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Duty free shopping startup named top dog at Seedstars Abidjan

Duty free shopping startup Airshop has been named the regional winner of Seedstars World in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The global competition for startups from emerging markets recently hosted a total of 10 local company founders to pitch at the Orange Technocentre in Abidjan. Startups competed for a shot at the grand prize of US$500 000, which will happen at the finals in Switzerland.

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Other investments and prizes up for grabs are a US$500 000 equity investment by group for the best travel startup as well as a US$50 000 grant for the best space startup.

Abidjan’s top startup Airshop is a platform that enables people to order items online and pick them up at duty-free shops when they travel. In turn, customers can save an estimated 20% off their purchases.

Francis Yapobi of Airshop said in a press release, “I feel relieved, excited. It was a lot of stress but now I’m relieved! I can’t wait to be in Geneva next year.”

One of the judges of the event was Nnenna Nwakanma who is Africa’s regional coordinator at the World Wide Web Foundation. She expressed her excitement towards all the local entrepreneurs who pitched:

I wish we had the Internet before now. If we did, Africa would certainly be a different place. I have faith that the Youth in Africa, given the right technology opportunities, will be key in reducing poverty for the continent. I congratulate them all.

Read more: Seedstars World competition heads to Abidjan for its next leg

Another judge, Sadamadou Kaba, the head of Department at Orange Fab Abidjan, echoed, “We were especially impressed by Airshop because they address a global need from a local perspective. We are very much looking forward to collaborating with them going forward with Orange Fab Cote D’Ivoire.”

ICT4Dev with its software solution targeting agriculture businesses was the runner-up of the competition while Africa Media Group, a video on demand platform for Africa content, grabbed the last spot in the top three.

The other startups invited to pitch were as follows:

  • BaraChic – a platform for minor savings or receiving assets on credit
  • Sabicash – petty cash and banking solution for the non-formal market
  • – online marketplace for mico-services and jobs on the internet
  • LIFI-LED Côte D’Ivoire – smart lighting and LED producer
  • Zoexpertiz – an online training facility
  • Titrophone – an SMS / voice message broadcasting service encouraging readers to purchase newspapers

Seedstars World’s next stop is Kigali where the event will be hosted on 26 August at local hub KLab, to find the best startup in Rwanda.

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