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‘Excited’ co-founder’s legal firm is among 12 African startups in HiiL accelerator

Epoq Legal South Africa COO Emile Gerber
Epoq Legal South Africa COO Emile Gerber

Being selected for the Hague-based HiiL Justice Accelerator has been the “most exciting” moment in his career for Epoq Legal COO Emile Gerber.

The SA legaltech startup — which offers a service that provides real-time assistance and guidance around the creation of legal documents used by businesses — is one of 12 African startups that was selected earlier this month to join the accelerator’s six-month long programme, which got under way earlier this month.

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After receiving over 430 applications from around the world, HiiL announced on 17 October that it had selected 17 startups from around the world to join its latest cohort.

The 12 African startups selected to participate in the 2019 HiiL Justice Accelerator hail from Benin, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda

The accelerator helps justice innovators working on scalable sustainable solutions with access to grant funding, expertise and support. The acceleration programme was expected to start this month and will run for six months.

In a phone call with Ventureburn, Gerber (pictured above) said he was “incredibly excited” to be part of the accelerator. He said he is now looking to launch a pilot for his startup at the end of the first quarter next year.

The 17 startups were selected through the Innovating Justice Challenge, in a selection process that included online engagement, training and regional pitching finals in seven locations around the world.

HiiL said in a blog post on its website that each one of the 17 selected finalists will receive an initial grant of €5000, with additional funding and business service support available throughout the year.

HiiL’s 2019 Justice Accelerator cohort cover a wide variety of services for assisting with criminal procedures, legal services, property rights and business contracting issues. The solutions include mobile access to legal advice via shortcodes, a chatbot, an automated contracting platform and a board game.

The 12 African startups participating in the accelerator programme are:

Boabob (South Africa): This platform enables lawyers to create engaging video-based tutorials, to empower people to resolve many of their own legal issues. In September the startup was named the Southern Africa winner of HiiL’s annual Innovating Justice Challenge.

Epoq Legal (South Africa): A legal document service that provides real-time assistance and guidance around the creation of legal documents used by businesses.

HeLawyer (Benin): A mobile app specialising in legal advice. HeLawyer provides citizens with round the clock legal information and advice.

CrimeSync (Sierra Leone): An all-in-one digital crime records management application which serves to improve judicial service delivery through the whole justice chain.

FarmworkerzApp (Nigeria): A digital platform that seeks to connect vetted farm-hands to potential farms for hiring anytime, anywhere to eliminate conflict between workers and farm owners.

Btrack (Kenya): Btrack has developed tracking devices that enable motorcycle owners to easily track their motorcycles on their mobile phones in the event of theft.

Viamo (Rwanda): This social enterprise is developing information on access to justice that will be made available on demand in pre-recorded audio and text, on a toll-free mobile service under the shortcode 845, supported by MTN.

Wakili Mkononi (Kenya): Wakili Mkononi is a social enterprise that offers legal aid services and legal networking services through its digital platform.

Yunga (Uganda): This local rescue digital network was designed to allow neighbours to communicate with each other in real time in the event of an attack.

Tunga Innovations (Uganda): Tunga Innovation’s Nkola app that informs users about their employment rights.

JusticeBot (Uganda): This chatbot provides users in need of legal services with access to legal procedures, information and services.

Zzimba Games (Uganda): Zzimba Games is simplifying the justice ecosystem by simulating Ugandans experience through an entertaining card and board game that mirrors their environment and subsequently provides them with knowledge of the country’s legal system.

Read more33 African startups make it into 2018 Innovating Justice Challenge finals
Read moreSA legal startup Baobab named as Southern African winner of HiiL challenge
Read more: This is how SA’s 2018 HiiL finalists are using tech to serve justice in the country

Featured image: Epoq Legal South Africa COO Emile Gerber (Supplied)

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