The Startup Act in DRC: an innovative approach for the new generation of entrepreneurs

To celebrate the adoption of the DRC Startup Act and influence the co-creation of the implementing decrees, which are the next step in its operationalisation, Africa RISE, in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands hosted on the 23rd of November in Kinshasa the DRC Startup Act conference. An event that brought together pan-African and Congolese actors of innovative entrepreneurship.


Youth unemployment is one of the biggest problems facing many African countries today. In some countries, more than half of the population is younger than 25, and there are not enough jobs for all these young people entering the employment market. Entrepreneurship can positively contribute as part of the solution to this problem, as entrepreneurs can respond quickly to new economic opportunities.


A long consultation and inclusive process was led by I4Policy to support the development of start-up policies in various African countries. According to I4Policy, these policies contribute to a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable development of economies and societies. For I4Policy, youth, entrepreneurs and innovation communities are central to solution building, policy making and lasting change. 


In DRC, given the economy's fragility, the current formal sector cannot provide professional opportunities to all of its population. Therefore, additional solutions that stimulate youth employment are urgently needed. According to François Ngenyi from Ingenious City "we must consider that there are not 10 000 jobs in the DRC but 10 000 opportunities for those who decide to embark on the adventure of entrepreneurship. Start-ups in the Congolese environment are creating a new dynamic with the possibility of creating employment and bring real development to the country". The Congolese government now aims to promote the development of start-ups with the promulgation of the law on the promotion of start-ups (known as the Startup Act DRC


To support Congolese entrepreneurship ecosystem stakeholders, Africa RISE has launched a project to support implementation measures related to the DRC Start-up Act. The expected result of this assignment is to  a comprehensive set of measures for the successful implementation of the Startup Act, covering practical, technical, fiscal, and regulatory actions to be taken by national, provincial, and local government ministries, departments, and agencies.


The main objective behind the DRC Startup Act conference was to raise awareness and inform entrepreneurs and other ecosystem players about the recently passed law and the changes it will bring. According to Bonny Maya, entrepreneur in the DRC, "the legal framework in Congo treats the start-up or SME like a large company from a fiscal and parafiscal point of view. Therefore, it was important for start-ups to have the Startup Act, which allows us to benefit from certain tax exemptions". Additionally, the event's objective was to launch a participatory process with the many stakeholders in order to promote the Startup Act DRC's implementation together.


The event engaged the participation of diplomatic and government officials, stakeholders, and ecosystem actors. Participated in the event, along other ecosystem players, S.E.M. Jolke Oppewal (Dutch Ambassador to the DRC), S.EM. Eutache MUHANZI (Minister of Entrepreneurship and SMEs), Maeva Kpadonou from i4Policy, and local business owners like Bonny Maya and Ursula Kabengele. During the event, the project was also presented by consultants from Africa RISE.