Diaspora Entrepreneurship Program: “We want to provide an innovative support solution for young entrepreneurs”
Seven entrepreneurs of Malian origin have already been financed by the Diaspora Entrepreneurship program, created in Mali in 2016. For its third edition, the call for applications, made in partnership with the World Bank, extends to the sub-region. , including Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Burkina Faso.
The Diaspora Entrepreneurship program will launch its third call for applications on December 22nd. An event will be organized the day before, for this purpose, in the premises of the Resonances North-South incubator, in Montreuil, in the Paris region. This initiative, created by Malian Papa Oumar Wane, founder and CEO of Diaspora Sud Vision (DSV), aims to support and finance young entrepreneurs from the African diaspora, established in France and eager to return to their country. country of origin to develop their project.
Since its launch in 2016, seven young entrepreneurs of Malian origin have been funded by Diaspora Entrepreneurship. For this, DSV has made in 2017 an initial fundraising of 500 million CFA francs (762,000 euros), with the International Bank of Mali (BIM-SA, Attijariwafa bank Group). The second, of 187 million CFA francs, is under discussion. The National Agency for the Promotion of Youth Employment in Mali guarantees 80%.
For the first time, the call for applications is extended to candidates from the sub-region, from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. Four winners, one per country, will be selected at the end of the selection process. Papa Oumar Wane told Jeune Afrique about his motivations and the ins and outs of his program. Interview.
Jeune Afrique: How did you become an entrepreneur?
Papa Oumar Wane: Ten years ago, I founded with my associate Baba Diarra, Fanaday Entertainment, a company specializing in entertainment on television. Together, we launched several reality shows: Casa Sanga, the Star Academy West African version, in 2007, Casa Saramaya (“I’m the most beautiful”) two years later, then Casa Yelebougou (“Case of laughter”) “) On the model of the Jamel Comedy Club, in 2011 and finally, Case des métiers, broadcast on the private channel Africable and the ORTM, the public television of Mali.
It was Baba Diarra who brought me back to Mali, convinced of the opportunities to seize in this sector. In Paris, our offices were facing each other: I worked at Bouygues, at the back office, he was team leader in a restaurant Hippopotamus. We returned to Bamako in 2007, on the same Air France flight, with 45 euros in our pocket! The mobile operator Sotelma Malitel is the first sponsor to have trusted us.
What drove you to found Diaspora Entrepreneurship?
In 2016, I decided to leave the showbiz – this life did not suit me anymore – and to turn to youth entrepreneurship. When I was in Paris, those who knew me by television often asked me: “How did you go about launching your project in Mali? »,« Can you help us because we do not know Mali well? “We have acquired skills and we do not want to stay in Europe”.
There is no dedicated framework to attract young entrepreneurs from the African diaspora to their home country. Myself, I came from there and when I returned to Mali, I was confronted with difficulties related to the financing, to the administrative procedures and at the time, there was no incubator! I knew the former director general of BIM-SA Hassen Oustani who found the project excellent and supported me. Remained more than to develop our economic model.
What are the objectives of the program?
Our goal is to offer an innovative support solution to project leaders by mentoring them with experienced professionals who know the field and share their network. We bring to the winners a guarantee of financing through our partners, BIM-SA and APEJ in Mali. We want to replicate this model to other countries in the subregion.
What will the winners of the third edition win?
We are committed to finance their project up to 150 million CFA francs according to their needs. Once selected, the winners will be integrated into a local incubator. For example, DoniLab, Jokkolabs or Teteliso in Bamako or Incub’Ivoir in Abidjan, partners of the program.
Which entrepreneur profile are you looking for?
They must have the will to settle permanently in their country of origin and not to delegate the conduct of their project on the spot to a third from France. The age limit to participate in the call for applications is 40 years. This year, we want to put women in the spotlight. They are still too few to participate, even if it is a woman, Aissata Diakité, founder of Zabbaan Holding, [marketing of local fruit juices], who won the first edition.
Entrepreneurial projects must have the level of maturity to apply for the call for applications?
You have to have a prototype or a solution to propose. We do not accept projects that are only at the idea stage.
What criteria do you evaluate the project leaders?
First, on their skills and knowledge of the project (concept, market research, suppliers), on their value proposition – what market need they meet? – the innovation provided, the social and environmental impact of the project and finally, the quality of their business plan.
How will the selection of candidates proceed?
Project leaders can submit their application online for one month, starting December 22, 2018. They will be called for an interview in the Paris premises of the World Bank, our partner. Among them, twelve candidates will be shortlisted, with three candidates per country.
They will participate in three weeks of training, including meetings with our partners (entrepreneurs, banks), coaching and project consolidation – in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal. In the end, one winner per country will be nominated.