The Beginnings

Joe Hopper
Stepchange Africa
Published in
3 min readDec 31, 2020


2020 gave birth to a vision and that vision slowly became reality with the advent of Stepchange Africa. As we come to a close of our first quarter of operation, we wanted to share more about what we’ve been up to and where we plan on going!

You would have found us at 20+ online pitch events as well as the likes of AfricArena, Kampala Innovation Week, Africa Tech Summit and African Innovation Week. As much as attending these events are draining to sit in front of a computer for hours at a time, it has been invigorating to chat with start-ups and other attendees. There is no way you could not feel inspired about the work that is being done across the continent. The mantra of do hard work and tackle big challenges has never been so evident.

We’ve met with 30+ start-ups and have reviewed 60+ pitch decks and business plans. While it is a fraction of the what more established agencies, investment groups, accelerators and incubators receive but since we’re starting from scratch and have been doing a lot of the ground work digitally, it’s a good start. Quantity aside the companies we work with; we have the ambition to turn them into the next 100million USD (valued) companies. It’s a massive task and aspirational but we look at the business model, market, product, founder and their team. Nothing out of the ordinary but we also take into account, would we use the product. At Stepchange Africa, a majority of our managing partners have run their own businesses before and know the challenges of building companies and we want to work with solutions have real impact. With that being said, we’re currently in the process of signing our first clients into our portfolio.

We found like-minded partners across Africa and the world. We signed MoUs with Bridges for Enterprise, a brilliant early stage incubator, offering critical consulting services at no charge. Additionally, we joined together with Verkko Global to seize on the growing enthusiasm by Indian businesses for doing work in Africa. More recently, we’re teamed up with Axcel Insights in Mauritius to enhance our fundraising and transaction advisory services. Also, we’ve had conversations with many innovation hubs and accelerators and look forward to sharing with you more of our partnership developments in the early stages of 2021.

We’re starting to get out there. Managing Partner, Ateh Atabong was a panel moderator on Health Tech at African Innovation Week while Andrew David Herweg was a featured speaker at the Loop Accelerator Rwanda, a programme designed to support young, early stage Rwandan ed-tech entrepreneurs. You may have met Dr. Andrew Ssemwanga, who is a mentor apart of Innovation Village’s Future of Education programme in Kampala, Uganda. Perhaps though you may have come across Joe Hopper and Amyn Esmail who’ve been active in closing future partnership developments with corporate bodies across the Americas.

2021 holds many surprises for each and every one of us and we are at the forefront to turn these into fruitful opportunities. The team of Stepchange Africa would like to thank you genuinely for the trust in our services, for your faith and dedication towards great co-operations and especially for bridging so many potentials with us in Africa. If you’re curious to learn more and discuss opportunities to work together, do not hesitate to contact us via our website.

We hope that you will find the time to reflect on 2020 and despite all odds and circumstances look confidently towards a new year full of possibilities. The entire team would like to wish you a happy and prosperous new year.