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Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [09/04/2020]
Ghanaian healthtech mPharma plans to equip and re-purpose private labs into Covid-19 testing centres. The startups is one of many on the continent that aims to tackle the pandemic.
This, as a group of businesses, led by Willowton Group and Al Baraka Bank, have joined forces to raise R500-million for a small business fund through the creation of the Giving For Hope Foundation.
With the coronavirus (Covid-19) headlining news all over the world, Ventureburn has launched a regular daily roundup on the virus and how it is affecting Africa’s tech startup sector.
Those with any news releases relating to Covid-19 and Africa’s tech startup sector can send these to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ghana’s mPharma plans to re-purpose private labs into Covid-19 testing centres and is one of many African startups that aim to tackle the pandemic
Here then is the latest on the coronavirus and African tech startups:
More small business debt relief: A group of businesses, led by Willowton Group and Al Baraka Bank, have joined forces to launch a small business fund through the creation of the Giving For Hope Foundation (GFHF). The fund already has initial capital of R100-million. GFHF founder Mahomed Zubeir Moosa called on businesses across the country to loan money to the GFHF with the ultimate aim of raising R500-million within the next few weeks. This will be split into small loans which will be effective for two years. The fund will be administered by Al Baraka Bank. All lending to be fully Shariah-compliant. Loan applications will be accepted from potential clients from 15 April with payouts to clients expected to begin by the end of April.
Call for personal protective equipment suppliers: SA’s National Treasury has called on compliant essential personal protective equipment (PPEs) suppliers to direct their offers to the department’s Project Management Office, SAnews reported in an article yesterday. A support team will assess the submissions.
Jumia launches portal: Ecommerce giant Jumia yesterday announced the launch of a portal in South Africa to help consumers access essential products at the lowest price. The startup said the launch of the portal will help provide consumers with a steady supply of hygiene and sanitary products such as diapers, soap bars, disinfectants, and liquid hand wash at affordable prices. It will also enable brands and vendors of essential products to reach consumers at a time where distribution in retail is challenging.
Kenyan tech firms back initiative: Top Kenyan tech companies including Twiga Foods, Jumia, Koko Networks, Ushahidi, Copia, Lynk and M-Kopa are contributing their platforms and capabilities to Safe Hands Kenya. They join a broad alliance of Kenyan companies and community organisations providing rapid mass sanitation with free hand sanitiser, soap, surface disinfectants and masks for all Kenyans in the fight against Covid-19. Safe Hands Kenya has brought together tech firms, inputs providers, manufacturers, distribution specialists, community NGOs, and behaviour change experts to create an Internet-of-Things (IoT) enabled supply chain and plan complex logistics to reach the last mile.
Covid-19 challenge winner: Egyptian startup Niotek, which runs a platform for Internet of Things (IoT) developers, has been named winner of Cairo Angels’ Covid-19 challenge, tech publication Disrupt Africa reported in an article on Monday (7 April). The startup took home a 100 000 Egyptian pound ($6000) prize and various other kinds of support, including mentoring from Cairo Angels.
Namola adds Covid-19 tools: SA startup Namola, which runs a safety app, said yesterday that it continues to serve users in getting 24-hour emergency response. It said the app’s latest update adds free Covid-19 support tools to the app. Namola CEO Peter Matthaei said app users can now see the latest case statistics, access important helplines, read the latest news and sign up to receive Covid-19 alerts. Watch this video on how the support portal works.
Covid-19 testing centres: The CEO and co-founder of Accra based medicine benefits and inventory manager mPharma, Gregory Rockson (pictured above), said in a tweet yesterday that the startup plans to equip and re-purpose private labs into Covid-19 testing centres. “Each lab will receive one PCR equipment and test kits. They will also receive funding to increase their bio-safety level. We are starting in Ghana and will soon expand this programme to Nigeria, Kenya, and Zambia. We are also working with the Red Cross to set up testing centres in fragile countries starting in Zimbabwe,” the startup revealed in a newsletter. In January last year the startup announced that it had landed over $9-million in investment in a Series-B round (see this story).
Mass testing guide: Nigerian medtech startup MDaaS Global has released a mass testing guide. See it here. The startup, which offers a wide array of high-impact diagnostic procedures from simple malaria tests to echo-cardiograms and pap smears, raised a $1-million in seed investment in June last year (see this story).
Infographic: Fraser Consulting, a SA consultancy that assists the startup ecosystem, has collated a Google Doc, detailing the available funds and non-financial opportunities for SA small businesses – which we will updated on a daily basis. It’s also put together an infographic detailing the various financial and non-financial support available to small businesses in South Africa to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic (see it here).
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [08/04/2020]
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Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [01/04/2020]
Featured image: Gregory Rockson, CEO and co-founder of mPharma (Facebook)