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Make-IT Initiative

At a glance

The Make-IT Initiative supports the establishment of local and digital innovation ecosystems for inclusive and sustainable development in the partner countries of German Development Cooperation.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implements the initiative on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

By identifying and harnessing digital products, services and key technologies and networking with international partners, innovation ecosystems are strengthened locally.

The initiative is implemented regionally by Make-IT in Africa and Make-IT in Asia. This is done together with the Make-IT Alliance, an alliance of (primarily) European technology companies, start-ups, associations, research & science, and non-governmental organizations.

The initiative pursues a multi-layered approach: On the one hand, it promotes the establishment of a good entrepreneurial environment (ecosystem) for young companies and innovative digital business ideas through targeted policy advice. On the other hand, we support the local innovation and entrepreneur ecosystem by improving access to training, mentoring, accelerator programs, potential business partners, networks, markets and financing. In addition, the Make-IT Alliance supports the further development and dissemination of innovative ideas by implementing projects together with local partners and the BMZ.

Make-IT Alliance

The Make-IT Alliance is a network of (primarily) European partners from the digital economy. It brings together the digital community around the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The common goal is to support the development of innovation ecosystems in the partner countries of the BMZ in order to solve local challenges with digital innovations.

By joining, partners not only enter into a long-term cooperation with BMZ, they become part of a heterogeneous network of partners that jointly pool their expertise and innovative power with a view to sustainable digital development. The focus is on promoting local innovation in the partner countries. At the same time, the Make-IT alliance members have the opportunity to set up their own innovative projects and thus discover local markets in the partner countries.

Make-IT in Africa

As part of the BMZ’s Digital Africa initiative, the Make-IT in Africa regional project promotes technology startups and entrepreneurial ecosystems in the five African countries of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tunisia. Going further, startups from other African countries are supported via pan-African measures.

Since 2017, Make-IT in Africa has succeeded in creating a wealth of resources: In addition to support programs to develop relevant digital management and strategy skills, young entrepreneurs can access practical startup support manuals (known as toolkits) and country-specific investment guides. Since September 2020, there is now also an online version, the Investment Guide Africa.

The Make-IT Alliance contributes to the success of the initiative in many ways. One example is the joint #africa4future accelerator with Airbus Bizlab, a three-month funding program for tech startups in the fields of agriculture and remote sensing. #africa4future aims to foster African entrepreneurship in the fields of agriculture and remote sensing. The 2020 cohort was selected from 212 submissions from 28 African countries and received targeted funding and the opportunity to pitch their innovative business ideas to potential business partners at the virtual Africa4Future Showcase 2020.

In total, Make-IT has provided selective support to more than 400 technology startups in Africa to date. The innovative start-ups have also created around 4600 jobs in various sectors such as eHealth, FinTech, AgriTech, EduTech or Smart Energy.

Make-IT in Asia

Through Make-IT in Asia, the successful approach of the Make-IT initiative with a focus on climate, energy and green tech will be extended to the Asian continent. Together with the Digital Center Indonesia and the Digital Center Vietnam, projects under Make-IT in Asia will be implemented in these two countries from 2022. The focus is on promoting sustainable digital ecosystems on the ground.

Make-IT already conducted an ideas competition in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta for the first time in 2018 in the areas of energy and the environment. The local implementation partner of the ideas competition was Impact Hub Jakarta, a co-working space and incubator that is part of the Make-IT Alliance through Impact Hub Global. The Make-IT Alliance jury evaluated a total of 100 submissions from Indonesia and about 40 submissions from Southeast Asia in the categories of renewable energy, waste management, and agriculture and forestry. ADB, Siemens, the East Asia Association, SAP, DIHK, Afrolynk, GIZ, Bosch, and World Summit Awards, among others, got involved. The pre-selected tech startup teams will present their ideas on November 3, 2018 as part of the official social program of the high-level business conference Asia-Pacific Conference. The event was successfully held together with the federal-state program “StartupAsia Berlin”.

Meanwhile, a local funding program is co-funded by Make-IT Alliance member New Energy Nexus. The common goal is to support innovative technology startups from Indonesia’s energy sector to improve access to clean energy.