Meet StAfrica - Startup Germany-Africa
Meet StAfrica Startup Germany-Africa, the spark that's igniting a new era of economic collaboration between Germany and Africa.
Backed by Germany's Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action, StAfrica is on a dual mission: to make Germany irresistible to African startups and to pave the way for German SMEs into Africa.
Born three years ago from a glaring disconnect between the two regions, StAfrica has evolved into a bustling economic bridge.
So, how did this audacious initiative come to life? We sat down with Materne L. Mateso, a Project Lead at StArfrica, to get the scoop on how LoftOS is fueling this pioneering project.
The Catalyst - Awakening Cross-Continental Potential
Before StAfrica, the startup and entrepreneurship dialogue between Germany and Africa had its gaps. Materne and his team saw these not as roadblocks but as areas ripe for innovation and untapped potential.
Enter Materne and his team, who saw this not as a roadblock but as untapped potential.
Amidst Africa's green transition and other global shifts, they knew it was time to light a fire under this dormant relationship.
Backed by key players like the Ministry of Economics and Climate Change and the University of Koblenz, StAfrica set out on its quest: to turn this missing link into a bustling economic highway.
The Problem - Can a Digital Platform Connect Continents?
In the fast-paced startup scene, StArfrica envisioned a digital hub where German and African entrepreneurs could connect, network, learn, and explore each region's startup landscape and business opportunities.
Sounds simple, right? Not so fast.
They faced a big hurdle — how to seamlessly blend networking with e-learning. And it wasn't just any hurdle; it was like trying to mix oil and water. They needed a one-stop shop that could do it all.
So, they turned to Innoloft with a challenge: Could a single platform meet StAfrica's lofty goals, or would they have to go back to the drawing board? And if so, would it fulfill the unique needs of StAfrica's ambitious project?
The LoftOS Solution - Bridging Divides, Building Connections
When StAfrica needed a stable platform to power their first-of-its-kind German-African innovation ecosystem, they found their match in LoftOS.
What really clinched the deal were two key features: our 'programs' for e-learning and our 'events' module. These became Materne's daily go-to's, so essential that he joked about losing sleep if they ever went down.
StAfrica took it to the next level with our 'programs' feature, enabling them to host e-learning entrepreneurship courses tailored to their unique needs. This also transformed their platform into a hub for online learning, enabling knowledge exchange efficiently and effectively.
And when it comes to organizing exchange trips for startups between African countries and Germany, guess what? LoftOS is right there, making it all possible.
Materne explained how these cross-country exchanges are organized through the platform:
We have visits from African startups coming to Germany and vice versa. It's all coordinated on the platform, from sending out applications to reviewing them. The physical work is there, but it’s now all digitalized entirely.wh
Let's dive a bit deeper and see how LoftOS is making Materne's work easier.
The Result - Where Tech Meets Tangible Impact
Let's get into the numbers. LoftOS's 'programs' feature has become such a cornerstone for StAfrica, accounting for 60% of their platform activities with more than 150 daily users. And let's not forget our 'events' module — it's responsible for facilitating 20% of StAfrica's event-related tasks.
As you can already imagine, this has led to a significant increase in the efficiency of Materne's workflows.
Materne sees another layer of value in using LoftOS for StAfrica.
The platform has become the first port of call for African startups landing in Germany, and Materne sees LoftOS as more than just a tool; it's a trust-builder. Startups from both Germany and Africa are flocking to the platform, not just to network, but to network effectively.
Both sides sign up to the platform, get vetted by the StAfrica team, display projects, share offers, and even industry news. All while our intelligent matchmaking system makes sure that when these companies meet, it's not just a handshake; it's a meaningful connection.
On the cost-saving front, Materne and his team are eyeing the next frontier: moving their successful in-person incubator programs online via LoftOS.
Why? Two words: cost and reach.
These programs have been a hit since 2021, with their second cohort alone pulling in 230 applications, accepting 116, and graduating 17. Imagine turning this success online — digital incubators would mean fewer overheads, broader reach, and a decreased need for on-ground staff.
So, what's the big takeaway? LoftOS isn't just a platform; it's the future of meaningful, scalable connections in the startup ecosystem.
Why did StAfrica Choose LoftOS?
When StAfrica was on the hunt for a platform, what ultimately won them over were two things: communication and cost-efficiency. Materne couldn't say enough about our quick responses. He recalls:
Any challenge we ever had, it was easy to talk to them and the communication channels are very open.
And it's not just about speed; it's about effectiveness. "If the person you're talking to can't solve your issue, they swiftly communicate your needs to the IT team," Materne adds.
But the perks don't stop there. Materne also highlighted how LoftOS has been a cost-saver for them, especially when it comes to training. "Instead of flying someone over for two or three weeks, we can now deliver two weeks' worth of training right on the LoftOS platform. That brings the costs really down and helps a lot on the cost-saving side," he notes.
3 Quick-Fire Questions about LoftOS for Materne
Q: What's one LoftOS feature you couldn't live without?
Tough to pick just one! But if I had to, I'd say it's a tie between 'programs' and 'events.' The 'programs' feature is a lifesaver for our e-learning courses, and 'events' keeps everything organized. Oh, and let's not forget 'chat groups' for seamless communication.
These features are my bread and butter.
Q: Any advice for organizations or institutions looking to try LoftOS?
If you're a program manager, know that LoftOS is an incredibly flexible tool. Just define your goals, and LoftOS will help you achieve them. LoftOS is all about efficiency too. I can't even imagine going back to the old way of doing things. In short, LoftOS makes your life easy and helps you hit your targets without breaking a sweat.
Q: How would you describe LoftOS to someone who's never heard about it before?
In one word? Awesome. LoftOS is more than just a platform; it's a flexible tool that adapts to your project's unique needs. It's designed to be intuitive, so you can shape it to fit your goals right out of the box.
The StAfrica Experience - Where Vision Meets Reality
The StAfrica story is a testament to what can be achieved when vision, innovation, and the right digital tools come together. It's a tale of breaking down barriers and building bridges — literally and figuratively.
If you're a project manager at a research institute, economic development agency or similar organization, this could be your story too.
LoftOS isn't just a platform; it's a catalyst for change, a tool that can elevate your project from concept to reality, just like it did for StAfrica. Ready to transform your institution's goals into tangible results?
Check out our platform templates and start creating yours for free today.