#FastTrackTech supports West African incubators

1 December 2021
ITC News

By helping to turn a good idea into a successful project, incubators are essential tools for the economy and for innovation. But a poor understanding of the local market and a lack of entrepreneurial vision can make them fail. In West Africa, the #FastTrackTech project provides training for innovation hub managers in order to improve the quality of their support.

An online training for coaches

#FastTrackTech selected incubators from Mali and Côte d'Ivoire who responded to the training offer based on applications. For several weeks, the managers then followed an online course with Nadine Reichenthal, an expert in business development. The programme included all the tools needed to help a company better understand its customers' needs and adapt its value proposition accordingly: the empathy map, the value proposition canvas, the business model canvas, the SWOT analysis and the TOWS strategic model. Alternating theory, practical exercises and feedback rounds, Nadine Reichenthal provided the project managers with all the keys to improve their support. “The aim is to train local contact points, capable of guiding innovative companies through their ideation, incubation, growth and internationalisation stages. I provide them with proven methods and tools, so that they in turn can guide start-ups towards success,” states the consultant.


Better equipped hubs, better prepared start-ups

Diack Doumbia is project manager at the Impact Hub in Bamako. Every year, he monitors nearly 500 entrepreneurs in promising sectors such as renewable energies and agricultural technology. He is one of eight Malian and Ivorian candidates to have completed the training. He says: “I feel better equipped to help the start-ups understand their economic environment, to design their market study and even to raise funds. I will no longer coach in the same way. Previously, I delivered instructions. From now on, I will be able to help start-ups to come up with their own solutions.” This is precisely what has yet to be proven, since the training course includes a second coaching stage. Under the supervision of Nadine Reichenthal, Diack and the others will be asked to demonstrate their skills during a real-world coaching session. This is a prerequisite for obtaining the Business Coach certificate. After Mali and Côte d'Ivoire, the #FastTrackTech project plans to open the training to other countries in the sub-region. This will also be an opportunity to encourage the sharing of experience and to create collaboration opportunities between participants within the African Continental Free Trade Area.


They are on their way to getting their Business Coach certificate with #FastTrackTech:

  • Francis AKOTIA, Incub Ivoire, Abidjan
  • Aissata DICKO, Babylab, Abidjan
  • Guy-Roland KAKA, Incub Ivoire, Abidjan
  • Stéphane YAO, Incub Ivoire, Abidjan
  • Diakaridia DOUMBIA, Impact Hub, Bamako
  • Aly KOUMA, Donilab, Bamako
  • Douji MAIGA, freelance, Bamako
  • Salé SISSOKO, CreaTeam, Bamako
  Financed by Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands Trust Fund IV, the #FastTrackTech project is implemented by the International Trade Centre. Thanks to a targeted coaching and training offer as well as matchmaking with potential clients and investors, the #FastTrackTech project, since October 2019, is committed along-side digital entrepreneurs who aspire to international growth in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Mali, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.