February 03, 2019

Drones and sensors dominate Airbus #Africa4Future Accelerator selections

January 17, 2018 – Using drones for humanitarian cargo transport, surveillance and emergency response, local manufacture of drones, and applying remote sensors to monitor and transmit environmental data are some of the ideas presented by African start-ups that were today selected to participate in the 2019 Airbus Bizlab #Africa4Future accelerator programme.

Ten successful start-ups were today selected after an open public pitch event attended by experts, potential investors, the media and other stakeholders in Nairobi, Kenya. The finalists were selected from 314 entries from 19 African countries that entered the challenge last October.

#Africa4Future is a joint business accelerator initiative of Airbus and GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa initiative together with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a non-profit seed fund and pan-African organisation that brings together start-ups, entrepreneurs and the tech community, and Innocircle, the South African-based innovation consultancy.

Kenyan start-up Astral Aerial proposes to use drones for humanitarian cargo transport, surveillance and emergency response while Ivorian start-up Cote d’Ivoire drone seeks to start manufacturing them locally. Ethiopia’s Maisha ICT Tech PLC also wants to deploy locally built drones to deliver medical supplies such as medicines, blood and healthcare items to isolated rural communities.

Elemental Numerics of South Africa applies computational fluid dynamics techniques to the design of machines and components, ranging from aircraft to heart valves.

Lentera Limited, another Kenyan start-up explores the potential of applying remote sensors to monitor and transmit environmental data to enable more efficient and smarter farming while Malawi based MamaBird has conceived a platform that can help governments, humanitarian organisations to deliver vital life-saving supplies to remote communities.

On the other hand, Mali’s Map Action has a solution that provides real-time online urban mapping that can help to identify problems affecting water supplies, hygiene and sanitation.

Also from Kenya, MobiTech Water Solutions is an online real-time water monitoring solution that allows businesses, homes and water-service providers to manage their available water using an app-based dashboard and instant messaging.

Nigeria’s Track Your Build is a novel infrastructure management tool for construction and operations.

From South Africa, WiPo Wireless offers reliable and convenient wireless power chargers for businesses, conference centres, airports, restaurants and other venues for the charging of mobile devices, laptops and drones.

Airbus’ #Africa4Future accelerator programme seeks to encourage and support young and increasingly techno-savvy population to adopt a spirit of entrepreneurship.

The competition identifies Africa’s own pool of talented entrepreneurs using innovative aerospace based solutions to tackle the continent’s most pressing challenges such as transportation, agriculture and healthcare.

As a global aerospace accelerator, Airbus BizLab is ideally suited to help African startups transform innovative ideas into viable and valuable businesses. In doing so, it increases the aerospace industry’s engagement with hardware and software innovators and entrepreneurs in Africa while helping to nurture the establishment of competitive entrepreneurial ecosystems on the continent.

The Nairobi event kicks off an intensive 6-month business incubation and accelerator programme involving technical, commercial and mentorship activities in France, Germany and South Africa. This includes workshops and coaching sessions with Airbus experts, GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa, MEST and Innocircle coaches.

The programme will culminate with Demo Day events at the biennial Paris International Airshow and a special event in Germany from 19-26 June, when finalists will launch their products, define their collaboration with Airbus and announce their investment commitments in front of representatives from across the aerospace industry.

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