How Orange is supporting the African Startup ecosystem ?

Orange startup

In recent years, the digital world had seen tremendous growth due to the various innovations that are more visible and more accessible on the market. Orange, as a major digital player in Africa and the world, is aware of the impact these changes can have on the world and its economic development. That’s why orange’s strategy consists of identifying, supporting african startup ecosystem, and promoting startups by working with them as closely as possible through multiple initiatives, so as best to respond to their needs.

Orange, formerly known as France telecom, is a French multinational telecommunications corporation. The company has 266 million customers worldwide and employs 89000 people in France and 59000 elsewhere. It is the tenth largest mobile network operator in the world and the fourth largest in Europe. It generated a 42.27 billion euros in 2020. The company’s head office is located in Paris and its current CEO is Stéphane Richard.

Orange Digital Centers :

Orange digital centers is a newly developed concept by Orange Group in the MEA region. There are already four open digital centers in the African continent (Cameroon, Ethiopia, Senegal and Tunisia). Six opening soon in Morocco, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Sierra leone and Mali. They serve as support and developpement centers for everyone to gain digital and entrepreneurial skills through several strategic programs :

  • Orange Code school :

An academy where students and young professionals can improve their knowledge. Programming and developing technical skills in web and mobile development. Also their personal and communication skills in order to create new projects and ultimately launch successful startups.

  • Orange FabLab :

A FabLab, with all sorts of tools you need to work on your idea and develop a prototype. Orange’s approach to FabLabs is characterized by a touch of solidarity enabling entrepreneurs to learn about digital practices and develop their skills.

  • Orange Fab :

Fab is an accelerator program open for startups with an existing product, looking to take it to the next level. Orange launched the program in 2013 in Silicon Valley. And since then rolled out in more than 15 different countries (5 in Africa. The goal is helping startups connect and work closely with the right contacts at Orange and their corporate partners in order to land new customers, explore new markets and raise new rounds.

This program has accelerated more than 63 African startups in 5 different countries: Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Tunisia.

  • Orange Ventures :  

Orange Ventures is the venture capital arm of Orange. It’s one of the biggest corporate funds in Europe with 350 million euros under management. Orange ventures invests in areas traditional to Orange’s expertise such as connectivity, cybersecurity, the digital enterprise and innovative financial services… As well as new industries that Orange is exploring…

Orange ventures is already a major player in the African continent with 50 million euros under management and a dedicated team based in Dakar. Orange ventures Africa invests in 18 different countries (Cameroon, Madagascar, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Mali, Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Central African Republic, DR of Congo, and Botswana) via two distinct streams :

  • Middle east Africa seed : to support innovative entrepreneurs of Africa’s booming tech ecosystem working on early-stage startups having raised under 1 million euros in total funding.
  • Middle east Africa growth : for tech startups raising from series A onwards, with pan African or global scaling potential working on a solution in a tech sector.

Orange Ventures Africa has invested in 12 different startups like Africa’s talking,, Gebeya… Their investment tickets can go up to 20 million euros.

Orange Social Venture Prize :

 The OSVP is an annual competition that rewards projects or startups working on High-tech solutions based on mobile or the Web to meet the needs of the populations in Africa and the Middle east.

The OSVP has been held every year since 2011 in 17 countries across the region. Firstly, startups take part in a national competition, then national winners go through to an international competition. An international jury awards the international prizes at Africacom. Based on the environmental and social impact of the projects, their degree of innovation. Also the possibility of expanding the product or service to several countries and the financial viability and feasibility.

In 11 years, the OSVP has received more than 10000 applications and awarded 30 international winners with 470000 euros in total funding to develop their businesses. It supported more than 75 startups with 6 months of coaching by orange and partners.

3 international winners are granted awards ranging from 10000 euros up to 25000 euros. Also one additional award was created in recent years called the international women’s prize for a startup improving lives for women.

StartOn Orange :

A co-working space with great events, workshops, mentoring, and masterclasses. You can receive training, meet and network with like-minded entrepreneurs, find new partners or even potential customers…

StartOn is available only in morocco, but we hope that the concept spreads soon in Africa.

Orange Developer :

With Orange developer, you can build your product and co-innovate with Orange by using their APis. You can integrate them into your services autonomously using a detailed documentation and the support of their experts.

Orange Cyberdefense :

Compromised customer data, disruption of the production line, theft of plans or contracts… The digital world can be cruel sometimes. But luckily Orange cyberdefense’s experts can monitor the security of networks and the protection of data on a daily basis. Which allows them to react to any cybersecurity event 24/7/365.

The entity supports companies of all sizes and in all sectors. Their services are available in many African countries like: Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Mauritius…

To conclude we wrote this article because we thought that orange offers a lot of interesting things to startups. Information doesn’t reach everyone and isn’t well organized (too many websites!!). And finally, we hope that all the programs and concepts mentioned above spread in many African countries.

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