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  • George Benson

Djassi Africa is mapping Black-led startups and digital businesses in Portugal

Fernando Cabral and Rudolphe Cabral, Djassi Africa
Fernando Cabral and Rudolphe Cabral, Djassi Africa

Press Statement - 11th July 2022

For six weeks, Djassi Africa, in alliance with other entities of the innovation ecosystem in Portugal, is running a study that will serve as a reference point for entrepreneurs of African descent (Black Founders) based in Portugal.

The AFROPRENEURS.PT survey intends to map and analyse data regarding the state of Black-led startups and digital businesses in the Portuguese innovation ecosystem, and identify the key challenges faced by Black Founders, in order to create strategies that will enable the integration of these businesses in the Portuguese innovation ecosystem.

The AFROPRENEURS.PT survey focus:

  • Bridge the lack of relevant data in Portugal about Black Founders and their businesses.

  • Establish the starting point for the development of strategies, programs, and incentives to support Black Founders.

  • Understand the areas of performance and impact of Black-led startups and digital businesses.

  • Increase the visibility of Black Founders in the innovation ecosystem in Portugal.

  • Include Black Founders in support and investment networks.

  • Reduce entry barriers in the Portuguese innovation ecosystem for Black Founders with innovative businesses and ideas.

Pedro Filipe, Mi6

"Collecting data is key to truly understand a certain reality. A problem is not official without data to prove it, and can be mistaken as being a matter of opinion", said Pedro Filipe, CEO of Mi6, one of the media partners of AFROPRENEURS.PT.

With 2159+ registered startups and 7 unicorns, Portugal is 13% above the European average in the number of startups per capita, being number 12 in both the Top 100 emerging ecosystems and the list of most innovative countries in the EU.

Both in geographical and cultural terms, Portugal is one of the European countries closest to Africa, forming, with six African nations, Brazil and East Timor, the Lusophone world. In the last fifty years, Lisbon has become the city where these cultures meet. Every year, large numbers of students from the African continent complete their studies in Portugal.

Even so, in an initial assessment done by Djassi Africa, the numbers indicate that there are less than 1% of Black founders included in the Portuguese startup ecosystem, and relevant data about this group is very limited, or practically non-existent. The fact is that Black Founders disproportionately lack access to the networks and capital needed to develop and grow their businesses.

Yonca Braeckman, Impact Shakers

"In order to level the playing field for entrepreneurs of diverse backgrounds, we first need to know what the playing field actually looks like today. It gives us a goal to work towards and to engage others", said Yonca Braeckman, co-founder and CEO of Impact Shakers, one of the ecosystem partners of AFROPRENEURS.PT.

According to Google, "Black Founders have long played a key role in the European economy, solving challenges with agility, resilience, and innovative technologies. But we know they don't have the same opportunities and support as other groups, even though 77% of tech startups led by Black Founders generate high revenues and create an average of 5.4 jobs each."

In 2021, Google's Black Founders Fund invested $2M in 30 startups led by Black founders in Europe. In 2022, double of that amount of $4M is invested in 40 startups led by Black founders. Since 2021, these startups have raised $81M in follow-up funding, hired 100 more employees, and increased revenues by over 81%.

Studies and publications have repeatedly shown that companies founded by diverse teams consistently outperform more homogeneous teams. According to Forbes, "companies with founders from diverse backgrounds profit 30% more in multiple capitals invested (MOIC) when they are acquired or go public."

The survey to map Black Founders and their businesses in Portugal is now open. Black-led businesses (startups and digital businesses) as well as people with innovative ideas are invited to participate. The survey will run for 6 weeks.

About Djassi Africa

Djassi Africa invests in digital-enabled innovation and impact-driven entrepreneurship with the potential to accelerate Africa’s transformation. Its mission is to empower African innovators and entrepreneurs through world-class capacity building, develop tech-enabled startups and scalable business models, provide access to funding, and enable global and local ecosystems to support Africa’s innovation.

Djassi Africa works with African early-stage tech-enabled startups with a scalable business model and ecosystem builders supporting local innovators.

For more information:

Afropreneurs survey:

Djassi Africa website:


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