Leading telecommunications operator Orange has opened its first Orange Digital Centre for Africa and the Middle East. The Orange Digital Centre in Tunisia has been set up as a centre to provide wide-ranging support for start-ups.
Orange explains that its new Orange Digital Centre in Tunisia houses four strategic programmes under the same roof. The first of these four programmes, the coding school, is a freely accessible and free-of-charge technological centre that offers training and events for young developers, geeks and people with ideas for projects. It is particularly aimed at students, young graduates and young entrepreneurs.
Then there’s the FabLab Solidaire, a digital production workshop for creating and prototyping with digital equipment such as 3D printers, milling machines and laser cutters. It brings together young people who are unemployed and have no qualifications as well as students, young graduates and young entrepreneurs.
Orange Fab, meanwhile, is a start-up accelerator whose aim is to build national and international business partnerships with the Orange Group and the international Orange Fab network. This programme helps improve managerial capabilities and provides support for the commercial development of promising start-ups. It is mainly aimed at entrepreneurs.
Finally, there is Orange Digital Ventures Africa, a €50-million investment fund for financing innovative start-ups in Africa and the Middle East (across such areas as fintech, e-health, energy, edutech and govtech). It too targets entrepreneurs.
Twenty-seven partner universities make up the system in Tunisia, alongside five centres in the region. Their aim is to offer access to, and support for, the best uses of networks to the largest number of people possible. This is far from the only investment Orange plans to make in training and start-up support in the region. By the end of this year, Orange – which operates in 19 African and Middle Eastern countries – plans to set up similar centres in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Jordan, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone. From 2020 onwards, says Orange, Morocco, Egypt and the remaining countries in the Middle East and Africa region will have their own Orange Digital Centres.