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Sony launches funding for entertainment start-ups in Africa

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Sony launches funding for entertainment start-ups in Africa

Sony Group Corporation establishes the « Sony Innovation Fund : Africa », an innovation fund endowed with 10 million USD. The initiative aims to support start-ups in the entertainment sector in Africa.

Sony Innovation Fund : Catalyst for the start-up ecosystem

Sony promotes inclusive innovation through its venture capital activities by supporting next-generation technologies and start-ups. Since 2016, Sony has been involved in the global ecosystem for innovative entrepreneurship through its « Sony Innovation Fund ». The fund invests in companies from their early stages to their initial development phase, fueling their growth.

The program offers collaboration opportunities, including access to Sony-owned technologies, joint development, and business alliances. Subsequently, the Sony Group Corporation launches several financing initiatives, following the same approach, namely :

  • Innovation Growth Fund (2019), established in 2019 through a joint venture with Daiwa Investment Management Co., Ltd.
  • Sony Innovation Fund: Environment, launched in 2020 and fully funded by Sony. This program supports companies working to address global environmental issues.
  • Sony Innovation Fund, established in 2022, is the successor to the Innovation Growth Fund.
  • Sony Innovation Fund: Africa (2023), also fully funded by Sony.

Sony Innovation Fund : Africa

The Sony Innovation Fund: Africa was established to invest in early stage start-ups in the entertainment industry in Africa. This includes gaming, music, film and content distribution. Regarding the innovation fund, Sony initially invests 10 million USD in such projects and considers potential expansion of this initiative based on its progress.

Through the actions of this innovation fund, Sony Corporation aims to stimulate the growth of the entertainment industry in Africa. The instrument promotes progress and development in the African region by creating collaboration opportunities with entertainment businesses within the group.

Partnership between Sony Group Corporation and International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Furthermore, Sony has entered into a collaboration agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). This renowned institution, as the world’s largest global development organization focused on the private sector, actively invests in emerging countries, including start-ups in Africa.

In addition to financial investment, this partnership promotes the growth of the entertainment industry in Africa by leveraging mutual skills and strengths. « I am convinced that our collaboration with the IFC, significantly present in emerging markets, will strengthen this initiative by leveraging the strengths of each of the parties involved », emphasize Toshimoto Mitomo, Deputy Executive Vice President and CSO of Sony Group Corporation.

For his part, the CEO of IFC, Makhtar Diop, is delighted to collaborate with Sony to create value for African creative businesses. This partnership leverages the institution’s expertise in emerging markets and significant investments in the digital landscape. « Sony’s success as a global leader in entertainment, media and technology positions us ideally to drive economic growth in the creative sector », Diop states.

Financing method most suitable for an African start-up

The choice of financing for an African start-up depends on several factors, especially its stage of development. Startu-ps in the ideation or launch phase should turn to seed funds such as Digital Africa or Füze. The nature of the start-up’s activity is also a crucial factor in this assessment. Additionally, it is important to assess the availability of technical support.

Programs like Choose Africa and Afric’innov not only offer funding but also provide technical support and a network of incubators. Crowdfunding, investment from business angels, or investor networks are valuable alternatives.

Choose Africa : A continuum of solutions

Choose Africa, an initiative of the AFD Group and its subsidiary Proparco, allocates a budget of 130 million EUR to support African start-ups until 2025. The program offers a comprehensive range of financing and support solutions for young African enterprises. The tools available for start-ups vary according to their specific needs, encompassing capacity building up to direct technical assistance.

The goal is to assist high-potential start-up in their scaling-up process and ensure their long-term development. Choose Africa facilitates access to tailored financing, such as equity, credit lines, or guarantees, based on their stage of development. The initiative also relies on its local partners to effectively support African digital entrepreneurs.

Afric’innov in the financing of young entrepreneurs

Afric’innov stands out for its specialized approach aimed at innovative young entrepreneurs in Africa. With an initial endowment of 450 000 EUR from the Agence Française de Développement, this program addresses the initial challenge faced by project holders in terms of financing. In addition to the financial aspect, the association provides entrepreneurs with a network of incubators and technical support structures.

The program thus promotes the emergence of a dynamic and innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem in West Africa. In three years, Afric’innov has successfully brought together more than 50 entities, contributing to job creation and the development of innovative start-ups in the targeted countries.

Investor Network and Business Angels

In the African landscape, investor networks are essential for providing financial support to start-ups. Numerous business angels and angel investor networks specifically emerge to finance the young enterprises on the continent.

These associations form based on criteria such as geography, themes, or business domains. These investor networks not only provide financial means but also grant access to an extensive network of professional contacts and valuable sector-specific expertise.

Digital Africa Seed Fund

The Digital Africa Seed Fund is a significant initiative for supporting African start-ups in the early stages. Launched by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the program is endowed with 15 million EUR and operated by six partners specializing in supporting innovative businesses. This fund aims to address the lack of seed funding in Africa, a crucial issue as 80 % of African start-ups cannot secure bank loans, and 87 % have no access to any form of financing.

The fund aims to accelerate the growth of SMEs by specifically financing and supporting digital start-ups in 45 African countries. This financial instrument also provides technical support for incubators to strengthen the African entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Füze : Support for start-ups in the idea phase

Füze, an initiative of Digital Africa, is a 6.5 million EUR facility designed to support startu-ps in the ideation and MVP (Minimum Viable Product) phases. The innovative investment mechanism is specifically aimed at businesses founded by African entrepreneurs. Füze aims to address the seed funding gap in Francophone Africa, a crucial challenge for the development of the continent’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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