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Koa Academy Wins MEST Africa Challenge 2023, Secures $50,000 Funding

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Koa Academy team

MEST Africa, a leading Pan-African tech entrepreneurship training program, seed fund, and incubator, proudly announces Koa Academy as the grand prize winner of the 2023 MEST Africa Challenge (MAC), securing a $50,000 equity investment after a competitive pitch battle among Africa’s brightest tech innovators.

In a thrilling showcase of ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit, Koa Academy from South Africa stood out at the MEST Africa Challenge finale in Accra, Ghana, surpassing contenders from across the continent. This coveted startup competition, known for identifying and nurturing tech talent, saw Koa Academy clinch the top spot with its groundbreaking solution, poised to transform the Edtech industry.

The competition drew applications from hundreds of early-stage tech startups, rigorously assessed on criteria such as innovation, scalability, and team strength. Finalists from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Kenya competed in the grand finale, demonstrating their unique solutions and business models to a panel of esteemed judges, including investors and industry experts.

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Koa Academy, Winner of the 2023 MEST Africa Challenge and a South African innovator in online education, offers dynamic and interactive courses for grades 4-12. With a focus on engagement and accessibility, it champions digital learning, making quality education available to anyone, anywhere, and transforming the educational landscape in South Africa. The startup impressed the judges at the MAC Finale showcasing significant market potential, revenue growth, and social impact.

“Winning the MEST Africa Challenge has been an amazing experience for the Koa Academy team. It highlights the hard work and dedication that everyone has put into growing Koa. This recognition is not just an award; it’s a testament to the passion and perseverance that drives us every day. Amidst the challenges, this journey has brought us closer to others across the continent, forging relationships and connections that fuel our mission even further. We are reminded that we’re not alone in this endeavor and are incredibly grateful for the support and learning opportunities this challenge has presented,” said Lauren Anderson, Co-founder and CEO, Koa Academy, expressing gratitude and optimism for the future of tech startups in Africa.

Ashwin Ravichandran, Portfolio Advisor at MEST Africa congratulated the winner and finalists for their exceptional achievements and resilience. The event also highlighted the support of Absa Bank Ghana for contributing to the challenge’s success. The MEST Africa Challenge continues to be a pivotal platform for emerging tech startups in Africa, offering funding, visibility, and support to innovate and scale. Koa Academy’s victory underscores the vibrant potential within Africa’s tech ecosystem, promising a brighter future for the continent’s digital landscape.

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Press Release

The Gender Mainstreaming for Climate Entrepreneurship

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The Gender Mainstreaming Programme 2024 organized by the Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre aimed to close the gender gap in climate entrepreneurship. NCIC achieves this objective by collaborating with industry players, and stakeholders to drive and gain support for women in the industry, across Nigeria and the world at large. WeClimeEquallyWorkshop and the G-FIVE Business Accelerator by NCIC are the two instruments the organization uses to foster gender equality and climate-focused entrepreneurship. 

The Gender and Climate Workshop Event 

This Year’s WeClimeEquallyWorkshop 2024 with the theme: Equity and Sustainability Towards a Prosperous Future was held on Thursday 21, March 2024 at Four Points by Sheraton. The welcome address was led by Mr. Adamu, the Chief Operating Officer who represented Bankole Oloruntoba, the Chief Executive Officer, of NCIC. He emphasized the work of NCIC in championing projects that drive gender equality and entrepreneurship.

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 Mrs. Titi Oshodi, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Climate Change and Circular Economy rendered the Goodwill Message and raised the need for effective communication to spur the needed change as there are many communication nuances in the Nigerian landscape. Rendering the speech of His Excellency Babajide Sanwolu, Governor of Lagos state, Mrs. Oshodi plauded that the WeClimEqualityWorkshop provides a pivotal platform to exchange knowledge and amplify women’s voices and ensure their meaningful participation in climate and circular economy because there is a link between gender, women, and marginalization is essential.

The workshop also featured 4 expert paper presentations delivered by industry experts from KPMG, FC4SLagos, Fate Foundation, and academia. In addition, attendees were treated to an intriguing panel session on applying a gender lens to the triple Es of Employment, Environment, and Entrepreneurship. Following hours of interactions, attendees were allowed an opportunity to co-create practical strategies to infuse gender lens in organizational programming, policies, and framework. 

Green Females in Venture Enterprise Business Accelerator 

Building on some key outcomes of the #WeClimeEqually Workshop, 50 climate-focused women entrepreneurs entered a 4-day hybrid business accelerator program delivered in partnership with the Lagos Business School Sustainability Center. Core modules of the accelerator centered around sustainability, innovation, legal regulatory frameworks, business management, and grant writing amongst others. 

Additional program support included a nursery for mothers, accommodation, a virtual learning platform for long-distance learners, and bonding activities. Participants were also certified at the end of the program. The Gender Mainstreaming for Climate Entrepreneurship is sponsored by Climate KIC; Europe’s leading Climate Innovation and Irish Aid. To learn more about the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center Visit the website here https://nigeriacic.org/about-us/

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Press Release

AFEX Ranks 5th on FT Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2024

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AFEX Management (Image: Supplied).

AFEX, Africa’s leading commodities market player, announced that it has secured a place in the Financial Times (FT) ranking of Africa’s Fastest-Growing Companies in 2024. Coming in at Number 5 this year, this marks the organization’s 3rd consecutive entry on the list, after ranking as the fastest growing company in Africa in 2023. 

The Financial Times, in partnership with Statista, recognizes Africa’s most exciting businesses through the Fastest Growing Companies ranking, celebrating thriving businesses with exceptional revenue growth. The list ranks African companies by their compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue for 2019 and 2022. In that period, AFEX grew by 287.82% in the 4-year period, despite still felt effects of COVID-19, macroeconomic headwinds and market upheavals caused by uncertain policy environments and increasing natural disasters/ climate change effects witnessed in its existing markets of Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.

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Since 2019, AFEX has been working across Africa, creating an efficient market for commodities trading and solving food insecurity by driving financing from the Nigerian Capital markets and retail investors. In 2020, the launch of their digital trading platform, ComX, lowered barriers for commodity trading and alternative investments, while providing transparent financing options for the currently fragmented agriculture value chain. Through innovative financial instruments like the FETC and Asset Backed Commercial Papers which have historically performed well, AFEX is creating the infrastructure to boost agriculture production across Africa. 

Akinyinka Akintunde, President/CEO, AFEX Nigeria said “We are proud to once again be featured on the Fastest growing companies list for the third time in a row. This year’s entry is perhaps more significant for us considering the harsh market environment that a lot of businesses are undoubtedly contending with. This is a testament to all the work we have put in over the past few years to ensure Africa’s food self-sufficiency. Our expansion into Cote d’Ivoire this year also mirrors our commitment to our strategic expansion plan, Project Black Panther, which sees us replicating our business model in 9 African countries in the next decade to improve cross border trade on the continent”.

Today, AFEX has impacted the lives of over 500,000 farmers across 4 countries, while prioritizing creating a positive and lasting difference in their communities. Ultimately, AFEX is empowering local farming communities, fostering economic opportunities, and contributing to Africa’s sustainable self-sufficiency as the company prioritizes its impact goals.

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LCH Consultancy & Associates Strengthens African Strategic Communications Services

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LCH Consultancy & Associates Evelyn Wangui (Image: Supplied).

LCH Consultancy & Associates, an integrated advisory and strategic corporate communications agency focused on African development, is delighted to announce the appointment of Evelyn Wangui as the newest addition to its growing team to support the agency’s expanding global client portfolio. With over ten years of experience in strategic public relations, Evelyne brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to LCH Consultancy & Associates. As Director of Content and Media Relations, she will be pivotal in strengthening strategic services across the African region. 

During her career, Evelyne has represented many multinational organisations from various industries, operating in both corporate and developmental spheres. She was educated in Kenya, studying journalism and political science at Nairobi University.

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Commenting on her appointment, Evelyne said, “I am delighted to join this talented team of inspirational and highly motivated peers. This marks an exciting milestone in my profession. I look forward to innovating and executing new forms of corporate communications blended with business advisory.”

Lydia-Claire Halliday, Founder and Executive Director of LCH Consultancy & Associates, welcomed Evelyne. She noted that her entry aligns with the agency’s ongoing commitment to attract unique talent for continued world-class client support. “With this growing talent pool, I am confident that our clients will benefit from unparalleled communications and stakeholder relations support. We encourage both collaboration and intrapreneurship, which paves the way for our team’s development and success.”

LCH Consultancy was launched in 2012 to bridge the global knowledge gap by representing Africa and the corporations, organisations and people vested in its empowerment and equitable development. In 2023, the company officially rebranded as LCH Consultancy & Associates, representing the vital contribution of colleagues.

The agency specialises in three core areas: 

  • Investor Relations – supporting capital and debt raising while maintaining the perception of value across the global investment community. In this role, LCH Consultancy & Associates advises on price-sensitive commercial developments and business strategies to local and global audiences.
  • Corporate Communications – developing and executing communications plans that strengthen relationships with the media, public, industry, regulatory, and government stakeholders.
  • Strategic Business Advisory –  providing unique intelligence, analysis, and insights to clients distinguished by a deep understanding of the opportunities present in Africa. This service has been instrumental in enabling clients to make informed decisions regarding their business development and identify partnerships and strategic alliances.

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