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  • Seedstars World launches call in Lagos in search of Nigeria’s next top startups

    Global seed-stage startup competition Seedstars World today launched a call for applications to search for Nigeria’s next top seed-stage startups. With the support of sponsors Orange, Merck, Enel and the local host Seedspace Lagos, Seedstars World will be holding a dynamic pitch event on 25 August in Lagos, Seedstars World said in a press release today. Seedstars World is travelling to more than 75 countries this year to identify the best seed-stage entrepreneurs and provide them with an opportunity to win up to $500 000 and network with investors and mentors from around the world. Previous participants have raised over $61-million collectively, providing employment to more than...

  • Still stuck in school — NITDA’s awkward romance with Nigerian startups [opinion]

    When many Nigerian founders of startups are asked to list their major challenges, they often mention the lack of support from the Nigerian government. While this is a widely accepted position in the country’s startup ecosystem, government officials and politicians at all levels believe the industry is getting more than enough support from the government -- which set up the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). The agency has been tasked with developing the country’s ICT industry. How it perhaps started So how did it come about? The theory is that some years ago some international tech experts visited Nigeria's then president Olusegun Obasanjo at the...

  • Q&A: Africa’s mobile money ecosystem and its opportunities for startups

    Ninety-nine percent of high school fees in the Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) in 2015-2016 were paid via mobile money, while M-KOPA and Fenix International have sold over 600 000 home solar power kits in East Africa via mobile phone as of April. These are just two interesting insights provided by Gerry Rasugu (pictured above), GSMA’s mobile money market engagement director for Africa and the Middle East. Rasugu spoke to Ventureburn following a report that the international mobile operator association released earlier this month. More innovation in mobile money is taking place in those markets with enabling regulatory frameworks Ventureburn: To what extent would you say the growth...

  • SA, Ghanaian startup shortlisted for Swiss-based Kickstart Accelerator

    South African startup Libryo and Ghanaian startup Farmerline have been selected for Swiss-based Kickstart Accelerator’s second cohort of 30 startups which hail from around the world. The announcement was made by Kickstart Accelerator on Wednesday. Libryo, a legal platform which enables organisations to understand their legal obligations, and Farmerline, an information service for small-scale farmers in Africa, will take part in the 11-week programme in Zurich from 4 September to 17 November. The second cohort has been divided into four verticals, namely: fintech, smart cities and robotics and intelligent systems. Adel Raslan, who handles publics relations on behalf of Kickstart, told Ventureburn that 10% of the applications...

  • Egyptian wins $100 000 Innovation Prize for Africa with smart magnetic bearings

    Egyptian Aly El-Shafei was last night awarded the Innovation Prize for Africa's grand prize of $100 000 for his innovative magnetic bearings which help increase energy generation. The competition is run by the African Innovation Foundation. Shafei (pictured above), whose prize was presented by the President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo at a ceremony at Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, Ghana, said he plans to use the prize money to further develop his product which he patented in the US in 2010. Instead of the normal oil bearing, his patented innovation – SEMAJIB – includes a magnetic bearing embedded in the oil bearing, which will...

  • Don’t rush to get backers, African Innovation Foundation head tells hubs

    Those running tech hubs in poor areas of Africa should not rush to get corporate and government sponsors, but should rather grow their hubs organically and produce success stories before getting outside partners, says entrepreneur Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais. Speaking on the sidelines of the 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa event in Accra, Ghana, Bastos de Morais, who is also the founder of the African Innovation Foundation, detailed his new project, an innovation hub in the Cazenga slum in Luanda, Angola. The 49-year-old Swiss entrepreneur founded Fabrica de Sabao, a former soap factory, in 2015. It includes a co-working space, a MakerSpace with equipment such as...

  • PeaceTech Accelerator looking for more startups for its next cohorts

    PeaceTech Accelerator, a Washington DC based cloud innovation centre and scale-up programme devoted to peace technology, is looking for more participants for its next cohort starting on 8 September with the third planned for January next year. PeaceTech Accelerator was launched earlier this year by tech investment firm C5 Accelerate and PeaceTech Lab , a peace building non-profit, in collaboration with cloud computing service provider, Amazon Web Services, and has since graduated its first cohort. It runs eight week programmes for companies and non-profit organisations involved in the development of innovative technologies that promote peace and build stronger, safer societies. Dimitra Hatzudis, external relations coordinator at C5 Accelerate,...

  • XAfricaMart.com marketplace launches with a transaction fee of just 1.2%

    Online B2B marketplace XAfricaMart.com was launched yesterday in Johannesburg, with its CEO Stephen Oehley claiming that the marketplace has one of the lowest transaction fees in the market for suppliers. The marketplace which is aimed at small and growing businesses, will offer sellers and customers a secure payment platform that mitigates online trading risks and non-delivery. Sellers are charged a 1.2% sales success fee. This compares to Amazon which charges a fee of 3.9% for international transactions, eBay which charges a fee of 3.5% or 10% depending on the number of goods listed on the site and Alibaba which charges a 5% fee. XAfricaMart.com also seeks to network businesses up...

  • Seedstars, Enel seeking energy entrepreneurs for Africa Energy Prize

    Global startup competition Seedstars  in collaboration with Enel Group, a global power company, have announced the creation of the Africa Energy Prize. The competition, which is aimed at African startups, is looking for startups that focus on increasing energy access. The collaboration, which was announced on 7 July, will form part of the existing annual Seedstars World Competition.  Seedstars and Enel representatives will evaluate startups' business models and the Enel team will announce the top finalists in December at the RES4Africa event. The winner will be announced at the global Seedstars Summit in Switzerland in April next year, whereupon they will enter Seedstars' three-month growth...

  • ‘Ghana’s impressive track record helped it secure 2017 IPA competition’

    An impressive track record -- that's what helped Ghana to secure the hosting of this year's Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), says the competition's director Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl. The event, run by the African Innovation Foundation, takes place in Accra, Ghana on 17 and 18 July. "Ghana's leadership have put innovation at the centre of the country's development agenda, and there is a clear commitment towards consolidating a thriving national innovation ecosystem. This is demonstrated by a commitment to dedicate one percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to innovation," Mujawamariya told Ventureburn yesterday. Singling out several innovation hubs in Ghana, she said the West African country is...