Africa: Develop a platform strategy and an online interactive digital platform for innovation and entrepreneurship

Several African countries
African Development Bank
Economic & Private Sector Development; Information & Communication Technology; Education & Employment Promotion

project description

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab launched by the AfDB has the objective of supporting youth employment and entrepreneurship in Africa by strengthening the capacity and operational reach of Enterprise Support Organizations (ESOs) such as business incubators, accelerators and fund managers. The global objective was to design, implement and fine-tune the Ennova platform, which facilitates collaboration, linkages and partnerships between actors in support of entrepreneurship in Africa and fosters knowledge sharing by embedding online learning, services and applications capabilities. The final output included a platform prototype and accompanying strategy for the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab. Under Phase 1, Luvent Consulting contributed to the achievement of the following objectives:

  • Developing a platform strategy for the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab.
  • Designing a platform that provided online access to a database and interactive map of ESOs in Africa.
  • Formulation of recommendations, including rules and procedures for data management in the domain of acquiring data on entrepreneurship in Africa and making this data available online while providing database management and search functionality to the Lab team and online users.
  • Recommendations on securing the data required in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), cybersecurity and information privacy guidelines and regulations.
  • Development of a communication strategy for the platform.

As part of Phase I, the #AfricaVsVirusChallenge Ideathon was implemented. The Ideathon enabled participants across the public, private and civil society sectors to submit ideas to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, framed within 9 themes: public health and epidemiology, vulnerable populations, business and economy, community, education, entertainment, government support, environment and energy, and food security.

In Phase II, Luvent Consulting was commissioned to develop a minimum viable product, updating the ESO database by incorporating additional features needed to ensure user attractivity and optimise platform use. The contracts activities included:

  • Design of the platform’s branding and corporate style;
  • Drafting of the platform’s Terms and Conditions, assessing the legal and regulatory concerns associated with collecting and sharing data, and elaborating a Fraud and Risk Management Strategy;
  • Development and partial implementation of a communication and visibility campaign to maximize the platform’s outreach potential;
  • Mapping key stakeholders in the African entrepreneurship ecosystem and establishing partnerships with local ESOs as well as regional and donor initiatives working in the digital innovation sector;
  • Development of bilingual (English and French) user interfaces as well as search and display functionality for online access, including access using mobile devices and corresponding platform features;
  • Training AfDB staff in the operation of the platform and related applications and preparing operational guidance documentation.

The AfDB also requested to set up the Secretariat (Part II of the contract), to coordinate support to the most promising solutions derived from the AfricaVsVirusChallenge Ideathon. Two workstreams were conducted to promote the operationalisation of the Top 100 solutions.

1. Evaluate the Top 100 to select the 20 best #AfricaVsVirusChallenge (AVV) solutions to receive direct support from the AfDB, including business development support and a grant of up to 20,000 USD;

2. Seek support for the Top 100 solutions from external partners by:

  • Promoting the Top 100 solutions amongst external partners and converting partners identified prior to the Challenge into partners for the activities of the Secretariat;
  • Securing a range of practical support for the individual solutions, including funding, mentoring, and donation of in-kind support.

In Phase III, the primary activities implemented by Luvent Consulting were:
1. Supported the maintenance and fine-tuning of the platform’s technical aspects;
2. Developed monitoring and evaluation systems to track and trace the state of advancement in the execution of this project and for the audit of the platform development process.

As an overarching objective, the Ennova Platform helped to increase the visibility of African entrepreneurs and their projects and ideas as well as the opportunities they are pursuing.

services provided

Phase I

  • Assessed the current situation of existing platforms in Africa (e.g. by performing SWOT analysis).
  • Proposed a platform strategy for service delivery in support of ESO strengthening and entrepreneurship support, best practices in using platforms in Africa, and the feasibility of the Lab platform.
  • Provided an interactive online map of African ESOs listed by country and location, linked to the database to automatically update changes.
  • Trained AfDB staff in the use and operation of the tools and applications to be developed.

Phase II

  • Designed the platform’s logo and branding guidelines.
  • Drafted the platform’s Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.
  • Drafted the platform’s Data Governance Strategy.
  • Developed additional platform features, including Profiles for each stakeholder group, a Resource Centre, Newsfeed, Networking and Messaging Function, and an M&E Dashboard.
  • Conducted focus groups to validate brand guidelines and new features.
  • Elaborated an engagement strategy to position the platform.
  • Elaborated an online catalogue (solution fair) to present the Top 100 solutions.
  • Evaluated the Top 100 solutions from the Ideathon and conducted a needs assessment to better understand the type of support required.
  • Supported the Top 100 teams to improve their business plans.
  • Evaluated their business plans and ventures and selected the Top 20 Winners.
  • Designed a prototyping and mentorship programme for AvV participants.
  • Engaged with +100 AfricavsVirus partners to facilitate matchmaking with suitable solutions to assure the uptake of solutions.
  • Elaborated communication and visibility material, including best practices and success stories.

Phase III

  • Organisation of the two email campaigns for the promotion of the Ennova Platform.
  • Layout and design the Lab’s 2020 annual update in French and English highlighting the impact of the Lab.
  • Propose a short strategy to establish an Ennova Advisory Group of ESOs to help inform the platform strategy.
  • Update the list of potential aid agencies and corporates to establish partnerships with the support of the AfDB.
  • Define 3 potential sponsors to secure partnerships between the Lab platform and technical/financial partners.
  • Facilitation of the handover of the platform to the Bank including drafting a plan for maintenance for the coming 12 months.