Katapult launches impact accelerator in Mauritius
During the last years, Katapult has developed several close partnerships in Mauritius and the region. Katapult is now launching the Katapult Mauritius Accelerator at Ferney Agri-hub in partnership with CIEL, IBL Group, Currimjee Group and MCB Group.
The Katapult Mauritius Accelerator is an impact accelerator program focusing on Regenerative Food- and Agri-Tech for regional and international startups targeting the African markets. The accelerator is part of a larger plan to strengthen Mauritius as a focal point for sustainable innovation and transformation.
Following COP26 in Glasgow, cities and countries across the globe are now looking for tangible examples of how sustainable transformation can be achieved and what a thriving society looks and feels like. Since 2019, Katapult has been in a dialogue with the Mauritian government, private sector, academia and entrepreneurial scene in Mauritius to learn and explore how Mauritius could become such an example.
As an island nation, situated strategically between India and the African continent, with a stable democracy, strong financial sector and an increased focus on food sovereignty and sustainability Mauritius can quickly become an example for change. This is a journey Katapult is committed to be part of and has therefore established a separate entity in Mauritius as part of its wider strategy for Africa. The launch of a Katapult Mauritius Accelerator is a concrete step on this journey.
The Katapult Mauritius accelerator programme will accelerate and invest in about 10 regional and international startups. The startups will leverage the network of Katapult and our Mauritian partners, connect with the Mauritius innovation ecosystem and use Mauritius as an access point to the African markets. The startups will live and work on the island during the three month program, and be connected to both national and international mentors. A coworking space will be set up for the accelerator at Ferney Agri Hub located on the southern part of Mauritius.
“Mauritius is a country that can become a global example for meaningful sustainable transformation. One part of this transformation will be to strengthen Mauritius as a connector and test site for regional and international start-ups who develop solutions that can spur regenerative change in our food systems,” says Katapult Mauritius Country Director Thomas Berman.
“Currently accounting for 15% of the continent’s GDP, Africa’s food ecosystem still greatly suffers from unstructured markets and inefficient value chains. However, a population prone to adopt innovative solutions, an increasing global supply of talents, and a rise of technologies improving the quality of early-stage opportunities, are all indicators of the huge potential of foodtech in Africa.” says Katapult Mauritius Investment Director Fabrice Boullé.
Katapult Mauritius Accelerator is a building block in making Mauritius a focal point for sustainable innovation and the future economy. An impact ecosystem that aims to create a tipping point for sustainable change, by:
- building financial capacity through impact investing
- implementing infrastructure for collaboration that is open for all
- strengthening the ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation
- connecting existing available solutions to core challenges
- connecting and bridging Mauritius to the global ecosystem for sustainable innovation and investing
Katapult is an investment company, focused on highly scalable impact tech startups. Katapult currently has 138 companies in its portfolio, spread across 35 countries.
Katapult’s accelerator programs secure a world leading deal flow and strengthen investment in highly-promising impact tech startups. Katapult established the Katapult Foundation in 2020, gathering its non-profit initiatives under one arm. The Foundation is focused on building the impact community, field building and education efforts around impact investment.
CIEL, IBL, Currimjee Group and MCB are four large private groups in Mauritius and the main partners in the Katapult Mauritius Accelerator Program.
Ferney Ltd (CIEL)
Ferney Ltd is a subsidiary of CIEL, an International Mauritian Group founded in 1912 and present in 6 strategic sectors namely Agro, Healthcare, Finance, Hospitality, Property and Textile. CIEL Group is listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius and operates across 10 emerging markets across Africa and Asia.
Ferney offers an integrated and conducive agri-tech eco-system for small and large agri-operators willing to nurture sustainable agricultural practices. Home to fertile land, abundant water resources and rich biodiversity, the Ferney Agri-Hub provides approx. 40Ha of dedicated land while facilitating access to shared services and co-working spaces.
“We are extremely excited to be a partner to the Katapult Mauritius Accelerator initiative as a lead investor and by hosting it at Ferney Agri-Hub, where we have already developed a unique sustainable farming eco-system. We strongly believe this international strategic partnership will further enhance and accelerate the transformation of our traditional agriculture model by leveraging on technologies. The Accelerator will certainly act as a catalyst to foster innovation, ideas and ultimately build Agri and Food Tech capabilities in Mauritius. We very much look forward engaging with international start-ups, local partners and agri or tech entrepreneurs on this important agenda for our country,” says Guillaume Dalais, CEO Ciel Properties.
IBL is a proudly born and raised Mauritian group. If Mauritius is the main driver of its performance, its entrepreneurial culture has guided the group outside the Mauritian shores. IBL Group now works and invests in nine business clusters across 18 countries worldwide, namely on the African continent where it operates in the seafood business in Cote d’Ivoire, in the financial sector in Uganda and Kenya and in agriculture in Tanzania and Kenya.
Since 1830, IBL Group has gone from strength to strength by anticipating market trends, investing strategically, and hiring talented and dedicated people to achieve its goals. Today, IBL is an international group with a robust investment portfolio, a culture of excellence, and world-class expertise.
“IBL is proud to be a partner of Katapult Mauritius Accelerator because this project connects with the group’s values and strategy. As agriculture and its entire value chain concern everyone, we must support innovative initiatives in this field while positioning Mauritius in this global ecosystem. We are also honoured that the first-ever African accelerator is happening in Mauritius – IBL has business and cultural connections with the continent that we’re currently deepening. Above all, driven by an entrepreneurial culture since our beginning in 1830, we wish our partnership with Katapult on this project will help entrepreneurs reinforce their solutions in agri-tech,” shares Arnaud Lagesse, Group CEO of IBL.
Currimjee Group is a family-owned business founded by the Currimjee family with over 130 years of existence. The Group currently operates in seven business sectors: Telecoms, Media & IT, Real Estate, Hospitality & Tourism, Commerce & Financial Services, Energy, Food & Beverages and Home & Personal Care.
With deep-rooted values, a clear vision, strong governance, and a professional and multicultural management team, the Group aims to continue its development in a sustainable manner so as to leave an even stronger legacy to the future generations.
“The Board very quickly took the decision for Currimjee Jeewanjee & Co ltd to become a lead investor in Katapult. Katapult’s Accelerator fund’s role to invest in, support and accelerate the development of innovative startups in sustainable agriculture is very aligned to one our Group’s core values, that capital must have purpose. It also strongly connects across the Currimjee Group to both our Telco cluster which has considerably invested in the digital backbone of Mauritius which is the foundation of digital innovation and our significant Food and Beverage cluster. And we are proud to be part of the effort which shows how relevant Mauritius can be as a crucible for innovation and sustainable development in the Indian Ocean and Africa," says Azim F. Currimjee, Director, Currimjee Jeewanjee & Co Ltd and MD of Currimjee Food & Beverages.
Anchored on more than 183 years of accomplishments, The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd is the leading bank in Mauritius and the main entity of MCB Group. Over the years, MCB Group’s diversification strategy has ensured it becomes an increasingly prominent financial services player in the region. It is one of the most traded stocks in Mauritius and is the largest listed company on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius, with a market capitalization of USD 1.6 billion as at June 2021, which represents a share of around 29%. The Group wields a sound business model, which has enabled it to successfully tap into the potential of non-banking financial services, whilst consolidating its domestic banking operations and expanding beyond local shores.
Today, MCB Group offers a wide array of financial solutions, including retail, business and corporate banking, factoring, leasing, global business, wealth management and investment products. MCB Group is also a regional financial group with a widening international foothold and presence spanning to Madagascar, Maldives and Seychelles through dedicated subsidiaries, as well as Réunion, Mayotte, Mozambique, France, South Africa, Kenya and Dubai, via its associates and representative offices. The Group has a strong commitment towards having a positive economic, social, environmental and cultural impact through its sustainable development program, Success Beyond Numbers.
Jean-Michel Ng Tseung, Chief Executive, MCB Investment Holding Ltd: “MCB Group is thrilled to be part of Katapult’s initiative to launch the Mauritius impact accelerator program at Ferney agri-hub. During MCB’s 183 years of existence, we have been pioneering numerous transformational projects for the benefit of our people, our country and the region. That is precisely what we are expecting from this initiative. We are a staunch supporter of the Katapult Mauritius Accelerator as we are convinced this project is a concrete step to making the country a good example for change, and a powerful lever for sustainable transformation and innovation”.