Launched in 2013 by Edwige Boum, and a group of students who met on an online course on Technology Entrepreneurship from Stanford University and motivated by a desire to improve social and economic conditions of many entrepreneurs in Africa, Boum and his friends founded the Afrikstart.com as a crowdfunding platform for Africa’s upstarts.
Aiming to be Africa’s top crowdfunding platform set to revolutionize how young and women entrepreneurs are funded, trained and mentored, the platform aims to set up local partnerships in the 3 pilot countries and also start sourcing and writing the training courses on entrepreneurship and business management to empower youth under 30 years old and women entrepreneurs, in Sub-Saharan Africa.
By giving them access to necessary funding and training needed to launch their businesses, through connections with donors, lenders,and mentors worldwide, Afrikstart.com will help millions of ambitious entrepreneurs in Africa struggle to get funding to launch their businesses as traditional banks are less willing to lend to new start-ups.
According t the team, over 60 million unemployed young Africans plan to sustain themselves by creating their own ventures but they lack the networks, business advisory and entrepreneurial skills to kick start their projects. The platform will be an innovative alternative to these critical issues with a one-stop platform to help them raise non-equity money from donors and lenders worldwide via the crowdfunding platform, to finance start-ups and small businesses, provide e-learning courses on entrepreneurship and business management and match African entrepreneurs with mentors worldwide and as well connect African entrepreneurs via a social forum.
Boum says Afrikstart will not make put of the startups. It’s a donation-based and peer-to-peer lending platform, with a focus on donations in the beginning. The platform is set to be piloted in 3 Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. It will work with start-up incubators, microfinance institutions, NGOs, universities, among others to help some 1 500 projects, collect $1.5 million, create 2 000 jobs, and train over 5 000 people in three years.
The platform is not the first on in Africa, it will be competing platform such as South Africa’s ThundaFund, StartMe and FundFind Ghana’s SliceBiz and Nigeria’s 234give and StartCrunch and MyAfricanIdea as well as not-for profit peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Kiva.org, and One Percent Club among others.