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iHub selected as the implementing partner for the Spark Accelerator Program

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iHub Nairobi has been selected as the implementing partner for the Spark Accelerator Program, the three-month accelerator program recently announced by Safaricom, M-PESA Africa and Sumitomo Corporation.

iHUB Kenya, a globally recognized innovation center, has been the main catalyst for regional technology acceleration and a role model for tech hubs in emerging markets since 2010. iHUB is wholly-owned by Co-creation Hub (CcHUB) which runs CcHUB Nigeria, CcHUB DesignLab Rwanda, CcHUB Namibia, Growth Capital by CcHUB and CcHUB Syndicate.

According to Ojoma Ochai, Managing Director, CcHUB, “We are thrilled to spearhead this groundbreaking collaboration with Safaricom, M-PESA Africa, and Sumitomo Corporation.  The Spark Accelerator serves as a launchpad for forward-thinking founders to shape and scale their enterprises. We encourage startups with dynamic and impactful solutions to join us on this exciting journey, where together with our esteemed partners, we are excited to catalyze innovation empowering digital ecosystems.”

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In 2023, iHub Kenya and Mastercard Foundation under the Mastercard Foundation Ed-Tech Fellowship Program launched an accelerator program to support and amplify the impact of  36 EdTech startups in Kenya over the next 3 years. The Mastercard Foundation Ed-Tech Fellowship Program, seeks to support Ed-Tech companies across Africa that are addressing learning challenges across K-12, tertiary education, and in vocational training as an urgent and critical response in addressing many of Africa’s long standing challenges that have affected enrollment, quality and availability of effective educational options for the continent’s young population. 

Other supporting partners for the program include Vodacom and AWS. 

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Safaricom, M-PESA Africa and Sumitomo Corporation say the Spark Accelerator program will accelerate early stage startups to grow and scale their businesses. The three-month accelerator program will provide a blend of training, mentorship, funding and go-to-market support to spark the growth and scale of ventures that come into the accelerator and set them up for long-term success.

“The Spark Accelerator program is in line with our ambition to be a purpose-led technology company. With the accelerator, we are offering more than just capital injection which is what we did previously with Spark Fund. We have restructured the program to address the challenges that hinder early startups from growing to scale,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, of Safaricom.

The Spark Accelerator will benefit Fintech and Content startups in the initial phase. It will take an ecosystem-based approach to identify and accelerate the startups by leveraging a team of experts who understand market dynamics, emerging tech and who are keen to enable continuous innovation.

Participating startups are set to benefit with access and technical support to develop mini-apps embedded into Safaricom’s M-PESA Super App, empowering them to reach more than 4 million customers who use the app. 

“M-PESA connects more than 60 million customers and 5 million businesses across eight countries, providing a unique opportunity for startups in Africa looking to grow and scale rapidly. We have therefore partnered with Sumitomo and Safaricom to launch the Spark Accelerator to provide funding, technical expertise, resources and mentorship to the next generation of the continent’s leading tech startups. In turn, the startups will create innovations that connect customers and businesses on M-PESA to more opportunities while providing them with even more value,” said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, MD – M-PESA Africa.  

In addition,  M-PESA Africa will offer expertise,  market research and insights, and other capacity support for startups looking to expand their reach to other countries. The support will continue beyond the three-month program enabling startups in the program to tap into more than 60 million customers and 5 million businesses across M-PESA’s eight markets. 

The accelerator program will culminate in an investor demo day for the startups to pitch for investment from Safaricom and partner venture capital firms.

The call for applications will run from 12 January 2024 to 16 February 2024 on https://www.safaricom.co.ke/sparkaccelerator

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James Musoba
James Musoba
Studying Africa's startup and technology scene. I always look forward to discovering new exciting inventions and vibrant entrepreneurs.

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