Boston – MassChallenge, a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators, and Zeleus, a Boston-based corporation, founded to empower professionals and propel entrepreneurs as they work to build successful careers and businesses, announced last week a partnership to support the startup and tech community in Benin, Western Africa.
MassChallenge and Zeleus have joined to position Benin as an emerging entrepreneurial hub and leader of innovation in Africa. The partnership will support entrepreneurs in developing and executing game-changing ideas and connecting them with markets, networks, and capital in the global innovation ecosystem.
“MassChallenge is proud to partner with Zeleus to foster cross-sector innovation, identify and nurture industry trends in the region, and nurture cooperation across the significant industries and innovation stakeholders in Benin,” said Sunanda Narayan, Lead, Bridge to MassChallenge. “Bridge to MassChallenge Benin will help grow the highest-impact, highest-potential startups across Benin, while connecting them to MassChallenge’s global network. We are excited to discover, partner, and equip the top Beninese startups to be market-ready, both locally and globally.”
Zeleus CEO, Gildas Bah, a Benin native and MassChallenge judge himself noted, “This is an exciting and important partnership that will foster the growing innovation community in Benin and beyond. Benin is a country full of incredible entrepreneurial talent; now we can tap into that talent, and increase their presence in the global startup community. Zeleus is proud to leverage our relationships and our team on the ground in Benin, and MassChallenge is the perfect partner to help make this initiative a reality. We hope to add value to the framework they have already built in Nigeria, Morocco and other global regions.”
Bridge to MassChallenge Benin will identify and accelerate top startups that are based in Benin and interested in growing their business in the Beninese market and beyond. Startups selected for the program will participate in a MassChallenge-led startup bootcamp followed by a pitch competition that will determine the top Bridge to MassChallenge Benin startups. The top startups will participate in multiple bootcamps in MassChallenge hubs where they’ll have access to the MassChallenge Boston and Switzerland ecosystems. In addition to working alongside and strengthening the caliber of startups, this initiative will also convene key stakeholders comprising of government entities, corporates, risk capital, universities and media to support, sustain, and help grow entrepreneurship and innovation in the country.
About Bridge to MassChallenge
Bridge to MassChallenge strengthens innovation ecosystems and drives the creation of high-quality jobs by supporting entrepreneurs and connecting them to MassChallenge’s global network. The program collaborates with local entities to understand the potential and strategic value of their unique ecosystem, empowers them to build their own innovation communities, and connects them to global markets.
MassChallenge is the global network for innovators. Headquartered in the United States with eight locations worldwide, it is the non-profit's mission to help bold entrepreneurs disrupt the status quo and create sustainable change. Since launching in 2009, MassChallenge has run programs in 18 countries, supported more than 3,000 startups from around the world, and awarded over $17M in equity-free cash and prizes. Learn more about MassChallenge at masschallenge.org.
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Zeleus was founded with the goal of empowering professionals and propelling entrepreneurs as they work to build successful careers and businesses. Zeleus uses a combination of powerful technology and human experts to help guide professionals throughout their careers. Zeleus also trains entrepreneurs as they launch their companies so they can be well-positioned for lifelong success throughout the world.