Dream-VC, a remote Venture Capital Upskilling institute has launched a new fellowship program aimed at providing increased access and opportunities to underrepresented individuals in the African VC space.
The free fellowship program by Dream-VC is focused on young African and the diaspora. It also seeks to provide a support system for aspiring local investors and increase opportunities for young individuals to break into the African VC space.
Conducted over four months, the Dream VC Fellowship will run from June to September 2021 and claims to be the most comprehensive VC fellowship program in the world.
Mark Kleyner, co-founder of Dream VC comments on the importance of facilitating inclusion in the VC space and growing the number of local investors.
“Incredible programs such as Included VC have highlighted the importance of providing access opportunities to traditionally marginalized populations to get their foot into venture capital. They are completely changing the game, and the venture capital context right now on the continent still lacks a strong base of young investors who want to become future ecosystem builders in their communities. The gap exists because there are not enough opportunities for these young people to build the knowledge, skills base, or get access to these elusive VC funds.”
The program will equip participants with the basics from conducting due diligence and drafting investment memos, all the way to understanding the legalities of setting up a VC fund.
In the course of the program, participants will be exposed to weekly training sessions and project assignments that reflect the work done by VC analysts and associates.
In addition, participants will take part in engaging workshops and community-led upskilling mixers, as well as exclusive panel discussions with top African VCs and serial entrepreneurs on topics such as gender lens investing and more.
Cindy Ai, cofounder of Dream VC explains the importance of growing the number of young African investors and what role the fellowship aims to play in this goal.
“Everyone is talking about investing in the next generation of African startups, but not enough people are talking about empowering the next generation of young African investors. The median age of the African population is in its teens and there’s a massive youth unemployment issue. People are saying entrepreneurship can help solve that. But beyond that, what if we invest in the young people from the community who will later be writing those checks to entrepreneurial peers?”
Ai provides insight into how difficult it is to enter the VC space.
“There exists a plethora of VC fellowships in places such as the United States and even student-run VC funds that source and invest in startups built by their peers. These opportunities are crucial stepping stones into venture capital, which is a notoriously difficult industry to break into. Traditionally, if an individual doesn’t have the network, access, background, or know how to ‘hack the competition’, the idea of breaking into VC can seem like a pipe dream.”
“Dream-VC exists to change this and democratize access to this industry through the Dream-VC Fellowship program, which is entirely free and fully remote,” Ai concluded.
The ultimate goal of the program is to build a talent pipeline of young investors that have the insight and background of the challenges faced in the local community and to drive transformation in the VC industry.