The needs of Start-ups, MSMEs and SMEs in Africa today revolve around a balanced combination of financing and operational support
PARIS, France, July 24, 2019 – The Senegalese General Delegation for the Acceleration of Entrepreneurship for Women and Young People (DER), under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal, signed a partnership agreement with GreenTec Capital Partners, the premier German investor into African Start-ups. The purpose of the agreement is the foundation of the first regional Venture Building Center in Africa to tackle investment challenges by providing investment tickets between € 10,000 and € 500,000 for entrepreneurs at the cusp of their growth stages.
The needs of Start-ups, MSMEs and SMEs in Africa today revolve around a balanced combination of financing and operational support.
The entrepreneurial boom and the entrepreneurial spirit on the African continent are primarily supported by the growth of new ecosystem stakeholders such as incubators, hubs, and accelerators. This momentum is nevertheless hindered by the systemic operational deficiencies that still exist within the ecosystem today. Additionally, the Start-ups are most often not well prepared to use conventional financing vehicles such as venture capital.
The agreement was signed by the Minister Delegate for Entrepreneurship, Papa Amadou Sarr, and the CEO and co-founder of the German investment company, GreenTec Capital Partners, Erick Yong, joining the mutual ambitions of the two entities to the benefit of young Senegalese entrepreneurs by:
- Providing financing of the digital sector
- Strengthening the operational capacities of Start-ups,
- Setting up a common infrastructure to enable startups to develop sustainably.
A new and better structured ecosystem is needed to enable entrepreneurs to move efficiently from the proof-of-concept stage with low revenues (post-accelerator) to a stage of sustainable growth, thereby overcoming the “valley of death.” The relevance of this partnership is rooted in the alignment and the sharing of resources between different actors, ranging from the public and private sectors and including development banks and civil society organizations. The joint initiative will further enable entrepreneurs with high potential to get better access the support they need to grow. Accessing support in the form of personalized operational assistance will create value for entrepreneurs who have matured past the phase in which incubators and accelerators have added value. This will help to further improve the quality of Start-ups and improve their chances of success.
The guiding principle of this initiative is that Africa must not be a passive observer of its own development, but an active player that invests resources and co-designs the agenda of development. Following this thought, it is in line with the political will of Senegalese President, H.E. Macky Sall, that the Republic of Senegal has decided to integrate the venture building model developed by GreenTec Capital with the coordination of DER. The DER, created in 2017 and operational since March 2018, has been provided with a budget of $ 5 million per year, until 2023 to achieve these goals.
DER, the Senegalese General Delegation for the Acceleration of Entrepreneurship for Women and Young People is an initiative of the President of the Republic of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall. Its priority is to support and finance Senegalese entrepreneurs in the Senegalese National Development Plan’s priority sectors, which are agriculture, the digital economy, tourism, crafts, services, and several others.
The collaboration between The Republic of Senegal and GreenTec Capital Partners coincides with the ambitions of the French initiative Digital Africa led by Karim Sy. Mr. Sy has guaranteed to lend the full support of the French initiative to this new ecosystem building centre, which is based on the sharing of resources and the catalyzing of actors in the African entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Through its innovation fund the DER has already invested in 44 Senegalese startups in 2018, with ticket sizes ranging from € 10,000 to € 100,000. In 2019, the DER aims to support more than 150 digital Startups and SMEs, by investing more than 10 million euros, while supporting an additional twenty Start-ups with the GreenTec Capital venture-building model.
It is not a coincidence that the day of the signature of the agreement between the DER and GreenTec coincides with groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of “The DER Innovation HUB.” The objective is to position Senegal as a major player in the field of innovation on a regional level. The Hub will host major technology companies, innovators, incubators, and accelerators… and of course the GreenTec Capital Partners team.
The agreement also includes the establishment of the new GreenTec Capital regional office in Dakar. Designed to support and develop the operations of the largest investment structure in Germany for African start-ups in Francophone Africa. The local team will help raise the critical operational capabilities of companies to help make them more attractive for international investors.
In the last four years, GreenTec Capital’s investment model has already proven successful in 10 African countries – 4 of them in Francophone Africa, among them Rwanda, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Benin, and several others. Now this model will be implemented in Senegal contributing to a new investment ecosystem adapted to the structural specificities of entrepreneurship on the African continent.
Due to its high adaptation to the African context, the innovative investment model is scalable across the continent. It provides opportunities to design and develop new innovative solutions formed by international partnerships that can benefit the entire continent.
Credit: GreenTec Capital Partners
Mangwee: Our Story
Mangwee is a mobile money transfer platform aimed at increasing the rate of financial inclusion especially in rural areas and propelling Zambia and Africa to cash-light economies this is done through the provision of an easy secure and affordable payment platform. The Mangwee platform is not just a mobile money transfer platform but an ecosystem of applications aimed at making people’s lives easy. We have an assortment of innovative applications targeted at improving the lives of the Women, Farmers, Youths and people who are excluded from accessing financial products and services.
Launched in May 2018 after being issued with a designation license by the Central Bank of Zambia, Mangwee provides a range of services including online payment gateways, bill payments, and mobile money services. Mangwee Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder Inonge Imasiku Kampamba started Mangwee with two other Cofounders with a vision for the unbanked to provide them with a quality payment system that is secure and affordable.
Mangwee promotes the use of user-to-user transfers, which it hopes will increase the adoption of mobile money in Zambia. To date Mangwee has registered over 2000 users and has recruited 36 agents who are operating around Zambia. Mangwee charges a fee for every transaction processed on the platform and agents earn a commission for every transaction they successfully process on the platform.
Over two years Mangwee has been in operation, Mangwee payments has gained local and global recognition as a disruptor of electronic payments. The Zambian startup was selected to represent the country at the Women In Africa (WIA) 54 Project Third Annual Summit Edition, which took place in Marrakech on 27th and 28th June 2019 led by the Startup CEO Inonge Imasiku Kampamba.
Currently Mangwee has a women empowerment programme dedicated to empowering women especially in rural communities giving them access to finance and tools to help them set up their businesses. In November 2019 Mangwee signed a partnership with an NGO based in France and Benin called Hirondelle de l’Avenir to pilot a Women Empowerment Program in Zambia which will also be implemented in Benin. The project is justified by the fact that the majority of women are excluded financially because they lack collateral and stable sources of income.
In January 2020, Mangwee was among five Zambian startups that were selected to take part in the FinTech4U Accelerator Programme, which offers prototype funding and access to mentors and business support.
The progarmme was launched via a partnership between the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and Lusaka-based incubator BongoHive. The six-month programme, is broken up into three months of dedicated programme and three more of business support and prototype funding.
Mangwee currently has a team of five employees who are professionally qualified in Finance, accounting, information technology, business development and marketing.
2020: Paxful, A Global Crypto Giant Sets Top 3 Priorities For Africa
Paxful Co-Founders, Artur Schabak & Ray Youssef (Source: Paxful)
By almost every metric, Africa has been central to the Paxful story; company shares about their top 3 priorities for Africa
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa- Global peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin marketplace, Paxful, believes that the world has much to learn from Africa about the future of the crypto-economy and that 2020 will be a landmark year for the African crypto and blockchain industry.
With millions of users globally and Africa being the fastest-growing region, Paxful reported that the company processed almost $1.6 billion (R23 billion) in trade volume globally in 2019; the result of a steady increase of 25%+ trade volume growth year-on-year on the platform since the business’ inception in 2015. Paxful currently hosts over three million wallets, 45% of which are from Africa.
Deepen our relationship with our African users
While the peer-to-peer marketplace has enjoyed tremendous success on the continent, the company is not complacent. Paxful leadership intends to spend a lot more time in Africa over the next few years. The aim is to continue to learn from its customers and provide them with the best possible peer-to-peer finance marketplace.
With Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya already among the leading markets, the company also expects to extend its customer base in many more markets where it is seeing a steady increase in trading volumes on the continent like Zambia and Uganda. African trading volume on the Paxful platform grew by over 57% in 2019 and the company hopes to accelerate trading volumes further this year.
Reflecting on the rapid growth of the blockchain and bitcoin sector, research from the professional networking platform Linkedin shows that blockchain tops the list of most in-demand hard skills for 2020. For this reason, another important consideration for Paxful is engaging talent in Africa. The company believes that Africa can become a leader in bitcoin skills development. Paxful hopes to expand African participation in the company’s Global Peer Programme – an initiative to encourage bitcoin users around the world to educate each other about the opportunities offered by the crypto-economy.
“We are very, very bullish on Africa and believe it is critical to the future of the crypto-economy overall. While many parts of the developed world are fixated on speculative activity in the crypto economy, people in Africa are teaching us about the true use cases of bitcoin and the opportunity it presents for greater financial inclusion of the under-banked. As a company, we want to do what we can to ensure that our platform continues to be a bridge to the global economy for our customers” Says Artur Schaback, Co-Founder and COO of Paxful.
In December 2019, Paxful and Binance, the leading global cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume and users, announced its strategic partnership in which Paxful serves as a fiat-to-cryptocurrency on-ramp for Binance, providing numerous payment methods for purchasing Bitcoin to Binance’s global user base.
Paxful has also partnered with many other strategic players in the crypto economy – including the likes of BitMart, BSpin, AirTM, and CoinLogiq – who offer a variety of complementary services to make it as possible for its users to take advantage of the power of P2P finance. Paxful hopes to work with African partners as well.
“Africa has tremendous potential and partnerships are essential in this pivotal time within the cryptocurrency industry. We are actively looking to join forces with African-born crypto players who share our passion and vision for the global crypto-economy and to join our efforts in bringing bitcoin to the unbanked masses across the continent to fundamentally help alleviate poverty, boost economies and create jobs,” says Ray Youssef, CEO and co-founder of Paxful.
Making education and social good a priority
“With bitcoin’s original mission of financial inclusion in mind, Paxful is committed to reaching as many people as possible to help them better understand the opportunities presented by the crypto-economy. With this in mind, education and social development will always be a priority for Paxful,” adds Youssef.
Last year, Paxful undertook an education drive focused on Universities. Beginning with Universities in East and Southern Africa, the initiative has reached over 1000 youths. The education workshops provided key, practical insights to the true use cases of Bitcoin, how to avoid falling prey to bad actors in the crypto-space and served to counter the over-emphasis on Bitcoin speculation. This type of education will continue to reach the youth.
In the same year, the company also launched the aforementioned Paxful Peer Program, a platform encouraging users to educate and support each other as they navigate the bitcoin-economy. The Peer Program was trialed in South Africa and has been extended to include many other markets on the continent and Asia.
To support grassroots education, Paxful will continue to invest in its #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative which has demonstrated how the cryptocurrency community can contribute to social good. Established in 2017, the initiative had raised over R3 million for charities across Africa and the Middle East by 2019.
In January 2020, the company announced that they will be building a third school in its 100-school initiative to bring quality education centers to emerging countries throughout Africa. The third school, which will come fully equipped with a state-of-the-art water well system, will be built in Machakos County, Kenya for children ages 3-6 years old and will kick off with over R400,000 donation from Paxful. The first 2 schools were built in Rwanda.
Anzisha Prize Announces 2020 Applications, Celebrates A Decade Of Empowering African Entrepreneurs
Anzisha Prize 2019 Fellows celebrate their victories (Source: Anzisha Prize)
Every year, the prize celebrates 20 African entrepreneurs, aged 22 years and younger, each of whom have a chance to win a shared prize of US$100,000
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 17, 2020 – Today, the Anzisha Prize–Africa’s premier award and fellowship for Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs – is excited to announce that the 2020 call for applications is now open. Every year, the prize celebrates 20 African entrepreneurs, aged 22 years and younger, each of whom have a chance to win a shared prize of US$100,000. The grand prize winner receives US$25,000, the 1st runner-up US$15,000, and 2nd runner-up US$12,500. Every finalist receives US$2,500.
In addition to the cash prize, selected entrepreneurs will join 120 previous winners and become Anzisha Fellows, receiving business consulting support and coaching services by a team of industry experts. They also gain access to the Young Entrepreneurs Fund – a catalytic matching fund designed to strengthen the credibility of very young entrepreneurs through investment.
“It has been an exciting 10-year journey with some of the continent’s brightest and youngest entrepreneurs. With the help of key partners and those who share in our vision, we’ve been able to support and celebrate very young entrepreneurs who represent the diversity of the African continent; entrepreneurs who tackle youth unemployment with vigour and courage beyond their years,” says, Melissa Mbazo-Ekpenyong, Deputy Director of the Anzisha Prize.
To celebrate the decennial, the Anzisha Prize has planned five regional events across the continent, including South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Kenya. The events end in October with the Anzisha Prize Forum in Nairobi, Kenya where the 2020 winners will be announced. Each event is designed to catalyze conversations around youth entrepreneurship and to gather key stakeholders within the entrepreneurship landscape to collaborate with and support these young entrepreneurs.
“The Anzisha Prize has grown to become a holistic and comprehensive prize program that celebrates, nurtures, and advocates on behalf of Africa’s young job creators,” says Daniel Hailu, Regional Head Eastern and Southern Africa Programs, Mastercard Foundation. “Ensuring young entrepreneurs have a clear pathway to learn and succeed is a core component of the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy, and we encourage entrepreneurs, especially young women to apply.”
Young African entrepreneurs between the ages of 15-22 years old, who are running job generative businesses, are encouraged to apply before 31 March 2020. Past winners of the prize include 2019 grand prize winner, education entrepreneur, Yannick Kimanuka from Democratic Republic Congo (DRC). Yannick grew up in the war-torn North Kivu eastern Province of DRC where she saw the effect that conflict had on schools in her community and vowed to empower children by increasing access to quality education. By the age of 20, Yannick founded KIM’s School Complex – a nursery and primary school which aims to improve the education of young children in her community.
As the program continues to influence and inspire young people to seek entrepreneurship as a career path, the road ahead is a promising one. To encapsulate the last 10 years of the program, the Anzisha Prize has chosen the word ‘Sankofa’ in the Ghanaian Twi language, which means “We have the capacity to revisit the past and extract knowledge and wisdom that we need to remake the future“.
Entrepreneurs are advised to download the application guide or apply for the prize at anzishaprize.org/apply.
For more information on the Anzisha Prize, to apply, and to nominate an entrepreneur, please visit the Anzisha Prize website.