This week the Startup Act Conference took place in Kinshasa. Our Programme Advisor DRC Richard van Hoolwerff was present to join the celebrations around the development of the Startup Act and to witness the kick-off of its implementation. Richard: “It was a wonderful event. With the support of the EU delegation, all stakeholders involved helped to take the act from a paper reality to a meaningful instrument that contributes to DRC’s prosperity.”
DRC Startup Act
Aspiring young entrepreneurs need an enabling environment to turn their innovative ideas into successful, sustainable businesses. More than anything, to realise their full potential they require solid legislation. Laws that encourage entrepreneurship and help startups grow into scale-ups. The Netherlands is committed to support economic prosperity and private sector development around the world, including in DRC. That’s why we worked with pan-African charitable organisation I4Policy and their participatory methodology to collaborate with the Congolese government, incubators, the private sector, startups, youth, and many other stakeholders to co-create the DRC Startup Act.
Pooling all our knowledge, expertise, experiences and resources, we have truly come a long way. From the Lubumbashi Digital Story pre-hackathon in November 2019 to the validation, finalisation and adoption of two new laws promoting entrepreneurship, startups and crafts: this was a monumental effort from all involved. The Startup Act Conference provided us with the opportunity to celebrate this milestone, and at the same time discuss lessons learned and next steps to take. Our work is not done yet. After all, the true measure of success is in the implementation.
From DRC to the rest of Africa
Representatives from Netherlands Embassies in Juba, Dakar, Bujumbura, Bamako, Maputo, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salam, Lagos, Ouagadougou and Luanda were also present at the Startup Act Conference to share ideas and take in best practices. And to gain inspiration on how to better support startups and the startup ecosystems in their own host countries.
They also used their time in Kinshasa to get better acquainted with the broader ecosystem and to visit exciting new initiatives around digitalisation, such as the Orange Digital Center, Kinshasa Digital, Silikin Village, the Pull Up Business Women incubation programme, Ishango Startup Center and Kobo Hub. And of course, no trip to DRC would have been complete without a visit to Ingenious City, the incubator implementing the local Orange Corners programme since 2019.
Special thanks to the Netherlands Embassy in Kinshasa for the organisation. Good times all around!