We covered the MoDe’s win here and here but today IBM officially announced MoDe as the IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year. MoDe is based in Nairobi, Kenya and provides instant nano-credit for pre-paid mobile phone users across the African continent where nearly 80 percent of mobile phone user have no access to traditional banking loans and credit.
MoDe’s innovative payment services ensure that people have access to mobile airtime when needed, while helping telecommunications companies increase efficiency and build brand loyalty.
“Being named the IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year is a tremendous honor and will accelerate our ability to create new markets,” said Julian Kyula, CEO and co-founder, MoDe. “The access to clients and potential investors that we have had through the SmartCamp program would have taken our company 10 years to achieve on our own, with IBM it took less than six months.”
IBM SmartCamps connect startups with seasoned and successful venture capitalists, investors, and innovative business leaders, giving them the tools and insight needed to excel in their often nascent markets. Past participants have partnered with IBM to deliver new solutions to clients and have expanded into new markets. In addition, past participants have gone on to generate more than $90 million in investments from the venture community.
“Every day we are working with startups around the world to grow markets in big data, cloud and mobile computing,” said Jim Corgel, general manager of IBM’s entrepreneur programs. “We are thrilled to expand our relationship with MoDe as we bring new mobile solutions to our clients around the world.”
After qualifying in one of the more than 20 local SmartCamp events around the world, eight finalists from seven countries were selected for the Global Finals event. The finalists pitched their businesses to an audience of venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, academics and leaders in business and technology. After two days of mentoring and networking, a panel of judges selected MoDe on the strength of its product innovation, growing client base and alignment with IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative.
IBM’s SmartCamps are a significant component of the company’s Global Entrepreneur Program, which offers a variety of ways for entrepreneurs to grow their business, get access to leading experts and technology, and ultimately market their products faster. The program operates with the goal of uncovering, fully developing, and commercializing innovations which create new business opportunities in industries and regions around the globe.