Open Startup (OST) is reinforcing its dedication to nurturing the African startup ecosystem with the launch of the OST Program. In collaboration with Columbia Engineering and Columbia Business School in New York, this initiative aims to support early-stage startups and promising talents from Tunisia, Senegal, and Morocco. The program is designed to propel 30 selected startups from a proof of concept stage to a minimum viable product (MVP) through an intensive 18-week hybrid course.

Structure and Timeline

Running from September 2024 to January 2025, the OST Program will provide zero-equity funding totaling $50,000 distributed among the finalists. This financial support is aimed at boosting their growth without taking any equity. In addition to the funding, the program offers customized training, expert mentoring, access to an extensive international network, and opportunities for international exposure through trips to New York, Tunisia, and Morocco.

Application Process

Early-stage startups with proof of concept and individuals possessing both soft and technical skills are encouraged to apply. Applications will close on July 21, 2024. Interested participants can find more details and apply through the provided link.

Program Benefits

Participants will receive tailored training and mentoring from industry experts, supported by MBA students from Columbia Business School. This guidance will help startups refine their business models, enhance their product offerings, and better understand market dynamics.

International Exposure and Networking

The program includes trips to New York, Tunisia, and Morocco, providing participants with invaluable international exposure and networking opportunities. This aspect of the program aims to broaden their horizons and establish connections that can foster international collaborations.

Financial Support

A total of $50,000 in zero-equity funding will be distributed among the selected startups. This financial boost will enable them to focus on growth and development without the pressure of giving up equity.

Testimonials from Past Participants

“The OST Program connected us with experts, speeding up our market understanding and product fit. The mentorship offered and the global networking accelerated our growth and opened doors to international collaboration,” says Riadh Hamama, CEO & Founder of LoxBox Services, an alumni of the program.

Collaboration with French Tech Ecosystem

The OST Program is part of OST’s broader strategy to accelerate tech innovation in Africa. This includes a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the French public investment bank BPI France, aimed at bridging African innovation with the French tech ecosystem.

Global Immersion Week (GIW) and MOUs

In May 2024, OST hosted the Global Immersion Week (GIW) in Morocco, where it signed MOUs with key Moroccan entities, including Technopark Maroc and UM6P – Mohammed VI Polytechnic University. These agreements further OST’s mission to support entrepreneurial development and the growth of African startups.