Seedstars Programs in 2020: Resilience and Adaptation


Seedstars Programs in 2020: Resilience and Adaptation

Seedstars Global

FEBRUARY 3, 2021

Looking retrospectively at 2020, it was probably one of the most historical years in our lifetimes. We at Seedstars will surely remember it as the year of unprecedented challenges, readapted plans and many, many Zoom calls.



While our company has always been a global and remote organization since inception, the difficulties of COVID-19 have affected everyone, sparing none, and have taught us a great deal of things we weren’t even aware we needed to know.

All in all, 2020 was about going fully online, especially with our Seedstars World competition, finding new tech solutions to stay close from a far, and rediscovering a human angle in the midst of unforeseen circumstances, finding solace in spite of difficulties and coming to terms with the new reality.

Here’s an overview of the programs we ran during the year:

  • Expansion Program (Colombia)
  • Emprendeton (Colombia)
  • Power Up (Peru)
  • CAF (Latam)
  • Seedstars Academy (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Triple Jump Accelerator (Tanzania)
  • UNICEF Academy Lagos (Nigeria)
  • #AfricaVsVirus Hackathon (Africa)
  • Investment Readiness Program (Africa)
  • Gender Equity Track (Africa)
  • Migration Entrepreneurship Prize (Africa and Middle East)
  • Anjal Z Growth Program (UAE)
  • Climate Innovation Labs (Africa and Asia Pacific)
  • Investment Readiness Program (Asia Pacific)
  • Migration Challenge by the IOE (Global)

Programs in Latin America

Expansion Program (Colombia)

Partners: MinTIC y APPS.CO

The Colombia Expansion Program was a 15-week free and virtual acceleration program powered by the MinTIC, APPS.CO that included 15 Colombian ventures wanting to expand their business to international markets.

The selected ventures went through an innovative capacity-building program during which they participated in specialized workshops and bootcamps on the topics of immersion in new markets, growth methodologies, and business pitching. In addition, they had access to a toolkit, (including tools such as:, JazzHR, Cap Table, FB Ads etc.) and participated in online events with CEOs and experts across the LATAM region.

Out of all the teams, seven ventures were chosen to continue in the final phase of the program, during which they continued to explore the topic of softlanding in order to facilitate their entry to new markets. Each venture identified the country they would expand into from Colombia, and they included Mexico, Peru and the United States (specifically Florida).


The Colombia Expansion Program was run fully online thanks to the execution of the Seedstars team.


Partners: Innpulsa

The Emprendeton Program powered by Innpulsa and executed by Seedstars in alliance with Centro de Innovación. More than 3,000 early stage endeavors trained to strengthen their business models and help them find product/market fit and growth. From these endeavors, the 30 with the highest potential passed through a pre-acceleration process where they received specialized workshops and one-to-one mentorship to take their businesses to the next level.


The participants of the Emprendeton program which took place fully online.

GoGlobal Chile (Peru)

Partners: ProChile and Corfo

GoGlobal Chile was a 7-week acceleration program powered by ProChile and Corfo for Chilean ventures interested in expanding their business into the Peruvian market. Six teams were selected to participate and learn about the Peruvian market, legislation and business culture, while being given the opportunity to establish connections with key stakeholders within the Peruvian entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Participants of the GoGlobal Chile program on a Zoom call.

Power Up (Peru)

Partners: Power Up Peru

Power Up was a program organized for members of Seedspace Lima, the coworking entrepreneurship hub by Seedstars in Peru, with the goal of reinforcing business growth and entrepreneurial capabilities. The curriculum revolved around four topics:

  • B2B Sales
  • Growth and Expansion
  • Digital Marketing
  • Organizational Culture

The format of delivery included online workshops, Q&A sessions with specialists, mentor support and investor mapping, as well as networking sessions with corporate partners.


Power Up Peru saw the participation of 15 companies for the entire duration of the program.

CAF (Corporación Andina de Fomento -“Development Bank of Latin America”) - Laboratory of Financial Inclusion (LIF 2020)

Partners: Ventures Accelerator - Google for Startups, Endeavor Colombia and CAF (Development Bank of America)

The Development Bank of Latin America, also known as Corporación Andina de Fomento, organized the first edition of the Laboratory of Financial Inclusion together with Google for Startups’ Venture Accelerator, Endeavor Colombia and Seedstars. Consisting in an acceleration program for ventures addressing the COVID-19 crisis, its goal was to drive the creation of viable technology solutions to help meet public and private sector needs arising from the crisis. It tackled areas such as financial inclusion of vulnerable groups and financial inclusion with impact on productivity.

After 233 startups applying to the LIF 2020 of CAF - Development Bank of Latin America, 11 startups were selected. We are gladly accelerating in 2021 the great winning teams from Mexico -, Colombia - and Peru - Through workshops, group mentoring and 1: 1 sessions with our global mentors plus investor meetings with our Latam network, we aim to support them in creating impact all over the region.


A Zoom session with the participants of the CAF program.

Programs in Africa

Triple Jump Accelerator (Tanzania)

Partners: Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF)

The Seedstars Tanzania Acceleration Program was split into two different batches, Batch 1 (September to December 2019) and Batch 2 (May to July 2020). Batch 1 was a physical program done at Seedspace Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. It comprised 6 ventures from Tanzania, Botswana and Uganda. This was an equity-based accelerator with investments into all 5 graduating ventures. A total of $132,500 was invested in the form of cash and in-kind investments, with more than 60% being cash investment.

Batch 2 was conducted in a virtual format due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It consisted of 7 ventures. This was also an equity-free accelerator with a total of $20,000 allocated as prize money awarded to the top performing ventures. A total of $14,000 disbursed to all ventures as a marketing research budget.

Tanzania accelerator program

Participants of the first batch of the Tanzania Accelerator Program.

UNICEF Academy Lagos (Nigeria)

Partners: UNICEF Nigeria

UNICEF Nigeria sought the services of Seedstars to support a cohort of young people aged 14-24 through a 2.5 month mentoring and incubation phase as part of the Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge. The challenge, which focused on innovative scalable ideas in education, ended with the selection of the 5 best winning teams who were each awarded $1,000 USD for their idea which was disbursed and managed by Seedstars.

The Challenge aimed to encourage youth in countries around the world, including Nigeria, to identify the causes of various problems within their respective communities and to come up with creative local ideas for potential scaling. Five winning teams in Nigeria received support and mentorship including a grant of $1,000 USD each to further develop their ideas into a project. Additionally, two of the most promising ideas had the opportunity to join the global judging process in 2020, with a chance to win one of the 4 prizes (of $10,000) for teams whose members are 18 and under, and 4 prizes (of $20,000) for teams whose members are 19 and over.

Seedstars Academy (Côte D’Ivoire)

Partners: Youth Employment Agency

The Seedstars Academy program in partnership with the Youth Employment Agency provided training for 40 entrepreneurs across 12 different sectors in Côte d’Ivoire. Based on intensive bootcamps and 1-on-1 mentorship, the participants worked through the idea phase of their business to design and test their minimum viable product with the objective of defining their target market and solidifying their business model. The overall program aimed to create more jobs in the ecosystem and boost economic activity through business creation.

Seedstars Academy in Côte d’Ivoire1

The participants of the Seedstars Academy in Côte d’Ivoire.

#AfricaVsVirus Hackathon (Africa)

Partners: African Development Bank (AFDB)

On the 17th - 19th of April 2020, The African Development Bank’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, working closely with the Youth Entrepreneurship & Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund hosted a 72 hour Ideathon with partners (Seedstars; digital agency, WAAT and development consultants, Luvent Consulting) to create tech and non-tech solutions to tackle some of the most pressing challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

In an attempt to slow down the spread of the coronavirus and to flatten the curve of infections, governments worldwide have imposed isolation and social distancing measures that make it impossible to continue with face-to-face collaborative processes. #AfricaVsVirus created an online platform in order to promote the fast and innovative co-creation of solutions to help African countries address some of their most pressing issues.


Investment Readiness Program

Partners: GIZ

In 2020, the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) together with the Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) launched an Investment Readiness Program for African AgriTech and FoodTech Startups. The objective of the program was to scale digital innovations developed by African ventures and to enable their users in the agricultural or food sector to increase their income. A group of selected ventures were provided access to 6 months of fully-funded support for company development. As part of the training, the program included virtual coaching and training sessions with experienced growth managers from the Seedstars team tailored to the specific needs of the selected ventures.

Investment Readliness Program

The participants of the Investment Readiness Program for GIZ-SAIS during a Zoom meeting.

The program will continue for 3 more months in 2021 to continue providing 22 ventures with access to live webinars and mentoring with the aim of enhancing their business model and attracting investment. In addition, Seedstars is the active sourcing partner for ventures joining the 2020/2021 batch, which will also include the important element of local integration between startups and local incubators, accelerators and coworking spaces.

Gender Equity Track

Partners: International Finance Corporation

The Gender Equity Track came to its second edition in 2020 in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). With a special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, the goal of this initiative was to attract 500 female-led ventures to join the Seedstars World competition and therefore drive gender-inclusive training opportunities and catalyse more investment for female founders.

Programs in Africa & Middle East

Migration Entrepreneurship Prize

Partners: Human Security Division of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Switzerland)

The Migration Entrepreneurship Prize was an initiative by the FDFA's Human Security Division (HSD), responsible for the promotion of peace and human rights, to award 10 socially driven business models in countries and regions prone to strong migration movements. The criteria outlines that the ventures should offer innovative solutions reducing the vulnerability of migrants, thereby alleviating the pressure for people moving through irregular channels. With a focus on the African and Middle Eastern region, the winning ventures have been accelerated and prepared for raising funds in order to grow their business and expand to new markets.

Programs in Middle East

Anjal Z (Growth Program)

Partners: Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA)

Seedstars has facilitated a high-impact growth program titled Anjal Z, an initiative started and led by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) with the aim to attract global ventures and localize their products and services in Abu Dhabi. The program included in-depth training sessions provided by over 20 local and international entrepreneurship mentors and early childhood development experts. It also facilitated public and private connections for the participating entrepreneurs with various governmental entities and ecosystem players in the region. In addition to that, Anjal Z provided each startup with a $60,000 grant to support them with their localization and growth efforts in Abu Dhabi.

Anjal Z

Participants of the Anjal Z Program in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of 2020.

Programs in Africa & Asia-Pacific

Climate Innovation Labs

Partners: CTCN, UNDP

The Climate Innovation Labs was a fast-paced three-day event that brought together selected youth participants, representatives from identified SMEs, as well as climate technology experts within the selected sectors and technology fields in Africa and Asia-Pacific respectively to explore innovative design thinking tools, to flex the participants’ entrepreneurial muscle and to create solutions for enhanced climate action.

After nearly 800 applications from both Africa and Asia, 212 participants were able to join the first stage of the program where 18 teams per region were created. At the end of the pitches, 6 teams from Africa and 7 from Asia were selected to continue on and develop their ideas through the Seedstars Climate Innovation Academy, which will take place in 2021.


Participants of the Climate Innovation Labs Ideathon.

Programs in Asia Pacific

Investment Readiness Program (Asia Pacific)

Partners: GSMA

In 2020, the GSMA together with the Australian Government launched an Investment Readiness Program for startups in the Pacific Islands. The objective of the program was to scale tech ventures developed by residents in the Pacific, increase their income and get them ready for external investments. A group of 6 selected ventures were provided access to 2 months of fully-funded support for company development. Included in the program were virtual coaching and training sessions with experienced growth managers from the Seedstars team, 1:1 meetings with international mentors, and additional training materials that targeted the needs of the selected ventures and provided additional services where required.

Global Programs

Migration Challenge by the IOE (Global)

Partners: International Organisation of Employers (IOE), the Business Advisory Group of Migration and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC

Seedstars rewarded innovative early-stage ventures from various industries such as Human Resources, FinTech, CivicTech and EdTech with solution-oriented products to improve migration systems that respond to labour market needs.

18 ventures were selected for their various solutions. Some of the ventures assist with better matching of employment sectors facing skills shortages with trained regular migrant workers - expats, temporary workers, seasonal workers, intra-company transferees. Some of the selected solutions also provide ways for governments to share information and best practices to improve their policies. Meanwhile, others provide migrant workers with access to financial, educational, labor mobility services. These 18 ventures pitched at the GFMD Summit and 3 top entrepreneurs were selected that are DignifAI, Caspercoding and LaowaiCareer.


An online session on Zoom with the participants of the IOE Program.

What’s next?

We’re extremely grateful to all of the partners we worked with in 2020 and who will continue the journey in 2021. Last year was full of challenges, learnings and hardships, but we’re optimistic that this year we will recover and get back to full speed impacting even more people’s lives in emerging markets.

Want to learn more about what’s planned for 2021?

Take a look at the services we offer.

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