Senegal's AI tech makes a splash at VivaTech
The 2023 edition of VivaTech gave Senegalese start-ups an opportunity to make their mark in the booming field.
It can simplify repetitive tasks, analyze big data or offer users virtual or conversational assistance. Artificial intelligence is everywhere, and everyone's talking about it, especially at VivaTech. Dedicated to the technologies that are shaping the world, this year's VivaTech brought together nearly 150,000 participants, 2,800 exhibitors and 12,000 start-ups from 174 countries. Supported by the NTF V program, a delegation of Senegalese companies took part in this record-breaking trade show to showcase their innovations. Spotlight on two of them.
LENGO: Africa’s largest consumer goods database
Dakar-based start-up LENGO uses artificial intelligence to help small Senegalese retailers optimize their business operations and boost their revenues. Unique in its field, the solution combines voice recognition, image analysis and chatbot technology to collect sales data from stores and formulate marketing advice for retailers.
At the same time, information is fed back to the food industry, enabling them to improve their supply strategy. In just a few months, the solution has already won over several thousand retailers and more than 20 Senegalese manufacturers. By the end of the year, LENGO hopes to raise $1 million to export its platform beyond Senegal's borders. For Roger-Xavier Macia, managing director of LENGO, VivaTech provided a unique opportunity to meet more than a dozen investors.
‘Our solution seeks to connect the informal economy with technology. It's free of charge, and positioned as a day-to-day ally, helping traders to make their businesses more profitable. Our short-term goal is to cover 20% of the 50,000 stores in Senegal.’
CONCREE: freedom through entrepreneurship
The ADIA solution, from Senegalese start-up CONCREE, offers any project owner a genuine seed capital plan to launch their business. Based on ChatGPT, artificial intelligence creates a market study, a business model and a financing plan to compare the initial idea to the real world. ADIA’s potential to save valuable time caught many eyes at VivaTech.
‘According to the African Development Bank, 22% of Africa's working population is involved in entrepreneurship. This is the highest rate in the world,’ said Babacar Birane, CEO of CONCREE. ‘ADIA has been designed to enable Africans, and more broadly entrepreneurs across the globe, to maximize their chances of starting their own business.’
VivaTech was the perfect opportunity to put the tool to test. The feedback is very promising: over 1,000 entrepreneurs, incubators, investors and international partners have registered on the waiting list, to ensure they do not miss the official launch of the tool on 27 July.
About the programme
The Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF) (July 2021 – June 2025) is based on a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and the International Trade Centre. The programme supports MSMEs in the digital technologies and agribusiness sectors. Its ambition is two-fold: to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable transformation of food systems, partially through digital solutions, and drive the internationalization of tech start-ups and export of IT&BPO companies in selected Sub-Saharan African countries.