Archipelagos Program - Application Form

Archipelagos is a multi-year international cooperation program developed by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, the Italian Financial Institution for International Development Cooperation, with the support of the European Commission.

Through this call for application, up to 1000+ SMEs will be selected across the African continent to join a dedicated capacity building Program designed to strengthen their capabilities and increase their readiness for capital markets.

The selected SMEs will embark on a tailored learning journey through the Archipelagos digital platform, where they will have access to training, mentoring, and networking opportunities.

At the end of this Program, the most promising SMEs will receive specialized support for raising funds in the capital markets through innovative debt instruments, supported by a guarantee facility from the European Commission.

Inspired by the Team Europe Initiative of Investing in Young Business in Africa (TEI IYBA), also young university graduates / young entrepreneurs will have access to the capacity building Program to strengthen their business skills and sharpen their knowledge.

We are looking for participants willing to:
  • Develop new skills and capabilities by acquiring knowledge and expertise to grow their business and boost competitiveness
  • Look for guidance and support from experienced professionals to navigate new challenges and to receive actionable advice to achieve their goals
  • Connect with other businesses and establish valuable connections that can help them grow and succeed, by sharing experiences, knowledge, and best practices
  • Explore potential collaborations and partnerships that can support them in achieving their business objectives
  • Pursue the chance to access debt capital to finance their growth, by connecting with a range of potential investors and differentiating their sources of funding
Each of the selected SMEs will receive access to the platform for up to 3 key figures within the organization (e.g., founder, finance manager, strategy manager).

In addition to SMEs, the capacity building platform is also open to young university graduates / young entrepreneurs that want to boost their academic journey and prepare to enter into the business world as well as those who look for strengthening their entrepreneurial skills.

To participate in this program, SMEs should meet 5 pre-requisites:
  • Be Africa-based (incorporated or with main operations in Africa)
  • Have an annual turnover up to USD 50 million, with a minimum threshold of USD 1 million to be eligible for the financial guarantee
  • Be in operation since at least 2 years
  • Be a for-profit corporate (or other type of for-profit legal person)
  • Not be subject to any sanction or restriction

When shortlisting the SMEs the following criteria will be considered:
  • Size of the business in terms of revenues and number of employees
  • Performance in terms of growth and profitability
  • Sector of reference and geographical footprint
  • Impact generated in terms of Diversity, Social safeguards and ESG
  • Fit with the Program objectives and type of support needed
Young university graduates / young entrepreneurs can directly apply to request access to the capacity building platform without undergoing the full selection process.

How to apply
Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis and will be open until 30 June 2024
For more information about the Archipelagos Program visit
For any question or enquiry please contact

Disclaimer: All information submitted will remain confidential
Disclaimer: This document was produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

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Archipelagos Application Form