IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $1 million into Anava Seed Fund (ASF), an accelerator and early stage fund managed by Flat6Labs Tunisia, to help support tech entrepreneurship and women entrepreneurs in particular, as well as to boost Tunisia’s nascent venture capital ecosystem. Half of this amount is provided by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), a partnership among governments, multilateral development banks, and other public and private sector stakeholders, hosted by the World Bank Group. We-Fi supports women entrepreneurs in developing countries by building their capacity, scaling up access to financial products and services, and providing links with domestic and global markets.
Flat6Labs Tunisia, a partnership between Flat6Labs — the region’s largest acceleration program and early stage investment platform — BIAT, TAEF (Tunisian American Enterprise Fund), Meninx Holding and Le15, is increasing its seed fund size to $10 million to support up close to 100 technology companies, and to help address the lack of early stage capital in Tunisia.
Ramez El-Serafy, CEO at Flat6Labs, said, “We believe that our partnership with IFC will enable us to continue providing entrepreneurs with a better support program and encourage more candidates, especially women, to apply and thrive through it.”
As part of the We-Fi program, IFC will also work with Flat6Labs Tunisia to support women entrepreneurs and help overcome the challenges they face through a gender-led strategy to foster greater inclusion and create more opportunities.
“Early stage funding is vital to building a robust startup ecosystem and to help entrepreneurs establish companies that can develop innovative solutions and create quality jobs,” said Georges Joseph Ghorra, IFC’s Resident Representative in Tunisia. “We aim to address the funding gaps in this space, especially for women entrepreneurs, to continue to spur innovation and economic growth in Tunisia and the region.”
The investment in Flat6Labs Tunisia is part of IFC’s $30 million Startup Catalyst initiative, which backs accelerators and seed funds in emerging markets to catalyze the venture capital ecosystem and spur entrepreneurial activity. It aims to help bridge issues of insufficient seed capital and business know-how and drive innovation by supporting the crucial early stage of local VC ecosystems. The Flat6Labs Tunisia investment follows two other investments through the Startup Catalyst program in the MENA region — Flat6Labs Cairo, Flat6Labs’ flagship accelerator program based in Cairo, and Ibtikar Capital, an early stage fund in Palestine.