CatalyzU x Future Africa

‘How to Startup’ Fellowship

CatalyzU x Future Africa

‘How to Startup’ Fellowship


14 May 2024


7 Weeks


7 May 2024






A comprehensive fellowship designed in partnership with Future Africa, ‘How to Startup’ will equip founders, aspiring founders, as well as startup employees with the essential skills, practical insights, and knowledge needed to build scalable businesses in Africa – from those who’ve done it. Develop strategies to carve out a unique market position, effectively navigate competition, and expand regionally, drawing inspiration and insights from real-world case studies. Through a series of live lectures, office hours, and practical assignments, Fellows will delve into key aspects of startup development, from idea validation all the way through to a Unicorn valuation!

Learning outcome

Gain a deep understanding of the African startup landscape and its nuances, setting the stage for informed decision-making and strategic planning. Master the crucial steps involved in validating startup ideas, crafting Minimum Viable Products (MVPs), and embarking on the journey of product development with confidence. Understand the essential legal and accounting principles integral to startup financial management, and gain clarity on the intricacies of fundraising, including when, how, and from whom to raise capital.

Alumni Support Ecosystem

Following the completion of the Fellowship, all successful graduates will ascend to the designation of a ‘Young African Catalyst’ – the name for alumni of CatalyzU. This includes (complimentary) access to the entirety of the esteemed Young African Catalyst network, comprised of the leading founders and venture capitalists from across all four corners of the continent. 

Your Lecturers

1:1 Access to VC Leaders

Office Hours with the CatalyzU Team

Become a Young African Catalyst

Live Lectures with Africa’s Best Founders & VCs

Curriculum Outline


To earn a certificate, students must attend 80% of sessions. Assignments will be graded as an outstanding effort, pass or not passed only. Assignments submitted after the deadline will not be considered. CatalyzU may roll out additional exclusive benefits over the course of the program which will be by invitation and based on overall fellowship participation.



  • Stable internet connection

  • Availability to join synchronous, online lectures

  • Diligence to submit assignments and quizzes before the due date

  • No prior startup experience required


The Fellowship is delivered over 12 ±2 hour sessions across 7 weeks. This translates into up to four hours of scheduled sessions per week which is delivered virtually. The sessions are delivered live.

Student Experience

Grace Jerolgan Nganakala

"This is a great opportunity. As a founder and aspiring player in the VC space, I’ve learned a lot from this fellowship, the lectures, assignments and the network have helped me better understand the VC ecosystem and their investment approach. I strongly recommend"

Adesola Adesanya

"As I reflect on my time in CatalyzU’s fellowship, I am incredibly grateful for the professional growth it has facilitated. It has been a rewarding journey filled with knowledge, connections, and inspiration. One of the most significant outcomes of my participation in the fellowship has been the honing of my skills in venture capital. I now feel more confident in my abilities and better equipped to navigate the complexities of this dynamic field."

Kwame Gyamfi

"The Venture Fellowship is highly recommended if you want to understand the dynamics of Africa Venture Capital. In addition to the insights, I had the opportunity to learn from top-notch investors on the continent. The icing on the cake is the Africa-wide alum community I belong to; these young, competent professionals are poised for impact."


Mouhammad Dieng

"Contextualized learning. Amazing trainers. Reactive team. Valuable content."

James van Heerden

"The VC Fellowship was comprehensive and full of incredible people who I was able to learn a lot from and add to my personal network. The CatalyzU team have created a rich learning experience that is a lot of fun to complete."

Richard Omondi Orido

"I'm glad I did the fellowship because I got actionable insights on what it takes to build a successful software business on the continent."


What is the duration of the 'How to Startup' Fellowship?

The fellowship is designed to be comprehensive and immersive. It spans over 7 weeks, allowing participants to delve deeply into various aspects of startup development.

What will I learn from this fellowship?

Throughout the fellowship, you will gain a deep understanding of the African startup landscape and its nuances, which will enable you to make informed decisions and strategic plans. You will master the steps involved in validating startup ideas, crafting Minimum Viable Products (MVPs), navigating legal and accounting principles crucial for startup financial management, and gaining clarity on venture capital fundraising strategies.

What is the format of the practical assignments?

Practical assignments are designed to be hands-on and relevant to real-world startup scenarios. They may include case studies, business simulations, and project-based tasks aimed at reinforcing the concepts covered in the lectures.

Do you offer scholarships / financial aid?

We offer need-based financial aid on a case-by-case basis. This process is determined post a candidate’s acceptance into the fellowship. There are no full scholarships available – the maximum scholarship a candidate can receive is 30% off the total tuition fee.

What support is available for participants outside of lectures?

Participants will have access to office hours, where they can seek personalized guidance and feedback from mentors and instructors. Additionally, there will be online forums and community spaces where Fellows can collaborate, share insights, and network with each other.

Who is this fellowship designed for?

The fellowship is tailored for startup founders, aspiring founders, or startup employees who are eager to build scalable businesses in Africa. Whether you have a startup idea you’re looking to validate or you’re already on the journey, this program is designed to equip you with the necessary skills and insights.

How are the lectures delivered?

The lectures are conducted through live online sessions, allowing for real-time interaction with experienced industry professionals and experts. There are two, two-hour lectures per week which take place, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 18:00 SAST. Additionally, the recorded lecturers will be available +/ 1 – 3 days after each live lecture for additional revision where needed.

How can I apply for the fellowship?

The application process involves submitting an online application form.

When will I hear back from CatalyzU?

Typically within 3-10 days of applying as applications are processed on a rolling basis until we reach capacity.

What is a Young African Catalyst?
  • A Young African Catalyst is a member of our esteemed Young African Catalysts Community, which is CatalyzU’s Alumni Community. By way of characteristics, it is a young leader in the African startup & venture ecosystem.
  • During our pilot, this community was restricted to the VC ecosystem and by invitation only. It has now been expanded to graduates from CatalyzU programs, as well as VC experts and startup founders from the African ecosystem.
Is there any post-fellowship support for alumni?

Yes, upon successful completion of the fellowship, graduates will join the esteemed ‘Young African Catalysts’ network. This includes complimentary access to a vibrant community of leading founders and venture capitalists from over 15 African countries, providing ongoing support and opportunities for collaboration in key areas such as hiring, venture capital fundraising, and networking opportunities.