Accelerator program

African Fintech Startups to Secure $25,000 Funding via Timbuktoo Accelerator Program

What’s this about?

  • The UNDP has opened applications for the Timbuktoo Fintech Startup Accelerator, offering $25,000 in equity-free funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities to selected African fintech startups.
  • Eligible startups must be African-owned, technology-focused in the financial services sector, and meet criteria such as having a minimum viable product and existing governance systems.
  • The Timbuktoo initiative, part of a broader $1 billion innovation fund launched at the 2024 World Economic Forum, aims to support African startups by blending commercial and catalytic capital to drive innovation and create millions of jobs.

Zoom in…

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has announced the opening of applications for its timbuktoo Fintech Startup Accelerator program, where selected African startups will receive $25,000 equity-free funding.  

According to the program’s announcement published by the UNDP, in addition to the funding, startup founders in the program will also receive mentorship and coaching from Africa’s leading industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs.  

Other benefits include access to a network of fellow startup founders and entrepreneurs from across the African continent; the opportunity to connect with and access potential investors as well as customers; and access to technical resources, tailored to accelerate the growth and impact of the startup. 

The program announcement indicated that the applications are open to technology-focused entrepreneurs and startup founders across Africa aged between 18 and 35, who can build, or are already building, fintech startups that meet the following criteria: 

  • Startups with founders who are citizens of an African country. 
  • Startups must be locally owned and based in any African country. 
  • Startups leveraging technology in the financial services sector to capitalise on complex development opportunities and solve challenges. 
  • Startups with a minimum viable product. 
  • Startups with existing corporate governance systems, accountability, and social and environmental safeguards. 

In addition, UNDP said the program will be supporting startups that have a technology-enabled solution at its core, utilizing digital tools and platforms to drive innovation and efficiency in the financial sector. 

Attention will also be paid to startups whose solutions contribute towards one or more of the SDGs, by promoting growth, industrialization, trade, education, health, and inclusive governance among others. 

According to the organizers, the application portal will be open from May 31st, 2024, to the 21st of June 2024. Interested and qualified startups can apply here

At a special session of the 2024 World Economic Forum in January this year, the UNDP launched a $1 billion innovation fund aimed at supporting startups across Africa.  

Tagged the “timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund”, the initiative was launched together with African countries’ leaders including President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, the Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, Wamkele Mene. 

The Big picture

According to the UNDP, timbuktoo’s ambition is to mobilize and invest $ 1 billion of catalytic and commercial capital to transform 100 million livelihoods and create 10 million dignified new jobs.  

It added that what makes timbuktoo unique is its design, which blends commercial and catalytic capital to de-risk private investment, with a pan-African approach to supporting startups, while also focusing on the whole ecosystem, engaging and deepening the linkages between government policy, universities, corporates, development partners, catalytic partners, and commercial investors. 


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