Trip: East Africa European Talent Bridge – Reporting From Nairobi

Future Place Leadership & Berlin Partner Study Trip, February 2023 – Bridging Talent Between Europe and East Africa

With the East Africa European tech talent bridge, we will work on behalf of both continents to secure that access to critical skills is accessible in a much wider scope than the local market. African talent is rising and highly motivated. Be it fostering internships, employment, entrepreneurship, there is so much both sides can profit from each other. We want to make these opportunities visible, for companies in Europe and in Africa.” – Burkhard Vollbracht, Head of Unit, Berlin Partner and the great instigator behind the Talent bridge.

Berlin is reaching out to other markets for labour and business partners. The beautiful African continent has caught their attention. Think Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Congo DRC. But South Africa and Egypt too.

Mid February I was proud delegation lead for some 20 people joining on a trip to East Africa to learn more about the impressive developments in this innovative African tech hub. 

Berlin Partner has been keen on strengthening the collaboration between international ecosystems, and the focus in this case was: mobility of talent and business opportunities between startups in both East Africa and Europe. This little word ‘both’ is a big one. The guiding principle in setting up this bridging programme. Whatever or whomever we would visit, there had to be takeaways for all joining the conversation.

It was an incredible couple of weeks:

– Understanding amongst others the motivation and drivers from African tech talent in much greater detail
– Explore the challenges / opportunities within entrepreneurship and scale ups in the region
– Discuss the transition into the labor market for young professionals
– In general get a feel for which activities already exist and how they could be improved

And most importantly how a bridge could support and grow the economies across the 2 continents.

We were lucky to have great service providers amongst our delegation: Martin, CEO of Terrasign, a company that knows ALL about rules and regulations in global mobility of business and people. Julian, a seasoned expert in enabling ecosystems, founder of a India – German bridge. Andie from Propel, a pro with worldwide experience in matching digital talent and scaling companies. And David shared a concrete proposal to exchange health professionals at the academic round table with three Kenyan universities joining forces.

The trip would not have been as inspiring without the impressive contribution of the people onsite. A no brainer perhaps but you cannot build a bridge without a solid foundation on the ground. Put Katherina, Brian, Mariam, Kenny, Eric and Laura in the colours of your city and doors open to extraordinary initiatives and contacts in East Africa. We loved to be part of such a diverse team. Study trips – 3 countries (Kenya, Rwanda & Uganda) in 12 days – are very intense by definition. So at the end of a trip like this if you still have energy left for more, you know you are part of a dream team. Talking about two continents creates distance, however all we experienced was great closeness. Cultural differences for sure as well, but in the end we all want the same: be seen and heard. Great ideas deserve nothing less.

Our very own Morten (Director, Talent Attraction) also joined the troops in Kenya, and together we took part in Africa Tech Summit, the Nairobi edition. Who would have thought this study trip would end up in the media? It did! Morten and Stefan Franzke, CEO of Berlin Partner, featuring prime time at second biggest Kenyan TV News, the KTN News!

Read more about the Talent Bridge initiative here.

In partnership with Future Place Leadership, Berlin Partner is a founding member of European Talent Mobility Forum along with city, regional and government leaders from Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. As such, Berlin Partner is already heavily invested in global mobility of talents to and from the startup scene in Europe.

Would your region be interested in looking into a Talent Bridging initiative (maybe starting first with a Study Trip)? We’re ready when you are! Happy to start the dialogue for your region if interested in innovative tech hubs in the less usual suspect parts of the world. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

The Berlin – Africa bridge is definitely under construction!
More news to follow soon…


Nicole van Haelst
Senior Consultant, Innovation Hubs and Talent Acquisition
Phone:+31 654980909

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