ACTIVITIES | Start-up Business Trip NRW


Start-up Business Trip to NRW

Make-IT in Africa invited six tech start-ups from Kenya, Ghana and Sierra Leone, on a four-day business trip to meet German industry and business partners (26.02.-01.03.2018). The start-ups are SnooCode (Ghana), Gjenge Enterprises (Kenya), Track Your Build (Sierra Leone), AgroCenta (Ghana), Equatorial Energies (Kenya) and BRCK (Kenya).

Throughout the programme, the start-ups were given the chance to meet representatives of high profile economic and political institutions (such as the Ghanaian President H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo or IBM’ representative Dr. Philipp Fürst).

A highlight of the programme was the Make-IT in Africa Start-Up Pitch at the 5th German-African Economic Forum NRW, which was held for the first time at the forum. In addition to the pitch, the programme also included bilateral matchmaking meetings and company visits. During a visit to the Ruhr-Hub in Essen, it was also possible to establish initial contacts with the German start-up scene.

Uppon arrival in Dortmund on Monday, the start-up entrepreneurs got acquainted with the city and each other during a guided city tour and a joint dinner. On Tuesday, the start-ups had the opportunity to promote their innovations at the German-African Business Forum NRW.

2. Day: The German-African Business Forum NRW

Supported by well-known partners, the 5th German-African Economic Forum NRW, is organized by the Auslandsgesellschaft NRW, jointly with the German Industry and Trade Association and supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. This gathering is aiming at German and North Rhine-Westphalian companies wishing to foster investment in and trade with Africa.

In 2018, the focus lay on the following topics:

  • Infrastructure and Construction Industry
  • Renewable Energies, Environmental Technology and Water Management
  • Mechanical and Plant Engineering
  • Digital Economy

3. Day: Bilateral Matchmaking

The day after the German-African Economic Forum, the start-ups had a chance to meet bilaterally with representatives of German small and medium-sized enterprises throughout the region and lay the foundation for individual promising cooperations between German industry and African innovation.

Ndungu Njau, Co-Founder and Marketer of Gjenge Enterprises from Nairobi, for instance, visited Troisdorf to find out more about modern methods for recycling plastics. The aim of interest was the recycling plant of the consortium PVC Flooring Recycling (AgPR). Other participants used the meeting rooms at the hotel to foster their contacts they established at the business forum.

4. Day: Field trip to SMEs and mingling with the German start-up scene

On the last day of the programme, the start ups visited the Digital Hub Ruhr in Essen (an initiative of the Ministry for Economy, Innovation, Digitization and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia) for further exchange and match-making. This made room for African and European innovators to exchange experiences, discuss new developments and build future partnerships.

After that the six entrepreneurs visited the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, the biggest European research initiative in logistics for a guided lab tour. Here they were given insights about new trends and developments concerning the state-of-art in digital technology research.

‘Make-IT in Africa’ Start-up Support

This event is part of the support activities the ‘Make-IT in Africa’ initiative organizes for promising African tech-entrepreneurs. The aim is to strengthen local, regional and international collaboration for stakeholders within the African entrepreneurial ecosystem and to promote Digital Innovation Made in Africa.

In addition to the organization of the programme and the networking opportunities, Make-IT in Africa covers all travel and accomodation expense. The initiative is part of the ‘Make-IT Alliance’ and also offers individual tailored matchmaking talks to the pariticipating start-ups.

Photos taken by Dr. Berthold Volbert & Jonas Schug

Selected African Start-ups




Equatorial Energies

Gjenge Makers


Track Your Build

Implementing Partners