AiDiA, the first startup competition specifically for Afro-German founders, took place on September 3 in Hamburg. A total of 53,000 euros in prize money was distributed. First place went to Ohemaa Green Housing for its business idea of building homes from recycled plastic.
The idea for AiDiA was born two years ago as part of the activities of the Future of Ghana Germany (FoGG) association, which aims to give Black people in Germany more public visibility. A team of more than twenty people put together an event that received more than 60 applications and attracted a great deal of attention throughout the Afro-German community and beyond.
Afro-German issues in the focus of AiDiA
The competition was held in two categories. The idea pitch for projects that are still at the very beginning of their development, and the founder pitch for startups that are already somewhat more advanced. In most cases, the offerings were aimed primarily at Afro-German target groups. This was the case with the startups LITTLE ASHÉ and Tebalou. Both present products that Afro-German children can identify with. At LITTLE ASHÉ, it's stuffed dolls; at Tebalou, the range is broader and includes books.
Elephants Ear also offers books with an African connection, albeit for an older readership. Psychological help is offered by two other AiDiA candidates: DE_Construct is a platform for online courses with a racism-sensitive focus; V-TAY connects people with mental health issues to support each other. Finally, Miniglotte again addresses children, or more precisely, their parents. Learning boxes are used to promote multilingualism among children.
Winning solutions for housing in Africa
The winning topic of the evening was housing construction. Africa, with its ever-growing population, has an enormous need for affordable housing that is also more environmentally friendly than the usual concrete buildings. At Isopterra, favorite in the idea pitch, local building material alternatives such as clay offer the solution. The main prize of 30,000 euros went to Oheema Green Housing. Here, recycled plastic is used as a building material, which also addresses another major challenge, namely how to deal with the growing mountain of plastic waste.
In addition to the main sponsors PayPal and Snipes, AiDiA was also supported by Hamburg Invest with its Startup-Unit, among others. With its unusually high prize money, an inspiring atmosphere and promising ideas, the competition was not only a complete success for the Afro-German community, but also for Hamburg as a startup location.