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F10 Opens Application for its FinTech Accelerator Programme

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Switzerland’s premier startup accelerator, F10, has announced the launch of its current round of applications for its P2 Prototype to Product programme.

Twice a year, F10 offers a 6-month “Prototype to Product” program in which Startups will be supported in transitioning their prototype to a sellable product. Each team will be supported by a coach from the F10 team as well as an external mentor. All teams will have access to working space at F10 in Zurich.

The latest round of applications commenced on September 11th, and is open to all startups in FinTech, RegTech, and InsurTech.

Potential candidates for 2018’s first round of P2 have until December 15th to prepare and submit their application with Switzerland’s leading accelerator. The P2 program itself will start on Match 5th, 2018 and run until August 23rd of the same year.

“2017 has been an exciting year in the world of FinTech – looking at the creative tech solutions that we are seeing from our startups, the future is looking even brighter,” said Markus Graf of F10.

“As the best accelerator in Switzerland, we’re excited to be at the front of these new developments, fostering the ideas and leveraging the skills that these startups have by helping them collaborate with industry leaders and build a network of connections. Moreover, our guidance and expert help is proving invaluable in guiding them to maturity in a fast-changing industry.”

iHub, World Bank’s Traction Camp accelerator to showcase 21 promising digital innovations from East Africa

iHub and the World Bank Group will host a one-week intensive boot camp in Nairobi, a part of a business acceleration program to help East African tech start-ups commercialize and scale innovative digital products.

The Traction Camp accelerator launched six months ago by iHub and the World Bank Group’s infoDev program will connect 20 high-growth start-ups with the knowledge, capital, and access to markets they need to grow. The program is supported by the governments of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Kenya, and includes intensive business coaching and mentorship for up to six months.

The start-ups from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda will convene in Nairobi for the one week face-to-face boot camp on Sept. 18-23, 2017 and culminate in a demo day event on Sept. 22 at iHub from 4-8 p.m. Parties interested in investing or collaborating with the participating start-ups are encouraged to express interest here prior to Sept. 19, 2017.

Here are the 21 Participating Startups successfully selected to participate in Traction Camp regional accelerator program (Round 1). The aim is to nurture them to become globally competitive, growth-oriented, mobile and digital technology businesses.

Bluewave Insurance Agency Limited, Kenya

An online platform that enables clients access micro insurance products and market research and analytics on insurance trends and insurance requirements.

BusinessTYC tax, Ethiopia

A tax preparation and declaration SaaS platform for SMEs in Ethiopia. It is built to make doing business in Ethiopia easier for entrepreneurs so that they can focus on innovation. It doesn’t require any accounting or IT knowledge.

DreamAfrica, Kenya

A global subscription based streaming platform for animations and films from around the world. We also produce original animations to celebrate cultural representation in digital media. DreamAfrica has a revenue share program with its content partners.

Illuminum Greenhouses, Kenya

A farming solutions company providing greenhouses with drip irrigation kits equipped with solar powered sensors that allows the Internet of Things penetrate and reach the base of pyramid farmers allowinbg them to grow high value crops all year round in a protected environment.

K&G Solar Power (U) Ltd, Uganda

The company is involved in the sale and distribution of pico and stand alone solar systems especially targeting rural communities that are off the national electricity grid. we have partnerships with local banks to extend the equipment to the beneficiaries on loan basis.

Kleva Plus, Kenya

An app to help manage your business on the go. It helps to manage customers, sales and finances and be able to operate on mobile.

Kokote, Tanzania

A solution that transforms the way we look for a next place to call home by offering a faster, more secure and affordable experience to users who are searching for houses for rent. Kokote simplifies the process by providing tools for users to choose houses by price, number of rooms, location and the like and share the houses they like with friends and families

MobFit, Uganda

An e-agriculture platform connecting smallholder farmers’ produce to markets. We use basic SMS technology to enhance community based aggregate production for irish potato farmers. We ensure the aggregated bulk produce reaches the market in time.

MyAfya, Kenya

An application that helps hypertension patients to manage their condition. The user gets access to health practitioners, save blood pressure history and share such data with care givers. We also create awareness and distribute home testing kits to be used along with the app

Online Hisabu, Ethiopia

A cloud based accounting package for Ethiopian SMEs, who are looking for an affordable and easy to use accounting solution. It recognizes SMEs’ resource limitation, lack of computer proficiency and accounting skills. It is a financial management and reporting tool tailored to the Ethiopian context.

Patasente Inc, Uganda

A supply chain financing platform that enables people guarantee or to businesses in East Africa. Entrepreneurs get working capital loans to grow their revenues, and lenders finance the loans by buying a range of interest bearing promissory notes to earn extra incomes.

SapamaERP, Kenya

A cloud-based ERP targeting SME’s that automates, simplifies and streamlines business processes of Human Resource Management, Customer Relationship Management, Invoicing and Accounting, Procurement, Point-of-Sale and Inventory Management.

Shield Finance, Kenya

A FinTech company using proprietary technology and leveraging on Mobile Money to offer employees affordable salary advances.With competitive interest rates, we are more flexible than mainstream lenders and deliver requested advances in record time.

Simon Tito Foods, Tanzania

An innovative business in electric egg incubators. We offer our products at affordable payment terms. Customers buys our product at 50% of the price while the other 50% is payed overtime by purchasing token units. Our electric egg incubator is automatically locked until customers buys token units.

SunPoynt, Kenya

SunPoynt (formerly Angaza Boma) targets to be a market in ‘pay-as-you-go’ energy services for off-grid customers – combining mobile payments with GSM sensor technology to enable the leasing of 22″ solar powered TV home systems in Kenya

Mobilized Construction, Uganda

A cloud-based software platform that enables project managers and civil engineers to identify and visualize road conditions using just a smartphone and to coordinate micro-enterprises to repair roads using micro-contracts.

Tamithi Ltd, Uganda

A creative firm with expertise in Illustrations, Animations and Games. We focus on creating innovative local ideas and themes that our clients and society can relate to.

Totohealth, Kenya

A platform that enables a parent to receive timely messages based on their stage of pregnancy or child’s age. These messages highlight warning signs in their pregnancy or child’s health thereby enabling one to seek timely care.

Ukulima tech, Kenya

We design fabricate and install vertical Gardens which provide healthy vegetables and a source of livelihood. Our mobile app enables one to monitor and irrigate their farms from anywhere in addition to provides gardening skills for different crops.

Yubeyi, Rwanda

An online marketplace to help people sell their products online and reach more customers. It also helps busy people to buy products online and get products delivered to them with out wasting time

ZayRide, Ethiopia

ZayRide is the Uber of Ethiopia, on-demand taxi and Ambulance dispatching application that connects riders and drivers with. We recently added a delivery service. So our loyal customers get more services with a single application.

 

Apply: 2017 Zambezi Prize for Financial Inclusion Ventures in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Applications are open for the 2017 Zambezi Prize, which is aimed at raising awareness of entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, encouraging the flow of capital to financial inclusion ventures, and advancing entrepreneurship and financial inclusion to fuel broad-based prosperity.

The Zambezi Prize is presented by the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT and The MasterCard Foundation. Collectively, these organizations focus on entrepreneurship and financial inclusion as catalysts for broad-based prosperity in low-income countries—unlocking the potential of ordinary citizens to improve their livelihoods.

  • The Zambezi Prize awards $200K USD annually to support ventures that contribute to financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The first place winner receives $100K USD. An additional $100K USD is divided among second and third place winners and a small group of finalists.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The prize is open to a wide spectrum of financial inclusion ventures demonstrating innovation and potential for impact, financial sustainability, and scalability.
  • The venture must advance financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The venture must be in its early stages, having progressed beyond concept.
  • Ventures could include – but are not limited to – electronic payment systems, customer-centered payment plans, new financial products, or mobile banking instruments.
  • The venture must have a founder or co-founder that work or plan to work full-time on the venture.
  • If selected as finalists, ventures must have a founder or co-founder to attend MIT’s Entrepreneurship Development Program in Boston in January 2018

Deadline: September 30th 2017.

Visit Zambezi Prize for more info.

Call for Nominations: WEF’s Young Global Leaders Class of 2019

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The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Forum of Young Global Leaders has established a comprehensive selection process for identifying and selecting the most exceptional leaders.

Every year, thousands of candidates from around the world are proposed and assessed according to rigorous selection criteria. Only the very best candidates are selected and all efforts are extended to create a truly representative body.

Reflecting the diversity of stakeholders, the Young Global Leaders include leaders from politics, business, civil society, academia, and arts and culture across seven geographic regions.

The deadline to submit nominations for the Young Global Leaders Class of 2019 is 31 May 2018.

Selection Criteria:

· To be eligible for the Young Global Leaders Class of 2019, the candidate must have been born on or after 1 January, 1980.

· He/she has a recognized record of extraordinary achievement and a proven track record of substantial leadership experience. Typically, this means 5-15 years of outstanding professional work experience and a clear indication of playing a substantial leadership role for the rest of his or her career.

· He/she has demonstrated a personal commitment to serve society at large through exceptional contributions and a deep ethical fiber, and has earned significant trust at both local and global levels.

· He/she has an impeccable record in the public eye and good standing in his/her community, as well as show great self-awareness and a desire for learning.

· Candidates from the business sector must be responsible for the full operation of a qualifying corporation or division and must hold one of the following titles: President, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director, Managing Partner or Publisher, or equivalent of any of the above. If the company is a Member or Partner of the World Economic Forum, the candidate requires the approval of the CEO or Chairman of the Board of the respective company.

· Companies, organizations and entities can only nominate one candidate from the qualifying company every two years.

· Kindly note that self-nominations are not accepted.

Nomination and Selection Timeline

· 31 May: Close of nomination period

· Summer: The World Economic Forum shortlists candidates for further review

· Fall: The shortlisted candidates are reviewed by Heidrick & Struggles, recognised as one of the world’s leading executive search and leadership consulting firms

· Winter: A Selection Committee reviews the top candidates and selects 100 to be honoured as Young Global Leaders

· January of subsequent year: The candidates are informed of their selection as Young Global Leaders*

· March of subsequent year: The press announcement for the new Class of Young Global Leaders is released

Applications Open for the 4th Annual Kenyan Global Management Challenge

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Kenyan students and professionals can now apply for the 4th edition of the Global Management Challenge (GMC), for a chance to hone their skills in business management and growth.

The GMC is the world’s largest strategy and management competition. It consists of a Management Simulation in which each team runs a virtual Company, with the objective of getting the highest Investment Performance. It’s open to anyone, from students to professionals, who are required to form teams of three to five people.

The competition includes three national phases: a first round, a second round and a national final, and one international phase where the winning team of the national phase represents Kenya in the international final of the Global Management Challenge.

Organised and run by Greener Pastures, a human resources consultancy firm, the GMC is present in a number of countries from Africa to Europe, Asia and even South America. Now in it’s 4th year in Kenya, GMC Kenya has impacted over 700 people across more than 30 universities and companies.

Interested? Register here.

 

Applications Open For Google Launchpad Accelerator

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Applications are now open for the next cohort of Google’s Launchpad Accelerator. The six-month zero-equity acceleration programme is aimed at growth-stage startups from emerging markets.

The programme is now open to more countries around the world.

Before now, it included African startups in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, but this has been increased to 10, as Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda have been added to the list.

More countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America have also been included.

Selected developers will be invited to the Google Developers Launchpad Space in San Francisco for 2 weeks of all-expense-paid training.

Training includes intensive mentoring from 20+ Google teams, and expert mentors from top technology companies and VCs in Silicon Valley. Participants will receive equity-free support, credits for Google products, PR support and continue to work closely with Google back in their home country during the 6-month program.

The application process for the equity-free program will end on October 2, 2017 at 9AM Pacific Standard Time (7pm Central African Time).

Click here to apply.

African Startups Among 16 MIT Innovation Challenge Finalists

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The MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge has concluded judging of Inclusive Innovation organizations from across the globe.

Nearly 160 expert Core Judges scored and commented on each completed application. Now the 16 top-scoring Finalists will advance to the Champion Committee, who will select four Grand Prize Winners to each receive $150,000. The remaining 12 Finalists will each receive $35,000 each.

Among the 16 finalists are a few African startups. Kenyan incubator, iHub is a finalist in the Skills & Matching category, South Africa’s Nomanini was selected in the Financial Inclusion category, Nigerian tutoring platform, Tuteria emerged finalist in the Income Growth & Job Creation category. In the Technology Access category, there’s Rwanda’s solar kiosk provider, African Renewable Energy Distributor Ltd. and Nigeria’s e-learning startup Dot Learn.

On October 12 2017, the winners will be announced and celebrated at a gala event at HUBweek in Boston.

During the IIC Celebration, renowned leaders in the Inclusive Innovation movement will deliver talks focused on how to ensure that the benefits of digital progress are shared by all.  Featured speakers include Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc.), Sheila Marcelo (Founder and CEO of Care.com), and Leila Janah (Founder and CEO of Sama Group and LXMI).

The 16 finalists in four different categories are:

Skills Development & Opportunity Matching

Income Growth & Job Creation

Technology Access

Financial Inclusion

Applications Now Open for the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize 2018

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The Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize (CSV prize) is awarded by the Nestlé CSV Council every two years. Run in partnership with Ashoka, the competition helps scale up or replicate business-oriented initiatives that are enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future by tackling the biggest issues in water, nutrition, and rural development.

It’s open to to social enterprises, commercial enterprises and nonprofit entities creating shared value in any country around the world.

The CSV Prize Winners will be selected based on their entries as determined by the Creating Shared Value Council and experts appointed by Ashoka and Nestlé.

Up to 50 Semi Finalists will:

  • Receive a second round of feedback
  • Join exclusive, online ‘peer’ calls, to network and exchange ideas with other shortlisted innovators and the CSV Prize team
  • Have access to exclusive networking opportunities

10 Highly Commended Initiatives will be featured online before the announcement of the top 5 Finalists are selected to the final stages.

Finalists will receive the following:

  • A travel bursary to attend the 2-day Ashoka Impact Boot Camp at the World Water Forum in Brazil in March 2018
  • The opportunity to pitch their initiatives to the Nestle Creating Shared Value Council, live at the Forum
  • Finalists will be featured through Ashoka and Nestle’s media activities

Winning initiatives will be selected to receive prizes totalling CHF 500,000 to take the solution to scale, including:

  • Up to CHF 400,000 cash prize
  • One Lifetime Ashoka Fellowship (following Ashoka’s in depth Venture Selection Process)
  • A place on the Ashoka Social Investment Accelerator

Key Dates

  • August 29, 2017 – October 31, 2017 (11:30 CET) – Entry Phase. During this time, participants may submit entries, edit, and resubmit until the entry deadline.
  • November 1-20, 2017 – Application Screening and Community Review. Participants are welcomed to view, review, and comment on one another’s entries.
  • December 1-20, 2017 – 50 Semi Finalists will be selected and invited to Refine their Entries and provide additional information. Semi Finalists may edit their entry based on feedback until the deadline of December 20th.
  • February 14, 2018 – Finalists announced.
  • March 15-18, 2018 – Finalists attend Ashoka Bootcamp and pitch live at the World Water Forum in Brazil
  • 18 March, 2018 – Winners announced.

Click here to participate or see more information.

Meet the 7 Most Promising Early-Stage Tech Startups Selected for Seedstars Addis Ababa

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Seedstars World, the $1m global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes will on August 21st hold a local competition for 7 of Ethiopia’s best seed stage startups at 4pm at Iceaddis.

The selected 7 promising tech startups to pitch include:

  • LangBotA gamified and AI powered language teaching chatbot
  • Mak-Addis Tutors: A platform for individualized teaching services for each student based on need
  • Meda MessengerAn app that will let you chat and transfer money from a single chat screen.
  • SemayDocs: SemayDocs is a platform that enables business to digitize and effectively manage documents through automating paper based processes 
  • smsCrush: Smscruh uses sms notifications to deliver news and provide services to its users.
  • SRESiree is a device that brings the power of online education to the offline world.
  • ZayRideZayRide is a smartphone app that provides on-demand taxi, ambulance and delivery services.

The startups will pitch in front of a jury that consists of Marc Lepage, Africa Knowledge and Innovation advisor at UNDP Ethiopia, Eleni Gabre-madhin, CEO at Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, Shem Asefaw, Entrepreneur & Angel Investor at ShemTECH Ventures, Eyob Tolina,Director at Schulze Global, and Fanny Dauchez, Associate for Africa at Seedstars World.

On a regional level, Seedstars World is working very closely with Enel Green Power to source the most innovative business models in the energy sectors and ones that are fostering socio-economic development in rural villages in Africa. Up to 5 best startups in this sector will be invited for an exclusive RES4Africa networking event taking place later this November in Nairobi and compete for an Africa Energy Prize which consists of a financial contribution and a three-month acceleration programme for a total value of up to $50,000.

Members of the public are encouraged to come join the fun and will be treated to the 7 startup pitches. Registrations for the event can be made on the Seedstars Website [www.seedstarsworld.com/event/seedstars-Addis-Ababa-2017].

1776 Challenge Cup Nairobi set to hold on August 22

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As announced earlier, 1776 and Revolution, on August 22, 2017 hold the 1776 Challenge Cup Nairobi at the iHub to give chance to between eight to ten startups to pitch to win prizes, network, and share their vision on a global stage with startups from 75 other cities.

The best startup out of Nairobi will win a free trip to New York City for the Global Final round of Challenge Cup set for November to compete for the grand prize as well as spend time with the investors, customers, media and other key connections that can help them succeed on a global scale.

“The Challenge Cup illustrates that great companies can start and scale anywhere. While talent is evenly distributed, opportunity is not and the Challenge Cup is squarely addressing this inequity,” said Steve Case, CEO and Chairman of Revolution LLC and Co-founder of AOL. “Revolution is proud to partner with 1776 again on this effort to provide startups around the world with the tools they need and the attention they deserve.”

1776 Challenge Cup, a worldwide tournament for the most promising, innovative startups has partnered with Steve Case’ Revolution to bring to Africa to pick the best startups and has named Accra, Addis Ababa & Nairobi among the first 31 cities from the expected 75 cities.

In Accra, Challenge Cup was held at the iSpace Foundation in May, while in Ethiopia it was held at Ice Addis in July. The iHub event will be followed by a similar event in Lagos on August 25th at Leadpace in Lagos, Nigeria.

1776 Challenge Cup and Revolution aim to create a movement of startups bringing world-changing ideas to life and solving meaningful problems on a global stage. 1776 started Challenge Cup four years ago to discover the most promising, highly scalable startups poised to solve complex challenges across borders, regulated industries and emerging technologies.

Lagos Startup Week 2017 to hold on September 25th – 29th

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For the third consecutive year, Lagos will play host to 60+ events and experiences that highlight and connect entrepreneurs. Lagos Startup Week, the annual weeklong celebration of startups in Lagos, now in its third year, will take place from September 25th – 29th 2017 at the Oriental Hotel .

Lagos Startup Week provides an opportunity to bring the growing entrepreneurial community in Lagos together under one banner and show people across the globe, why Lagos is such a great place to start and grow a business. With this year’s theme tagged “Visionary”, this weeklong event will leave entrepreneurs with the knowledge, strategies, networks and tools necessary to build lasting businesses.

“This year, we are putting together an amazing line up of speakers which include entrepreneurs, experts, investors and mentors who have made Lagos startup ecosystem what it is today” Olumide Olayinka Organiser of Lagos Startup Week said.

The country’s innovation hub will see the coming together of the best in the startup ecosystem for one week of intense networking, brainstorming, innovation and learning. The biggest and brightest entrepreneurs from all walks of life will tell the stories of their incredible journeys and how they overcame challenges in their march to success. Laugh, be inspired, and get serious feels as they open up about the highest and lowest points in their life.

Also, for the first time in its three-year history, Lagos Startup Week will feature Nigeria’s biggest startup showcase and exhibition where over 100 startups that have a potential to make an impact would demonstrate their products to a room full of investors and potential customers. The week will also feature fireside chats, panel discussions, debates, product showcases, tour, dialogues, investor pitches and masterclasses that will inspire and boost your entrepreneurial odyssey.

Seedstars is coming to Accra to find the most promising tech startup in Ghana

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On September 1st 2017, 10 of Ghana’s most promising seed stage startups will compete to represent Ghana at both the Seedstars Africa Regional Summit and the Global Seedstars Summit in Switzerland.

According to Anis Kallel, Associate for Africa at Seedstars World, “We are impressed by what we have seen in the continent so far, and cannot wait to add startups from Ghana on our map.”

The startups should be less than 2 years old, have raised less than USD 500,000 in funding and have built a minimum viable product, ideally with existing traction. The startups should also be regionally and globally scalable.

This is the 3rd time Seedstars is organizing the event in Accra and its expectations are high. Last year’s winner Chalkboard Education, a mobile application for e-learning that works on all phones & without the Internet recently raised money for expansion.

Seedstars World is also working very closely with Enel Green Power to source the most innovative business models in the energy sectors. Up to 5 best startups in this sector will be invited for an exclusive RES4Africa networking event taking place later this November in Nairobi and compete for an Africa Energy Prize which consists of a financial contribution and a three-month acceleration programme for a total value of up to 50,000 USD.

On a regional level, Seedstars is also partnered with the Merck Accelerator, in order to support seed-stage companies in Ghana, and across Asia and Africa with a focus on the fields of healthcare, life science and performance materials. The most promising HealthTech startups will receive office space in the Merck Innovation Center in Kenya or Germany, mentoring and coaching on a regular basis and financial support of up to €50,000.

Applications are open now, and startups can apply here: https://seedsta.rs/accra2017.

 

Airbus BizLab accelerator launches competition targeting East African IoT & drone startups

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Airbus BizLab, a global aerospace business accelerator has launched the #Africa4Future initiative, targeting East African startups doing 3D Printing, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs), Satellite Operations and Imagery, Smart sensors, Internet of Things (IOT), smart energy and Artificial Intelligence in a move expected to transform their ideas into valuable businesses more quickly.

According to Bruno Gutierres, Head of the Airbus BizLabs, “We are excited to finally bring this programme to East Africa. We have been impressed by some of the innovations coming out of hubs such as Gearbox, Outbox, mLab, C4D Lab among other hubs and university research labs within the region. We are looking forward to receiving inspiring ideas and concepts from Nairobi in the coming weeks.”

The initiative welcomes applications from entrepreneurs, and start-up businesses from the region to apply online at www.novatoafrica.com/africa4future and submit their application on or before the 6th September 2017 to get a chance of being shortlisted for the final pitch event. A screening committee will then shortlist and select the most promising ideas or products.

The winning startup, selected from the final pitch event that will be held on the 26th of September 2017 in Nairobi, will win a fully-paid 10-day-trip to Europe in Oct/Nov 2017 and get the chance to meet and interact with aerospace experts and boost your startup. They will be able to work on solutions and, if the project advances well enough, partner with Airbus BizLab to see it to product stage.

Airbus aims to accelerate the pace at which it can commercialise innovative ideas drawn from within Airbus, from its customers as well as other external partners. Airbus BizLab is important in supporting this strategy. The Airbus BizLab creates a network of Business Accelerators to provide support to startups and turn these ideas and technologies into commercial reality. It enhances Airbus’s access to the newest ideas, technologies and ways of working in the aerospace sector and beyond.

Through programmes such as the #Africa4Future, Airbus provides early-stage projects with wide-ranging support, in the form of a six-month “accelerator programme” that gives startups access to a large number of coaches, experts and mentors in various domains: technology, legal, finance, marketing & communication; easing prototyping and market access.

 

10 seed stage startups in Nigeria to compete for $500k Seedstars World equity investment

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On the 25th of August, 10 of Nigeria’s best seed stage startups will compete to represent the country at the Seedstars Summit and win up to USD 500’000 in equity investment.

With the support of sponsors Orange, Merck, Enel and the local host Seedspace Lagos, Seedstars World is looking for startups that are less than 2 years old, have raised less than USD 500,000 in funding and have built a minimum viable product, ideally with existing traction.The startups should also have regional and global scalability.

“We connect entrepreneurs with like-minded people in your area and around the world using our extensive network. Our Seedspace in Ikoy gathers some of the most creative minds in Lagos and we are proud to support such a community, who we believe has the potential to shape the future of people and businesses in Nigeria,” explains Alessia Balducci, Community Manager at Seedspace Nigeria.The most promising HealthTech startups will receive office space in the Merck Innovation Center in Kenya or Germany, mentoring and coaching on a regular basis and financial support of up to €50,000. In total, each prize package is worth around €200,000. Seedstars World is also working very closely with Enel Green Power to source the most innovative business models in the energy sectors and ones that are fostering socio-economic development in rural villages in Africa.

Up to 5 best startups in this sector will be invited for an exclusive RES4Africa networking event taking place later this November in Nairobi and compete for an Africa Energy Prize which consists of a financial contribution and a three-month acceleration programme for a total value of up to 50,000 USD.

Applications are open now, and startups can apply here: https://seedsta.rs/lagos2017

Anzisha Prize 2017 names 15 finalists to pitch for its $100,000 Africa entrepreneurship prize

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Supported by African Leadership Academy (ALA) in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, the Anzisha Prize has named fifteen young African entrepreneurs from a field of more than 800 applicants as finalists for the seventh annual Anzisha Prize entrepreneurship award.

The finalists will fly to Johannesburg to attend a 10-day entrepreneurial leadership boot camp where they will be coached on how to pitch their business to a panel of judges for a share of US$100,000 worth of prizes and support. The grand prize winner will receive US$25,000, while the runners-up and third place winners will receive US$15,000 and US$12,500, respectively.

The remainder of the prize will be divided among outstanding finalists, including a $10,000 agricultural prize funded by Louis Dreyfus Foundation, as well as four $5,000 challenge prizes to bolster initiatives led by past Anzisha Prize finalists. All other finalists will each receive $2,500 prizes.

Finalists will also benefit from ALA’s Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit (YES-U), which provides consulting and training support to Anzisha finalists. This includes the Anzisha Accelerator boot camp, mentorship and consulting services, travel opportunities to network, and business equipment, valued at US$7,500.

The 2017 finalists for the Anzisha Prize are:

  1. Ajiroghene Omanudhowo, 22, Nigeria: Ajiroghene is the founder of three businesses operating under the parent company 360 Needs. ASAFOOD delivers food to universities, ASADROP is a logistics company specializing in parcel delivery and Beta Grades helps students prepare for their exams by providing computer training.

  2. Victoria Olimatunde, 15, Nigeria: Victoria is the founder of Bizkids which teaches high school students about financial literacy, savings, money management, and small-scale business management. Bizkids encourages young people to create jobs as entrepreneurs, not just seek jobs as employees.

  3. Dina Mohamed Ibrahim, 22, Egypt: Dina is one of the founders of Metro Co-Working Space, which rents work spaces to entrepreneurs and provides workshops and resources from them to thrive. .

  4. Edgar Edmund, 17, Tanzania: Edgar is the founder of GreenVenture Tanzania which recycles plastic waste into cheap and affordable building products like paving blocks. GreenVenture helps people build houses while promoting environmental sustainability.

  5. Fadwa Moussaif, 22, Morocco: Fadwa is the founder of Boucharouette Eco Creation (B.E.C.) which empowers local women to become independent by using quality fabrics to revive the art of Boucharouette rug-making.

  6. Gerald Matolo, 20, Kenya: Gerald the founder of Angaza Africa Technologies, which makes briquette-machines, solid waste carbonization kilns, and processes biomass briquettes.

  7. Ibrahima Ben Aziz Konate, 22, Cote D’Ivoire: Ibrahima is the founder Poultry d’Or, a company that processes and distributes poultry products and agro-foods the same day.

  8. Ignatius Ahumuza, 21, Uganda: Ignatius is one of the founders of Art Planet Academy, which provides practical agriculture training in schools. Art Planet creates and innovates climate-smart farming technologies, tests them at demonstration farms and incorporates them into a practical agriculture training curriculum.

  9. Jessan Kumar Persand, 22, Mauritius: Jessan is the founder of Crab Aquaculture Project (Jessan Seafood), a business that breeds and raises crabs. Jessan produces about 2,000 crabs per month which are sold to hotels and restaurants.

  10. Maemu Lambani, 21, South Africa: Maemu is the founder of Fearless Trendz, a digital marketing agency whose aim is to transform growing and local businesses into global brands by using social media.

  11. Moonga Chowa, 22, Zambia: Moonga is the founder of Chilimba, a mobile platform that works on any mobile phone and allows savings groups to manage their contributions in an efficient and transparent manner, enabling them to migrate to safer digital money.

  12. Rebecca Andrianarisandy, 20, Madagascar: Rebecca is the founder of GasGasy which supplies affordable, environmentally-friendly and sustainable bio-fertiliser made in Madagascar for Malagasy people. It is easier to spray on crops because it is liquid fertilizer. GasGasy acts as an insecticide and is gentle on the soil.

  13. Satta Wahab, 21, Liberia: Satta is founder of Naz Naturals, a Liberian cosmetics company that creates organic hair care products from unrefined shea butter and empowers young girls and women to feel beautiful and confident with their natural hair.

  14. Thowiba Alhaj, 20, Sudan: Thowiba is one of the founders of Work Jump-Up Sudan, an organisation that intends to empower university students by linking them with job opportunities. Their primary activity is to search for potential employers and encourage them to offer students part-time jobs.

  15. Vicente Zau, 19, Angola: Vicente is the founder of Vicente News Company, an online platform that aims to promote African music, mainly Angolan music, across the continent to encourage the growth and development of African music in foreign countries.

Here are the 10 startups selected into first ever Africa-based Startupbootcamp accelerator programme

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After an intensive 3-month global search, Startupbootcamp (SBC) has selected the top 10 startups selected to participate in the first ever Africa-based SBC Accelerator programme.

The ten include Brownie Points, Dusu Pay, Fo-Sho, Got Bot, Just Now, Khoyn, MOBicure, Strider, Virtual Drive and Yethu. The accelerator programme kicks off in Cape Town on 4 September 2017.

In a statement Zachariah George, co-MD of Startupbootcamp Africa said, ““The African business and consumer sector is set to be the fastest growing market by the turn of the century. Innovative technological solutions in financial services, artificial intelligence, big data, IoT, etc. are leap-frogging conventional solutions put forward by traditional businesses. We believe that African startups are at the forefront of this innovation trend and we are excited to take part.”

The accelerator is anchored by leading corporate sponsors Old Mutual, RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Nedbank, Woolworths Financial Services and PwC. SBC travelled across 12 countries and 3 continents conducting 15 FastTrack events culminating in 518 applications from 43 countries, with 409 applications from Africa and 220 of those applications from South Africa alone.

Startupbootcamp is a global family of industry-focused accelerators that supports early-stage tech founders to rapidly scale their companies by providing direct access to an international network of the most relevant mentors, partners, and investors in their industry.

Founded in 2010, Startupbootcamp is a global startup accelerator with 18 programs in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Chengdu, Istanbul, London, Mexico City, Miami, Mumbai, New York, Rome, Singapore. They take startups global by giving them direct access to the international network of the most relevant partners, investors and mentors in their sector in more than 30 countries. 79% of the Startupbootcamp Alumi teams are still active and 71% have gone on to raise additional funding from many of the world’s leading VC’s and angels.

“What brought me to Africa in the first place is a study the United Nations did on the growth of the population globally which dictated that between now and the end of the century the population will increase by 4 billion and of that increase 90% will be in Africa. When you think about an increase of that magnitude, it’s going to require disruption across every element of life. There’s no hope for incremental growth, it’s going to have to scale massively. What’s exciting for us is that we can find massively scalable, disruptive, transformative technologies and solutions and seeing disruption across every element of life. That’s one of the things that makes the Africa programme so unique,” says Philip Kiracofe, co-MD of Startupbootcamp Africa.

 

 

Easypr.ng, Africa’s First Digital Content Distribution Platform Debuts In Lagos

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Easypr.ng, an online marketing and media content distribution platform has launched in Lagos.

Through the platform, individual and corporate organisations in need of public relations and other marketing services can customize required service to suit their budget plans.

It provides access to hundreds of newspapers and online news publishing platforms across Africa.

Companies and individuals looking to distribute press materials such as such as Press releases, news features, interviews and photo news, can create the contents and distribute through the platform by paying a fee depending on the number of media platforms required.

Users can also through the website, www.easypr.ng buy other marketing services such as digital marketing solutions including social media, advertising services, content writing and consultancy services.

Speaking about the solution, Co-founder, Easypr.ng, Afam Anyika said: “Our intention is to make sure that we deepen access to marketing services and at the same time make the process as seamless as possible.

“Through our solution, companies and individuals especially those without an idea on how to start, could get everything that they require from the platform without leaving the comfort of their homes or business places.

“For startups and individuals looking to get their word out there, there is dearth of marketing information available to make informed marketing decisions. That is the gap we have bridged with Easypr.ng. We understand the deep importance of SME’s to the nation and Africa’s economic growth. Put side by side the scarcely available marketing know-how for these businesses, our service aims to bridge the divide with a mission to significantly scale the SME sector in our part of the world, with success being the direct impact on varying economic/ market indicators.

“We not only provide these information, we give you the leverage to run a marketing campaign from the comfort of your house or office without wasting time on meetings and additional fees as seen with marketing agencies. It is more of a Do-It-Yourself for marketing.

“More so, this is the first time we are having an Afrocentric press distribution platform. We have access to hundreds of newspapers and blogs across Africa. And we provide access to these platforms at very cost effective rates. So, no one says you cannot launch a product in Ghana or Kenya while you are still here in Nigeria and at little or no cost. We simply want to sell Nigeria/Africa to the world.”

 

Strategic Partnerships and New Products Key to eTranzact’s Continued Profitability

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Premier e-payments solution provider, eTranzact International PLC held its 13th annual general meeting at the Civic Center, Victoria Island, Lagos on the 27th of July, 2016.

In attendance at the AGM were the executive and non-executive members of the board led by the Chairman, Mr Felix Ohiwerei, OFR; Mr Valentine Obi, Founder and CEO; and other members of the board.

The AGM had increased shareholder attendance and participation with general excitement about the company’s continuous profitability position and consistent dividend sharing in spite of the macroeconomic realities of the country in 2016.

Profitability and Dividends

eTranzact consolidated its dominance in key sectors of the industry in 2016, improving strategic partnerships and launching new products.

Gross revenue for the year 2016 was N10.4bn representing a 20% growth compared to 2015. Operating profit was 620m and Profit before tax(PBT) was 449.4m.

The board of directors approved the payment of a 10 kobo dividend to shareholders for the period.

Growth drivers

The key drivers of eTranzact’s growth in 2016 were strengthened collaboration with partner banks, major innovations across its mobile banking suite, new product releases and strategic alliances.

The Future

eTranzact has taken steps to increase profitability of new relationships, enhance and deepen existing ones, and explore new partnerships locally and internationally.

Speaking on the company’s performance for the period, Mr Felix Ohiwerei, OFR, Chairman of the Board, said “As a company we continue to demonstrate our understanding of the benefits of strategic alliances and the potential business opportunities these can create. We have fostered new relationships, enhanced and deepened existing ones and explored newer opportunities within our ongoing associations with existing partners. Our alliances contributed significantly to some of the improved financial performance we achieved in 2016.

I would like to take this opportunity to inform you all that this will be my last AGM as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and as a member of the Board. From the beginning, the Board in collaboration with the management team, have worked hard to build a world class organization with global operating standards. We have made a lot of progress over the years and we keep getting better

We are poised and committed to be a regional leader in the medium term and in the long term, a global leader in the electronic and mobile payment industry. To this end, we will continue to deliver secure, cost effective and innovative electronic and mobile payment services that are compliant with globally recognized standards”.

Also speaking, the Founder and CEO, eTranzact International Plc, Mr. Valentine Obi said:

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of the eTranzact board, Mr Felix Ohiwerei, OFR for his outstanding service and commitment to the vision, mission and values of our company.

Mr Ohiwerei has over the years shown us the true meaning of value based leadership demonstrating a continuous commitment to excellence, strategic planning and hard work. He leaves a strong legacy that we will work hard to keep up with and we will continue to execute our long term strategy and deliver on the mission and vision of the company.

I will also like to appreciate the board, management and staff of eTranzact for their doggedness continued innovation, drive and commitment to the vision and mission of the company.

2016 was a year that required special focus as we launched new products and extended our philosophy of making payments simple to other more complex industries as part of our innovation drive.

The rewards of our efforts have stayed consistent with an annual revenue growth rate of 70% that we hope to continue.

We promise to continue to make payments simple, and innovating and creating solutions that transform the lives of people in Africa”.

 

 

Ninety Percent of Kenyans Have Seen Fake News Regarding the 2017 General Election

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The first ever study on fake news in Kenya, The Reality of Fake News in Kenya, launched today in Nairobi and reveals shocking results concerning veracity of Kenya’s Media. The new study reveals that 90% of Kenyans have seen or heard false news about the 2017 general election, with 87% reporting instances of deliberately false or fake news.

The nationwide survey was led by strategic communications consultancy Portland in collaboration with GeoPoll, a mobile surveying platform.

Conducted via SMS, the survey asked a nationally representative sample of 2,000 Kenyans a series of questions about their consumption of news during May 2017 in relation to the forthcoming general election.

The survey found:

  • 90% of respondents reported having seen false or inaccurate news in relation to the general election. 87% of respondents regarded this news as being deliberately misleading – or fake news.
  • Traditional media remain the most trusted news sources, with television ranking highest, followed by radio and newspapers.
  • Radio is the most consistently accessed source of news in Kenya, with the smallest variation between different provinces across the country.
  • Social media is widely used by Kenyans of all ages to access and share news, with 49% of Kenyans using social platforms to secure general election news. However, social media consistently ranks lower than traditional media on trust.
  • Facebook and WhatsApp are the most popular social media platforms for news, preferred overall by 46% and 25% respectively.
  • Friends and family, and community leaders, are the least trusted sources of news overall, ranked as the least likely to provide accurate information about the general election.
  • 57% Kenyans feel able to access all the information about the general election that they need.
  • A vast majority of Kenyans (78%) would like more factual and accurate information about the general election instead of opinion and commentary.
  • 67% of Kenyans prefer comprehensive and detailed information about politics. 33% prefer summarised and concise information.

Robert Watkinson, Partner at Portland, said, “With 4 in 10 Kenyans unable to access accurate information about the general election, fake news is clearly a limiting factor on the electorate’s ability to make informed decisions. By revealing the scale and impact of fake news, we hope this study provides a new point of reference, not just for political campaigning in Kenya but also for all communicators seeking to engage Kenyans in the digital age.”

 

Learning from MainOne’s Outage, Infrastructure sharing and consolidation are the solution to industry distress-Suleiman Arzika

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While the Nation was still reeling from the effects of the outage of the dominant international fiber cable operator Main One, we were hit with the news of the financial/commercial crisis at one of the 4 dominant telecommunications operators Etisalat Nigeria. The crisis was so severe that it looked for a while that the company may go into receivership. This seems to have now been averted by the unprecedented intervention of the industry regulator- the Nigeria Communications Commission and the banking regulator Central Bank of Nigeria. For now, the banks have been allowed to take over the management and board of the company to keep it afloat while they work out a long term solution to the survival of the 4th largest telco in the country.

In an economy that has been more than 18 months in recession, this was just the latest blow from one of the hitherto lucrative industries that were considered the most bankable and cash rich sectors of the Nigerian economy. Since the successful liberalization of the telecommunications industry in the early 2000s, it rapidly became one of the fastest growing business segments in the world growing from less than 1 million customers in 1999 to more than 100 million customers as at 2015. This follows the distress we have seen in Aviation- where the 2 largest carriers Arik Airlines and Aero Contractors have been in receivership and various tales of distress we hear from the financial sector. It is fair to say that these are not the best of times for corporate Nigeria and something needs to be done urgently to stabilize the economy.

That said, what went wrong in the telecommunications sector and could the current distress have been avoided or minimized? I will say yes from my perspective. And much more efficiency and margin can be created with some innovative and forceful consolidation. The telecommunications landscape today is littered with massive inefficiencies that are very costly and have distorted the structure and increased costs. If these are eliminated or reduced, it will create a better playing field and reduce the chokehold on the operators.

Typically, the telecommunications industry comprises of upstream and downstream segments. The upstream segment comprises of wholesalers which include international cable operators, national cable operators, international voice and data gateways and national voice and data gateways. This also includes colocation and data center providers. The customers for these providers are other telcos, large corporates and government.

In the downstream segment, we have the retail services. The players here are the telcos (GSM and other telephony operators), Internet Service Providers (fiber to the premises, wimax and 4G) and application service providers (whatsapp, Facebook, skype, etc). There are of course ancillary providers who fall into the downstream such as recharge card distributors, installers and contractors. The customers for these providers are individual subscribers, homes, small and medium offices, etc.

Because of the way telecommunications have evolved, there are some integrated players who are basically shaped by their history more than any other factor. These integrated players are mostly the former incumbent national operators like AT&T in the US, BT in the UK, France Telecom in France, DT in Germany, NTT in Japan and so on. These integrated players built from the ground up because they had to create the facilities for their services to run on because in the days when the industry was tightly regulated, no other operator was allowed to compete with them. NITEL in Nigeria would have been in this category if it had survived.

Changes in 2 major factors have always and will continue to determine fortunes in the telecom business- they are changes in technology and changes in consumer behavior. The 2 factors don’t necessarily go hand in hand. A lot of the time, the technology runs ahead of consumer behavior while in some cases, technology has to catch up with consumer demand (when this happens, it is a jackpot). Some examples may be helpful here, When 3G services were launched in the late 2000s, equipment manufacturers and telcos were eager to show customers the wonder of video calling. Suddenly, you could see the called party on a video on your phone. It turns out that people were not ready for this yet, they didn’t want to see the people they were talking to for all sorts of reasons including the cost of the call. The manufacturers and telcos had to beat back a retreat and focus on the larger data capabilities of 3G networks and allow OTT (over the top) providers like Skype to fiddle with video calling until they found the right fit. Up till today the telcos are not able to find customers for video calling in the way that OTT providers are. On the other hand, per second billing of voice calls was one instance where the consumer demand was ahead of the technology and it took a while before the manufacturers and telcos were able to meet this. One of our local telcos who was first to provide this made it a game changer and reaped massive benefits back in the day.

So with rapidly evolving technology and consumer behavior, the operators are forced to continuously innovate and adapt in order to remain profitable. While they are making profits today, they are forced to envision where these 2 factors are going and how to respond to them. In most cases it involves tearing down the entire network and rebuilding it which may be cheaper but not feasible because services cannot be interrupted for so long. This makes the older operators who have to adapt to new technology have much higher switching costs than newer operators- legacy problem. This is probably the only industry where history is a liability.

So with such a situation, the odds are always in favor of the operator who is nimble, agile, ruthless and focused on the value proposition. It is always against the heavier, legacy laden and deeply entrenched player. This is one of the mistakes of the Nigerian telcos. While they are fairly new operators, less than 20 years old in most cases, they have been in a rush to acquire heavy assets including fiber optic lines across international and national boundaries, towers, switching and transmission equipment, land and buildings and so on. They have also developed these in parallel to each other thereby replicating costs across the industry and building huge operating costs. A classic example of this is in the building of towers. It is common to see 3-4 telco towers in a 100 sq.m area because according to the radio spectrum planning, that location is ideal for the towers but instead of one tower that everyone will share, every operator has erected their own. The set up cost and operating cost over time is accumulated and passed on to the customer eventually which leads to avoidable higher prices.

The inability to envision and adapt to new technology has also caught the telcos in severe slumber and led to avoidable problems. At Suburban we saw this clearly when we adopted Internet Protocol( IP) technology far ahead of the industry and made huge gains throughout the period we were a wholesale transmission provider. While other operators were still investing in soon to be obsolete circuit switching or SS7 technology, the smarter operators went for IP. Today the entire ICT architecture the world over runs on IP and those who adopted early had a stable foundation to build on. Today, the telcos are being taken to the cleaners by Over the Top(OTT) operators like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon, Google, etc. This is due to their inability to perceive that customer behavior will shift in that direction. Today the traditional voice and sms revenue that made the telcos extremely profitable has been totally eroded by these free services that actually run on their networks. Unfortunately they are relegated to just being internet/data services providers. Internet/data services are more complex to run and provide lower margins than voice and sms which has led to the current distress the telcos find themselves in.

While it will take individual efforts at each telco to change their approach and attitude towards perceiving and responding to customer demands, it is easier to take steps to reduce waste by some practical steps. If operators across the entire spectrum craft their value propositions by defining their markets and focusing on them, they can create room to maneuver. So there is no need for Main One to be a downstream ISP competing with its customers when it does not have redundancies and alternative routing to secure its main investment ie the international cable. Likewise Globacom does not need to be a national carrier building everything everywhere to provide facilities that it cannot monetize. The international and national cable operators need to to share and swap their cable capacities. They need to define and streamline their customers so that they don’t end up competing with and killing their customers. When they do this, they trigger a price war that they cannot sustain and hence a race to the grave. The proper industry structure needs to be agreed to protect operators investments and customers.

This may not be easy for players who have made careers out of antagonizing each other, so the regulator NCC may have to step in to get this done. The opportunity presented by the distress of Etisalat has presented the perfect excuse for the NCC to do just this. The template of banking consolidation by the Chukwuma Soludo Central Bank may provide the framework for this much needed intervention. Along with this consolidation, the regulator needs to establish strict corporate governance guidelines that will help ensure that the massive investments in the sector are properly secured. The Federal Government itself needs to be take this very seriously as it can be seen that the failure of such a huge institution like Etisalat can cause a financial crisis that will affect the banks and other financial institutions and derail foreign investment required for diversification of the national economy. Let this be a wake up call for all of us.