The fifth Venture Day of IE University’s global initiative in partnership with the U.S. State Department took place in Cape Town on March 7.

On March 7, 2023, Africa’s Tech4Democracy Challenge was held in Cape Town, co-organized by the Center for the Governance of Change at IE University and the Design School of the University of Cape Town.

Entrepreneurs, experts and investors came together to select the most promising tech startup in Africa that is contributing to defend and promote democratic values. Trustur, from FloodGates Limited (Ghana), who pitched online, received the award for the best democracy-affirming startup in the continent. Trustur provides users with a verifiable and secure digital identity and promotes inclusion by simplifying access to government and other services.

Tech4Democracy is a global initiative that aims to identify and encourage entrepreneurs developing democracy-affirming technologies. It is led by IE University in partnership with the U.S. State Department and with the strategic support of Microsoft, and is coordinated by IE’s Center for the Governance of Change.

At the opening of the event, the Director of the Center for the Governance of Change, Irene Blázquez, stated: “It is crucial to illustrate a democratic and liberal vision of technological development that upholds the values that explain us as a society.”

U.S. Consul General Todd Haskell shared that “the United States has made significant commitments to ensure technologies work for, not against, democracies. That is why the United States is working to expand access to technology that fills gaps and helps citizens, activists, lawyers and judges to work together to continue to build their democracies and hold their institutions accountable.”

The event also counted with the participation of Microsoft’s Digital Advisor Khaliq Dollie and a keynote address on how technology can reinforce democratic values by technology entrepreneur Melvyn Lubega, founder of the first South African unicorn.

As part of the event’s award, Trustur secured their place at Tech4Democracy’s the Global Final in Washington, D.C. at the end of March, on the sidelines of President Biden’s Summit for Democracy, where they will compete for a monetary prize.

The jury was composed of a diverse group of experts from the entrepreneurship, academic and corporate sectors in Africa. The other startups competing were: Deaftouch (South Africa), Legal Standpoint (South Africa), Ongea na Demokrasia (Tanzania) and Uamuzi Foundation (Kenya). All the finalists are awarded up to 150,000 USD in Microsoft cloud credits, free productivity software and GitHub Enterprise access and guidance from business and technical experts.