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Here are the 12 African Startups Battling for MIT’s $1.6m 2019 Inclusive Innovation Challenge

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Kenya’s Shortist, Flare, Egypt’s Taskty, Ghana’s Bloom Impact, Nigeria’s Farmerline and South Africa’s Inclusivity Solutions are among the 12 African startups battling it out for the 2019 MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge.

Announced by the MIT Initiative on the Digital Econom, the 2019 60 Regional Finalists were selected for their 2019 global future of work innovations and stand chance to win the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) Prize of $1.6m or around $250,000 each.

The 60 Regional Finalists now proceed to regional events in five regions – US & Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia – where they will pitch their solutions live to a panel of regional innovation experts.

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Twenty Regional Winners, four from each region, will then proceed to the Global Grand Prize Gala at MIT on November 21 where $250,000 will be awarded to each of four Grand Prize Winners.

African Regional Event will hold on September 20, 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The 12 African Region Finalists include the following:

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  1. Bloom Impact is a digital marketplace providing financial education and access to financial services to small business owners in Africa.
  2. Kumwe is disrupting the East African maize value chain with a technology-backed model for post-harvest processing and aggregation to increase incomes for 40,000 farmers.
  3. is a platform that connects middle- and basic-educated workforce and blue collar workers with matching job opportunities in Egypt.
  4. By building 911 for 60% of the world without an existing system, Flare is helping EMTs do the important work of saving lives every day.
  5. Nigeria’s Social Lender bridges the gap of immediate fund access for people with limited access to formal credit by harnessing a proprietary algorithm using social reputation on mobile, online, and social media platforms.
  6. The Indlu app empowers African landowners to manage their back yard rental rooms and build credit scores, providing a pathway to capital access.
  7. Taskty is Egypt’s largest online marketplace for home services, connected workers with work and increasing economic opportunity.
  8. Tiny Totos transforms service standards across Nairobi’s informal childcare market through innovative technology to benefit underserved preschool children and working mothers in slums.
  9. Inclusivity Solutions develops digital insurance solutions for emerging markets with the aim of protecting and enhancing the quality of life of vulnerable people.
  10. Farmerline increases productivity and creates lasting profit for African farmers with technology and field agents that connect farmers to vital information and services.
  11. Shopit digitizes informal grocery stores in low-income communities and links them to the formal economy to create local business opportunities and positive social impact.
  12. Shortlist empowers jobseekers in Africa and India to apply for jobs online by demonstrating their skills and abilities in real time, regardless of their background.

Meet the 60 Regional Finalists HERE.

The IIC is a global tournament, awarding $1.6 million annually to organizations that are using technology to revolutionize the future of work and create a more equitable economy. The IIC accelerates innovation-driven entrepreneurship for a more inclusive and prosperous economy. Since 2016, $178.9 million in cumulative revenue has been generated, $1.05 billion in cumulative capital has been raised, and over 6,800 jobs created by the IIC’s 100 winning organizations. 

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MIT believes that inclusive innovation is an urgent imperative. Since 2016, nearly 5,000 organizations have registered from 106 nations, with $3.5 million awarded.

“Inclusive innovators aren’t just changing the game – they’re changing the world,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, co-founder of the IIC. “IIC winning organizations exemplify scalable, working solutions that broaden opportunity and harness technology to include more people in the digital economy. The IIC’s goal is to accelerate the best future of work solutions on the planet.”

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Stella Kabura
Stella Kabura
I'm an easygoing free spirited writer, full of innovative ideas and happy to write objective, impartial stories.

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