Startup Europe Awards


Ochola is the Belgian winner of Startup Europe Awards 2017 in the category creative

Country: Belgium

Category: Creative

Project aim: A bridge to Africa. Ochola was born out of the vision of the founders to change the world at least a bit. We live in a world of globalisation and changes that happen faster than ever. Many people feel left behind in that process, in Europe and also on other continents. With this knowledge in mind we had the idea that we can contribute to this immense challenge in a positive way.


What we want to achieve?

We want to help bringing Africa and Europe, which have very close links that many are not even aware of, stronger together and enable people on both sides of the continents to participate and enjoy globalisation and wealth.

What we are looking for?

Our focus is Art, Fashion, and all around “made by Africans” with a high level of quality. We promote talents in order to be also commercially successful. We believe that with the right impulse many people can contribute to their own wealth without being receivers of good will and development aid. There is a huge amount of talents in both continents and they need to be inspired to develop their will.

What is Ochola?

Ochola is situated in the Centre of Europe, in Brussels right in the middle between the European Quarter and Place Jourdan. This is the cradle of Ochola: The “Espace Ochola”, a friendly place where people meet and discover all kinds of Products and Art made by Africans. Ochola is    organising events, exhibitions and facilitate artists and producers to show their talent and to sell their products. Ochola is a bridge between cultures and people, a space of diversity. We work     for valuing talents and abilities, where the human stands in the centre and the “made by Africans” receives a new and positive dimension.

How we started?

Ochola was facing tipical issues as many start-ups: resources in all respect are limited. And here we could experience for the first time the immense solidarity of Europeans and Africans: families and friends all helped and contributed to the success of the first year with a large amount of events and happenings that all went tremendously well and in a wonderful atmosphere.  We are only at the beginning of a huge and fantastic journey and we expect a lot of adventures on the way. The Starting point is Europe and the target is to build a bridge to Africa – or maybe the other way around – anyhow, we wish a success for our venture for the good on both sides.

“This nomination is rather unexpected. But the honour which is manifested  by this award is  immense. We are recognised and appreciated with our activity so shortly after starting. I am very proud of what we all achieved together! We are Ochola, we are talent promoters.” Christiane Akpo, Ochola´s CEO.


Eight startups will represent Belgium at StartUp Europe Awards in 2017


StartUp Europe Awards is promoted by the European Commission and supported by the President of the Committee of the Regions, several members of the European Parliament as Ambassador and it is implemented by Finnova Foundation in collaboration with StartUp Europe.

Digital African Woman is the responsible for Belgium. They are a social enterprise dedicated to the innovation and support for female-led tech business ideation. The Digital African Woman provides our best Master trainers to help startups develop their product and identify investor. We provide the opportunities for these women-led businesses to move from pitching their ideas to pitching a product.

Eight startups will represented Belgium in Startup Europe Awards.

In Creative category Ochola.asbl is the winner. Ochola is a friendly place where you can discover all that Africa has to offer, is also the ideal place to discover new people in love with Africa, and to think together about a better future for this continent. Open to all and in a vision of cultural cohesion, we welcome you around a café to better reflect on the development of the African Continent and the promotion of the know-how of its descendants.

Cyberber Way Finder is going to represent Belgium in Cybersecurity category. This startup helps to create a community of women cybersecurity experts and build up a network of companies that have a need for qualified professionals. Cybersecurity is a social issue. It has the responsibility of keeping our online data safe, and of preventing cyber-attacks from threatening our safety, and critical public infrastructure that provide basic needs such as healthcare and mobility.

In Fintech category, Ewala is the winner. Ewala allows you to send airtime credit to your friends’ and families’ prepaid mobile phone abroad.

Chocolat Guérin Boutron is the Gastronomy representant. They are a prestigious enterprise that today fosters a global awareness where the identity, individuality and cultural diversity of itspartners are not only respected but celebrated.

In Green category the winner is Robin Food. Robin Food store is an application that aims to reduce the food waste of distribution by referencing products close to the final date of sale.

For Smart Cities category Parcify is going to represent Belgium. This startup helps you with your packages, delivering in just a few simple clicks. Parcify connects private senders and businesses to independent couriers that are heading in the right direction, through a crowdsourced delivery platform, to ensure a sustainable, cost effective and convenient delivery of goods.

We Love BXL is the winner in Social category. WeLoveBXL is a brewery of talent. Our mission is to co-create a diverse, dynamic and positive community-driven environment where youngsters can be teased, inspired and stimulated in their personal development process. A physical hotspot to connect in the heart of Molenbeek providing access to a variety of core and hosted recreational and professional activities. Investing in talent and potential by setting up valuable partnerships with relevant stakeholders. Aiming to reach as many youngsters, focused on creating a lasting impact by empowering youth in their socio-economic challenges.

In Tourism, Vindr is the winner. This startup is an online platform where you can choose different Belgian cities and the shops most used by tourists and thus be able to locate them on the map.