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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)  has launched a Pan-African Entrepreneurship Portal-Platform, facilitated by Accenture.  The YAS! (Youth for Africa and SDGs) () Portal-Platform is designed for young African entrepreneurs with the intent of cultivating an ecosystem that will promote mentorship, funding, information-sharing, and networking.

According to UNDP Special Advisor for Private Sector, Tomas Sales, “YAS! is a much needed Pan African digital mechanism for youth entrepreneurs to access opportunities and contribute to the positive transformation of the continent through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are directed toward ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that people everywhere enjoy peace and prosperity.” The Portal-Platform will be activated in East, West and Southern Africa.

The YAS! Portal-Platform was created to support the development and growth of youth entrepreneurship on the continent by providing four pillars of support categorized as Learning, Ecosystem Mapping, Challenges, and Opportunities. Specifically, the objectives of YAS! are to:

  • Help entrepreneurs begin their journey by providing answers to the key concepts relevant to enterprise development. The Portal-Platform will provide support services to young African entrepreneurs such as business plan development.
  • Develop an ecosystem map for corporates and entrepreneurs, which will locate different entrepreneurial service providers across the continent.
  • Afford young African entrepreneurs the opportunity to acquire more knowledge about funding and specific information on how to implement innovations. Awarding funds to African youth is part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty.
  • Function as a knowledge hub for virtual online master classes.
  • Act as a match-making support system for potential capital providers and suitable grant candidates through mentorship events, networking and pitch events at the country level.
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“YAS! will better serve the private sector with innovation, supplier diversification and talent on the African continent and in parallel accelerate the growth of the entrepreneurship ecosystem,” notes Sandiso Sibisi, Accenture Africa’s Open Innovation Lead.

Attracting new entrepreneurs/start-ups, academics, venture capitalist, government and large multinational corporations is critical in establishing a successful platform. The YAS! Portal – Platform will be implemented on two levels, first for entrepreneurs and start-ups that want to create a profile on the platform and second, for the private sector, donors, venture capitalist or incubators seeking start-ups already participating in an incubator or acceleration programme or those requiring financing.

Musa Suleiman
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