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This article was published on May 20, 2021

Why entrepreneurship in emerging markets matters

Watch the Grand Finale of Seedstars World Competition 2021 here

Why entrepreneurship in emerging markets matters
Saniya Giniat

The Seedstars World Competition, is the biggest global event for startups from emerging markets. Every year that top five startups from Africa, Asia, CEE, Latin America, and the Middle East showcase their innovative solutions and business acumen in a live pitch competition. If you missed the 2020/21 finale, watch it here:


Do we actually need a startup competition focused on emerging markets?

The tech entrepreneurship scene is largely dominated by Western startup stories, unicorns with unbelievable valuations and highly charismatic founders. What about the rest of the world? More than 85% of the world’s population lives in so-called developing countries, or what we refer to as emerging markets. Emerging because they carry deep historical burdens that have, in the past, prevented them from competing on a global level with international powers. But they now have immense potential to lead the future of our planet.

That’s why this year TNW partnered up with Seedstars, a fully-remote startup investor and accelerator that has been running the largest startup competition in emerging markets since 2013. After a startup selection process with over 5,000 applicants, 90+ local competitions, 10+ ecosystem networking events, 20 regional selection events, and five regional finals, five startups were left to compete for the title of Seedstars Global Winner.

The winning startup was awarded a prize of $500K in equity investment and joined the investment portfolio of Seedstars International, currently comprising 67 high growth ventures from over 30 emerging markets. 

“We are extremely grateful to our partners and global community who supported the realization of the competition this year in spite of all the challenges and physical limitations. This is the first time the tour takes a completely online format, which demonstrates an incredible eagerness from entrepreneurs to roll-up their sleeves and get down to compete with thousands of other entrepreneurs from around the world,” says Alisée de Tonnac, co-CEO and co-founder of Seedstars.

It’s this eagerness and willingness to create a positive impact in their societies that motivates these entrepreneurs to keep on working in spite of the difficulties encountered in their regions. It’s imperative that more attention, resources, and investments are dedicated to the next generations that have the power to shape our world’s future.

This year’s global finalists were: PEGASI from Venezuela, IMAN from Uzbekistan, Finology from Malaysia, Ladda from Nigeria, and Fulfillment Bridge from Tunisia. 

By watching the recording, you’ll also get to see an expert panel discussion on how to keep up with an ever-changing labor market, and how we can help entrepreneurs and institutions upskill to prepare for the future of work. 

This event was made possible thanks to Seedstars’ partners the Canton of VAUD, HEG-FR: The School Of Management Fribourg, Mada, and Presence Switzerland.

Check out TNW’s write up on the finalists to learn more about the finalists! 

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