Latitude59, Europe’s premier startup and tech event, is hosting its first ever high-level event on African soil with the Latitude59 Kenya Edition taking place in Nairobi on 6 December 2023.
This annual one-day event, which has been running for 11 years since its inception in Estonia in 2011, brings together players from across the entire digital and startup ecosystem to engage in knowledge- sharing and best practice conversations, and to unpack and explore solutions to those challenges facing the digital startup community, especially on the African continent.
Internationally, Latitude59 has been widely hailed as a catalyst for digital innovation across the European startup space that has catapulted a few startups onto a global stage.
Liisi Org, CEO of Latitude59, says the mission of the Latitude59 event is essentially to create a better world through technology and innovation.
“Since the first event back in 2011, we have experienced an explosion of energy and massive growth in the global digital startup space, with Africa being no exception,” Org says.
The Kenyan startup scene is considered one of the fastest growing and most evolved ecosystems on the African continent.
Kenya is seen as a mobile-first society, with a young, connected and digitally savvy population that is eager to help drive economic prosperity and societal change within their communities, and across the nation.
Org believes that whilst the main issues facing the digital and startup community in Africa vastly differ from those of its European counterparts, the underlying principles remain the same.
“The golden thread that connects us all is the search for creative solutions to address economic, environmental, and societal challenges. We’ve seen how digital integration and innovation creates jobs, empowers individuals, and connects previously marginalised societies with the wider global markets.
“With this move into Africa, and Kenya specifically, the Latitude59 event creates a platform which connects the Estonian and Kenyan startup ecosystems. We want to pave the way for open dialogue and knowledge and experience sharing to foster valuable relationships between all stakeholders,” Org says.
Latitute59 extends an invitation to stakeholders from across the entire African digital and startup ecosystem to attend this high-performance networking event.
“We invite all interested parties to register to attend the Latitude59 Kenya Edition, meet up with global startup founders, early-stage and established startups, and of course investors and fund managers and everyone else keen to explore the massive opportunities and mutual learnings to be gained from being part of the Latitude59 digital global village,” Org says.
The programme features top innovators and speakers from the international and African tech and startup communities on pertinent issues facing Kenya’s current ecosystem such as access to finance, digitalisation, sustainability and logistics and collaboration.
Latitute59 Pitch Competition and prize money
One of the highlights of the Latitude59 Kenya edition event will be a startup pitch competition, which presents the winning pitch with the chance to win an investment of €100,000 as well as a spot in the Startup Wise Guys accelerator program.
The Latitude59 Kenya Edition winners will also move on to compete in the main event pitching competition during the Latitude59 event taking place in Estonia in May 2024.
During the Latitude59 Spring 2023 event in Estonia in May, the top three winning startups received a combined total of €1,3.m in prize money. Incidentally, following the successful outcome of its participation at the Latitude59 event, one of these winning startups has just announced the completion of a pre-seed round of €755 000.
Petra Wolkenstein, General Partner of Estonia’s Startup Wise Guys Africa fund, says it is essential to create opportunities for startups to connect and build relationships with trusted partners to help ensure sustainable implementation and acceleration of their businesses. “We are excited to cooperate with Latitude59 in Kenya to provide startups a stage to share their vision and showcase their success,” Wolkenstein says.
Startup Wise Guys are calling all early-stage startup founders from the East African region to submit their applications for the pitch competition by no later than Saturday, 25 November.
The Latitude59 Kenya Edition would not have been possible without the support from the event partners.
One of the Latitude59’s prime project partners for this first African event, Admirals, is the Estonian-based global online trading and investment platform that has been active in the African market for a few years were core contributors to bringing the Latitude59 Kenya edition to life.
Elaborating on Admirals’ support for this first-of-its-kind event in Kenya, Boriss Gubaidulin, Admirals Director for the African region, says Estonia’s economic and trade relations with African countries are intensifying, with a growing mutual interest in exploring avenues of cooperation.
“We have witnessed an increased intent and commitment to drive innovation from both private and government level. This is evident from several supporting innovation and research policies currently being drafted and implemented. In Kenya specifically, initiatives aimed at innovators, researchers, and startups are being rolled out to fast-track innovation and digital transformation,” he says.
“This bodes well for the future of Kenya as Africa’s leading tech nation. The Latitude59 event hopes to build on this momentum and will lay the foundation for the bridge to connect our global startup ecosystems,” Gubaidulin concludes.
Gubaidulin will also be participating in the panel discussion on “Bridging the Gap in Financial Inclusion” along with other industry experts, who are expected to delve into the transformative role of digital finance in fostering greater financial inclusivity across the African continent. Entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone passionate about the future of finance will find this a prime opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how technology can drive meaningful change and empower individuals economically. Don’t miss out on this chance to be part of the conversation shaping the future of financial inclusion in Africa.
Latitude59 takes place on Wednesday, 6 December 2023, at the Sarit Expo Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.