SABII – Swiss Africa Business Innovation Initiative

SABII is a joint program to foster startup entrepreneurship and cooperation in Sub-Saharan Africa and Switzerland. In a competitive scheme science-based business founders are selected based on their prior experience (own company incorporation, MOOC certificates, course attendance certificates at Higher Education Institutions or proof of business coaching through agencies).

African startups are invited to attend the Advanced Workshop in Africa in the environment of the Afrilabs Annual Gathering. During the 3-days workshop, mentoring is provided by experienced Swiss and African entrepreneurs. At the end, the eight most promising and innovative pitches to a Swiss-African jury are selected and the business heads invited to Switzerland for a one-week stay with business peers. Insights into the local startup ecosystem and creation of linkages and synergies with local stakeholders are provided by our partner Venturelab.

Swiss Startups are invited to attend the Afrilabs Annual Gathering where a Swiss – African Business Corner allows to showcase own products and business ideas to peers of one’s own field. In a preparatory workshop roughly one month before departing to Africa major stakeholders of the Swiss and African markets provide an overview and introduce to market opportunities. Participants of the Innosuisse Coaching program are very much welcome to apply!

African Market Discovery for Swiss Startups

Program and Eligibility

The Africa Market Discovery Camp aims to boost the entrepreneurial know-how and exposure of 10 Swiss Sciencepreneurs seeking growth opportunities with and in Africa.

Offered free of charge to ambitious young entrepreneurs, this highly competitive program guarantees access to African innovation hotspots at a key event for entrepreneurs and investors, the AfriLabs Annual Gathering. Industry meetings with selected experts and stakeholders from different fields, information sessions on “How to do business in Africa”, interaction with African startups and entrepreneurs will lead to relevant connections for potential cooperation.

Selected young entrepreneurs receive a unique opportunity for exposure to top African entrepreneurial expertise and markets. A half-day workshop in Switzerland will introduce to market specificities.

The program is open to high-level and carefully selected researchers in the fields of mobile health, pharmacometrics, innovative financing and digital humanities/knowledge transfer: Master, PhD, Postdoctoral researchers at Universities, Universities of Applied Science and research institutes or centres of technological excellence in Switzerland with research track record working on a non-profit basis and seeking to explore the successful market application of their high-level applied research in African markets.

The program revolves around the participation at the Afrilabs Annual Gathering event in major African business hub and will be completed by additional business meetings, peer group mentorings and general exchange with African entrepreneurs. A Swiss exhibition booth will be available for individual showcasing.

Africa Market Discovery Camp 2020 – Marrakesh


Preparatory Workshop in Basel / Allschwil

Wednesday 23rd of September 2020 14h00 – 17h00

SABII Africa Market Discovery Camp

Preparatory Workshop for Swiss start-up companies

Location: Allschwil Innovation Park (details tbd)

Please note that this is a preliminary agenda and still subject to changes.

13h30 Arrival of participants
14h00 Welcome by host

Mr. Erich Thaler, University of Basel/ National and Int. Cooperation

14h10 Words of Welcome

Swiss Embassy in Morocco (confirmed); Moroccan Embassy in Switzerland (tbc)

14h30 Mr. Philip Morger/ Mr. Suhail El Obeid, Switzerland Global Enterprise

Promoting Swiss Enterprises Abroad; the example of Morocco

14h50 Mr. Michael Rheinegger/ Ms. Helina Bischoff, Swiss African Business Circle

Swiss enterprises in Northern Africa: A reality check

15h10 Health break
15h30 Ms. Pauline Koelbl, CEO afriprospect

Scaling Businesses in Africa: A case for a regional approach 

15:50 Ms. Susanne Grossmann, FINANCEcontact

SECO Start-up Fund. Investment projects in African target countries

16h10 Mr. Erich Thaler, University of Basel/ National and Int. Cooperation

Fact Sheet SABII: Practical things to know about your stay in Morocco

The Joint Swiss – African entrepreneurs’ workshop: 14th of October (online)

Input together with Mr. Nicolas Briner, Venturelab

16h30 Networking & Discussion
17h00 End of Workshop


Download the Preliminary Agenda Draft Here as a PDF

Past Camps

Africa Market Discovery Camp 2019 – Addis Ababa

The Africa Market Discovery Camp brings together Swiss entrepreneurs comitted to internationalizing their businesses and linking them up to Africa.

With the support of partners Switzerland Global Enterprise, swissnex, Venturelab, innosuisse and Afrilabs this international development is embedded in highly professional contexts both in Switzerland and Africa.

These are the selected participants for the African Market Discovery Camp 2019:

Daniel Spring | created the world’s first heavy-duty gyrocopter that doesn’t need a helicopter license to fly with nor requires complex maintenance.

Daniel Chiumia | Chiweto
Chiweto provides mobile telephony-based information and insurance services to small-holder farmers in developing countries.

Ludwig Clément | CommoChain
CommoChain is a communication platform between stakeholders of the international trade of commodities and raw materials.

Jimmy Loup | CosKin
CosKin allows a scientific analysis and diagnosis to guide salespeople and consumers to the right needed of cosmetic products.

Christian Greis | derma2go
Derma2go is an interactive, online consultations platform, that offers patients to contact their dermatologist without seeing him in-person.

Amin Kasimov | DIY Solar Lamps
Low cost DIY solar lamp to teach children the fundamentals of electronics, renewable energy and sustainability through hands-on approach.

Manu Perez Belmonte | enable | digital
enable | digital specializes in solving IT for companies that provides essential products and services to consumers in frontier markets.

Nina Hurwitz | Improving Cancer Care
Online diagnostic support in pathology using iPath, a software designed specifically for professional dialogue.

Michael Eschmann | MPower Ventures
MPower Ventures supplies to local franchisees a fully-fledged electricity grid solution so that they can focus on sales & distribution.

Call and Program 2019