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METTĀ And Nairobi Garage Join Forces To Create Kenya’s Biggest Innovation Community

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Nairobi, September 15, 2020 – Kenya’s leading co-working space Nairobi Garage and entrepreneurial club METTĀ have announced they are combining their services to create the country’s largest innovation community, offering flexible access to all their workspaces and networks, as well as a new digital event series.

African businesses are facing a disrupted marketplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with day-to-day operations and the economic outlook for businesses of all sizes feeling the impact. As a result, there is a renewed demand for flexible work space arrangements, allowing companies to remain responsive to the market and keep their teams productive without tying up much-needed working capital.

As Kenya’s leading co-working space, Nairobi Garage is home to over 150 companies across its four premises, giving members total flexibility when it comes to the office space they need, as well as offering a range of add-on business development, collaboration, and networking opportunities.

METTĀ is a club for the entrepreneurial community to connect, share knowledge and bring ideas to life. With 370 members in Nairobi, and over 15,000 members in its digital community, METTĀ offers a range of events, workshops and corporate innovation programmes.

By joining forces, METTĀ and Nairobi Garage members will have access to both organisations’ workspaces throughout Nairobi – with drop-in and private office options available in Westlands, Riverside Drive, Karen and Kilimani -, as well as to all the complimentary business support services provided across the two communities. All members will benefit from exclusive corporate collaborations and partnerships – such as discounts, programmes, and first dibs on funding and training opportunities.

The organisations have also combined their entrepreneurship events and will launch an online event series offering thought leadership, innovation and practical business advice. The series involves six monthly events, including panel discussions, networking e-meetups, and podcasts.

Also Read: Chynna Morgan – helping brands create memorable experiences using sound + music with GIF Out Loud

“We are confident in the resilience and capacity of Kenyan entrepreneurs to come back from this pandemic stronger than ever. We want to support them in doing just that, and this merging of forces is a demonstration of our belief in the strength of both our communities. It’s of utmost importance that innovation in business continues to be a priority, and we’re here to facilitate that process for the country’s top entrepreneurs,” says Hannah Clifford, director of Nairobi Garage.

Esther Mwikali, general manager of METTĀ, says: “We have always believed that “Innovation doesn’t happen in isolation”. Outstanding innovation breakthroughs occur when the right people collaborate, to spark commercialisation and scale. This partnership is a true testament to our
vision, as we are taking our own advice and leading by example – the value we offer our customers and the community at large through this is greatly increasing.”

With the business landscape plagued by so many uncertainties in the COVID-era, Nairobi Garage and METTĀ want to provide a sturdy, strong foundation for businesses in Kenya to thrive. By combining their two trusted names, members can have the most complete support available to weather the current storm.

To become a member, people should write to join@nairobigarage.com or nairobi@metta.co

New members joining in the month of September get 10% off their first month’s membership.

Jointly Issued by: Nairobi Garage and METTA

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Press Release

Helios Investment Partners Backed Africa Specialty Risk Group Launches

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Africa Specialty Risk Group CEO, Mikir Shah

Helios Investment Partners (“Helios” or the “Firm”) is pleased to announce the launch of Africa Specialty Risk Group (“ASR”) in partnership with Mikir Shah, former CEO of AXA Africa Specialty Risks, and Bryan Howett, former CEO of Old Mutual’s pan-African reinsurance operations. ASR is a reinsurance business focused on becoming the partner of choice to corporations through the provision of comprehensive and bespoke risk mitigating insurance solutions.

Helios, through its extensive financial services expertise in Africa, identified an unmet need in the reinsurance space to expand the continent’s long-term domestic capacity beyond its current capabilities. Having previously founded market-leading businesses such as Helios Towers, the Firm
took a similar pioneering approach in partnering with Mikir Shah and Bryan Howett to develop and increase domestic reinsurance capacity.

Also Read: Lindelwe Lesley Ndlovu, African Risk Capacity (ARC) CEO Shares Goals, Disaster Risk Solutions, COVID-19 and Future

ASR will create tailored solutions for local and global customers, using Africa-specific pricing models coupled with a deep understanding of African risk and cultural environments. This provides corporates and investors with the confidence to grow their businesses, thereby unlocking investment activity, and the associated developmental benefits.

Mikir Shah, commenting on the partnership noted: “We chose to work with Helios given their extensive reach across Africa, their knowledge and experience in our key markets, as well as their established track record in helping entrepreneurial businesses to scale.”

Souleymane Ba, a Partner at Helios, said: “We have identified a sustained lack of adequate insurance capacity across Africa, which has been exacerbated further by Covid-19 as global reinsurance providers focus on their home markets. ASR has been established to address this gap by providing specialist risk mitigation products which companies and capital providers operating in Africa have found difficult to access to date. As demonstrated in the US and Europe, private equity has a long and successful track record of stepping up to fill unmet insurance capacity to de-risk and support investment activity.”

ASR intends to work proactively with local regulators and clients to develop skills and provide training to local underwriters. Environmental, social and governance considerations are central to ASR’s values, particularly in relation to local capacity building.

The investment in ASR is being made from Helios’ latest fund, Helios Investors IV, L.P., whose investors include CDC Group (the UK’s development finance institution) and the International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group).

Issued by Helios Investment Partners

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Ozow launches payment platform that enables financial and digital inclusion for all South Africans

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Ozow a digital payment company, today launched the Ozow Revolution. According to the company, the Ozow Revolution is a visionary effort to make digital payments available to everyone and create greater opportunity to participate in the digital economy- especially for historically excluded communities that rely on costly and unsecure cash payments.

Thomas Pays, CEO and co-founder of Ozow, says far too many consumers and businesses have been excluded from the benefits of the digital economy. “As an impact-driven and market-led company, Ozow is at the forefront of developing breakthrough payments products that enable greater financial and digital inclusion.

While more than 80% of South Africans hold a bank account, only one out of every eight have a credit card. This locks the vast majority of consumers out of digital payments and excludes them from a huge range of services. By simplifying payments for consumers and merchants alike and supporting them with helpful innovations such as zero-rated data costs, we can enable greater participation in the digital economy for all consumers and businesses.”

As the first step of its Ozow Revolution, the company has introduced two new online payments solutions to its platform for the South African market, Ozapp and Ozow PIN.

Ozapp is a progressive web application (PWA) that enables any customer with a bank account or eWallet to transact without a card through a QR-code enabled payment. Pays says it is designed to ease adoption by doing away with the need for a dedicated native application. 

“Despite smartphone penetration standing at more than 90%, many South Africans still rely on lower-cost models that lack the storage space needed for many mobile apps,” says Pays. “In a further effort at enabling greater digital inclusion, the data needed to use Ozapp is zero-rated, meaning consumers  have zero data cost to make use of the progressive web app and can make payments anytime at any Ozow-enabled point-of-sale or pretty much anywhere, including the comfort of their home.”

To further ease the customer experience and drive greater adoption, Pays also introduced Ozow PIN, which radically simplifies EFT payments through an easy four-step payment process that can be completed in seconds. The speed and convenience of Ozow PIN makes a compelling value proposition for more South Africans to engage in e-commerce at a time when physical retail is experiencing unprecedented disruption.

Also Read: Ava Airways CEO Olivier Arrindell On Envisioning An Airline Of The Future And Connecting Africa With The Caribbean

“With the launch of Ozow PIN, we are revolutionising the payment experience with a new patent-pending simplified payment innovation that delivers a seamless customer experience without compromising on safety,” says Pays. “And in keeping with our commitment to greater digital and financial inclusion, Ozow PIN will be developed into all eleven official languages by the end of the year.”

Pays says Ozow PIN is particularly beneficial to merchants and e-commerce sites with large numbers of returning customers that make regular purchases. “By reducing the time needed to make EFT payments and removing friction in the transaction process, Ozow PIN can help grow transaction volumes while attracting new customers. It’s a win-win for consumers and merchants.” 

In addition, individuals and sole proprietors can now make use of Ozow as a payment provider too free of charge for the first 12 months or up to R1-million free processing per month. Previously, Ozow’s payments innovations were only available to enterprise and SME merchants, but due to demand, the company has expanded its services to sole proprietors and individuals.

The Ozow Revolution is driven by a healthy pipeline of new payment products that will be launched over the coming months. “We’re only just getting started with developing new innovations that enable more South Africans to enjoy the benefits of digital payments. As a business, we will continue to find ways to drive digital inclusion until every person on the African continent can make or receive safe, convenient digital payments.”

Visit: Ozow

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Press Release

Zindi recruitment platform set to connect organisations with Africa’s data science talent

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Zindi recruitment image (Source: ZINDI)

Today Thursday 3 September, Zindi launches its new recruitment platform at AI Expo Africa to help organisations around the world find the data science talent they need. Zindi will draw on its community of more than 18 000 data scientists across Africa and the rest of the world to match companies and organisations with the right talent for the job at hand.

“Zindi has the largest community of data scientists in Africa, which makes us uniquely positioned to help organisations find the talent they are looking for,” says Celina Lee, CEO of Zindi. “We are proud to be pioneering a data-driven, evidence-based approach to data science recruitment in Africa to ensure you get candidates with the proven skills you need.”

Zindi is launching zindi.africa/jobs in response to a clear need from organisations operating in Africa. Many of the companies Zindi works with have expressed their frustrations in not being able to find the right talent in Africa for their needs through traditional channels. 

On the other hand, Zindi has in just two years accumulated the largest pool of talented, passionate data scientists in Africa, many of whom are looking for work: 55% of Zindi users are actively looking for their next professional opportunity. These users cover a wide range of data science skills and languages, and 75% have a bachelor’s degree or higher qualification. Many are new to the data science field, but approximately half of them boast more than a year of data science experience.

Also Read: Chidi Nwaogu: Multi Award-Winning Entrepreneur Launches Global Fellowship Program for Aspiring And Early-Stage Entrepreneurs

Zindi data scientists also have a demonstrated entrepreneurial, can-do mindset. More than 50% of our users are engaged in or thinking about creating a startup within the machine learning and AI space. This positions them uniquely as self-driven candidates keen to make a difference to the continent and to the organisation they are a part of.

This platform is proud to have already helped place several candidates with our partners around Africa. This includes recruiting a data scientist for a COVID-19 response project in the Democratic Republic of Congo for GSMA, and placing the winners of a recent Zindi competition to implement their air quality forecasting solution for AirQo in Uganda.

“Zindi’s recruitment platform addresses the shortage of experienced data science talent faced by many organisations operating on the continent. With many organisations moving to become data-driven, the demand for these rare technical skills is increasing exponentially. This platform is set to make it easier for companies to recruit the best available African data scientists,” says Nick Bradshaw, CEO of AI Media Group and co-founder of AI Expo Africa.

“Zindi has made a name for itself working with African data scientists to crowdsolve the biggest challenges facing the continent. The company has an impressive track record working with international corporates like IBM and Microsoft as well as organisations like USAID and GIZ. As a long-term partner, we are extremely proud of them launching their recruitment platform at Africa’s biggest gathering of data scientists and data-driven firms – AI Expo Africa 2020,” says Roy Bannister, COO of AI Media Group and co-founder of AI Expo Africa. 

Jointly issued by zindi & AI Expo Africa

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