Archipelagos SME program for entrepreneurs 2024-2025

Archipelagos stands as a multi-year international collaboration initiative spearheaded by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, the Italian Financial Institution for International Development Cooperation, with backing from the European Commission.


A selection of over 1000 SMEs spanning the African continent will partake in an exclusive capacity-building program aimed at enhancing their competencies and bolstering their preparedness for engagement within capital markets.

These chosen SMEs will embark on a personalized learning trajectory facilitated by the Archipelagos digital platform. Here, they will gain access to comprehensive training, mentoring sessions, and networking prospects.

Upon completion of the program, the most promising SMEs will receive specialized support geared towards raising capital through innovative debt instruments, bolstered by a guarantee facility from the European Commission.


Aligned with the principles of the Team Europe Initiative’s Investing in Young Business in Africa (TEI IYBA), the capacity-building program will also extend its reach to young university graduates and aspiring entrepreneurs. This extension aims to fortify their business acumen and refine their expertise.

What you get

Join the Archipelagos program, an epic chance to boost your business! This scholarship hooks you up with top-notch training and mentoring, plus a sweet networking gig on a digital platform. If you’re a young entrepreneur or a uni grad in Africa, get ready for a game-changing journey. At the finish line, the brightest SMEs score major support to rake in capital market funds – all thanks to innovative debt instruments backed by the European Commission.

Archipelagos Entrepreneurial Program

Minimum Age:17 and above.
Required GPA:None.
Eligibility Country:All countries.
Scholarship Deadline:June 30, 2024

Requirements for Archipelagos SME program for entrepreneurs

For SMEs aiming to engage in this Program, adherence to five prerequisites is mandatory:

  1. Maintaining an Africa-based presence, either through incorporation or primary operations situated within Africa.
  2. Exhibiting an annual turnover that ranges up to USD 50 million, with a prerequisite minimum threshold of USD 1 million to qualify for the financial guarantee.
  3. Operating for a minimum duration of two years.
  4. Functioning as a for-profit corporate entity or holding a for-profit legal status.
  5. Remaining free from any sanctions or restrictions imposed.


Human capacity building

The Program revolves around three foundational pillars: training, mentoring, and networking. Its framework employs a hybrid model that seamlessly blends asynchronous and synchronous elements, ensuring a comprehensive and interactive learning journey.


Operated via the Archipelagos digital platform, SMEs gain entry to an extensive repository of online courses, offering tailored learning paths aligned with their specific developmental needs. Complementing this asynchronous component are webinars designed to heighten engagement and interactivity, enriching the learning experience.

Beyond training, participating SMEs will benefit from tailored support and integration into a community comprising fellow SMEs and investors. This community serves as a valuable avenue for fostering crucial business connections, both domestically and internationally.

In alignment with the principles of the Team Europe Initiative’s Investing in Young Business in Africa (TEI IYBA), young university graduates and emerging entrepreneurs will similarly access this capacity-building platform. This avenue aims to enrich their business acumen and entrepreneurial expertise.

Access to capital markets

Upon completion of the capacity-building Program, SMEs exhibiting the requisite readiness and promise to access capital markets will receive specialized assistance tailored to guide them through the fundraising process.

These selected SMEs will benefit from dedicated mentorship and coaching aimed at optimal preparation for engaging potential investors. This includes comprehensive support in crafting compelling investment pitches that resonate with investors.

Furthermore, these SMEs will receive support in structuring innovative debt instruments. Leveraging the first-loss financial guarantee facility from the European Commission, this support will enable them to secure funding at favorable terms, fostering an environment conducive to attracting additional investors.

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