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CEO Weekends: Okii Eli Of Echorest On Where Startup Founders In Africa Can Work From & Be Accelerated

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Startups failure in Africa is mostly linked to lack of funding, space, mentorship and team’s ability to execute but a number of hubs and accelerators want to end that across the continent by providing working space, mentorship and even the required cash to accelerate the startups.

Okii Eli, CEO and Co-founder Echorest lists a few in this first piece on getting entrepreneurs out of their living rooms to work with their peers, network, get mentorship and even get funded.

The list is random and is a part one of a three-part series many of the incubators and accelerators are yet to be covered.

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  1. 88mph Cape Town (former Umbono) It puts in $25k to $50k in seed capital. Some of the startups include Starburst games development startup, Local sort an online concierge service aimed at hotels, TaxTim a web-based service that helps individuals manage their tax, Sample Board is a design-focused website that digitizes the sampling process for design.
  2. Mara Launchpad in Kampala Uganda launched in early 2012.Its backed by Mara Foundation and the fund size is unknown yet. Some of the startups in the accelerator include: panda Afro energy which aims to be a leading manufacturer and distributor of affordable renewable environment friendly energy solutions and systems in emerging markets in Africa, Winsenga which provides a phone software application and hardware application that, makes antenatal diagnosis more effective, timely in developing countries, Farm Yard Network which is an agribusiness marketing platform innovated by Brave East Africa to promote agri-biz.

  3. Startup Garage (88mh Nairobi Kenya) launched in 2011 but seed fund 88mph, takes a minimum of 10-15 investments per year. Has room for 25 startups in its space with unknown fund size. Some of the startups include the Kenya’s biggest, hottest and most controversial celebrity entertainment site, banned at universities but loved by students Ghafla Kenya, Mdundo which is an African music sold via scratch cards, downloaded and enjoyed on mobile phones, already has registered many celebrities in Kenya including Octopizzo, Jua Cali  ,  Jaguar and many others, Manyatta Rent, Sematime and many others.
  4. ActiveSpaces in Buea Cameroon, launched in 2009 and it’s a co-working space that’s liked with Sanaga Ventures seed fund, boasts of raising $1 million.
  5. iHub Nairobi Kenya was launched in 2010 and has been more of a community working space and business incubator. The launch of Savannah Fund added much sense to these tech campus and the entire community. Savannah Fund was co-founded by iHub visionary Erik Hersman and tough love Silicon Valley based VC Mbwana Alliy and Paul Bragiel and has set $5Million but with eyes to raise $10M.  It takes in 5 early stage startups, injects $25k for 15% equity plus a three to six month accerelarion. Follow-on funding for successful ones in will be in the region of $100,000 to $200k.

We cannot list all the accelerator programmes  and hubs or tech business incubators in Africa in one piece just like that. There are masses all over Tanzania, Cameroon, Ghana , Kenya and South Africa including MEST from Ghana which started on 2008 with a fund size of $20M. Similar programmes are run by GrowthHub, Nailab and iLab in Nairobi and many others.

Uganda’s Mara Launchpad and hubs such The Hub Kampala, Outbox, Hive Colab, Microsoft Innovation Centres, ccHub Nigeria, RLabs Kigali, The Office Kigali, The Hub Johannesburg, Kinu TZ and Mara Launchpad Tanzania and RLab in Somali.

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Okii Eli
Okii Eli
Okii Eli is the CEO and Co-Founder at Ecorest. Follow him on Twitter @nextstevejobs or read his posts here. He lives in Nairobi and loves entreprenuership and blogs about start-ups in Africa.

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