Cooperation Project


Archipelagos is an innovative programme to support the private sector promoted by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.p.A. (CDP). It is dedicated to companies on the African continent and aimed at strengthening their entrepreneurial capacity, their business skills and facilitating access to capital markets.

Who it is aimed at

The programme is mainly aimed at SMEs, young entrepreneurs and outstanding recent graduates from the African continent looking to improve their business knowledge and entrepreneurial skills.


With the support of the European Commission, CDP developed the Archipelagos initiative on the African continent with the aim of:

  • supporting the growth of African business through tailor-made training, mentoring and networking delivered via a dedicated digital platform;
  • facilitating SME access to capital markets through cooperation with local stock exchanges and the structuring of innovative financial instruments backed by the European Commission guarantee;
  • creating a more favourable ecosystem for African companies through dialogue with local institutions and the involvement of key stakeholders.

The programme is structured around 3 main areas – training, mentoring and networking – and is delivered through the Archipelagos digital platform. Beneficiaries will have access to an extensive catalogue of online courses, with learning pathways differentiated according to the specific needs and stage of development of the enterprises. In addition, webinars will help make the learning journey even more stimulating, engaging and interactive.

As well as training, those participating in the programme will have access to a community of African and international SMEs and investors with the aim of enhancing networking domestically and internationally through the CDP Business Matching platform.

Furthermore, SMEs that are ready to access the capital markets will be supported through the fundraising process.

Selected SMEs will be provided with tailored mentoring and coaching to enhance their readiness for engagement with potential investors, such as assistance in crafting a persuasive investment proposal. They will also have the chance to secure funding through the creation of innovative debt instruments on preferential terms, backed by the European Commission's first-loss guarantee.


How to apply

To participate in the programme, companies must meet five conditions:
•    be based in Africa (registered office or with main operations in Africa);
•    have an annual turnover of up to USD 50 million with a minimum threshold of USD 1 million to access the fundraising phase;
•    have been in operation for at least two years;
•    be a for-profit company (or other type of for-profit legal entity);
•    not be subject to any sanctions or restrictions.

Recent graduates and young entrepreneurs are not subject to application requirements.

All categories can send their application to the following link. Applications will be assessed to identify suitable candidates for the programme

Browse the brochure
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