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Startupbootcamp AfriTech Selects 11 Disruptive Startups for its Cohort 3

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Startupbootcamp AfriTech Cohort 3 11 Disruptive Startups

Africa’s leading tech Accelerator, Startupbootcamp AfriTech, together with founding partner and leading telecom giant, Telecel Group have selected the participants of the much-coveted Accelerator Program, the Africa Startup Initiative Program (ASIP).

The intrinsic value of startups in Africa lies in their ability to build fast and effective solutions to pressing challenges. Over the years another key aspect has come to the fray; scaling across borders. The ASIP Accelerator has managed to help founders fine-tune their business models while also facilitating entry into new markets such as Senegal.

This has been possible through a historic partnership with DER/FJ, which was established to advance Entrepreneurship for Women and Youth in Senegal by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Macky Sall. Giving a keynote at the event, Senior Innovation Lead Adrien Schwarz said;

“We are impressed with the work that the ASIP and Startupbootcamp AfriTech are doing and are excited that there were three times more Francophone founders compared to the previous years. This validates the caliber of startups in Francophone countries and shows that their exposure to acceleration has improved. It is also wonderful to see the progress that the past Senegalese startups namely Proxalys, Parcsmart, and Yobante have made”

Founded by telecom giant Telecel, the Africa Startup Initiative Program (ASIP) aims to support the next generation of early-stage African tech startups that are disrupting key industry verticals that include FinTech, InsureTech, AgriTech, Climate-tech, eCommerce, Digital Health, and CleanTech, Mobility, Micro-leasing, and digitizing the informal economy.

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Eleanor Azar, Executive Deputy of the Group and ASIP Director said: “We are very proud of the great effort that was put into this cohort 3 of the ASIP Accelerator Program powered by SBC AfriTech – we have exceptional startups with innovative and positively disruptive ways of treating the African challenges that they have set out to solve and build their Startups around. We are also exceptionally proud that the number of female founders has increased. And to those who did not make it into the top 10, we wish you all the luck, you should be very proud that you have come out on top of more than 2,000 applications received into the program in cohort 3.2”

Other partners include the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO), AWS, Freshworks, Google, and Firstbase.

Participants will receive an intensive three-month coaching and support program to accelerate their growth and benefits worth $750,000 USD. Startups will also have access to the global Accelerator Squared platform which has a complete library of content, group workshops, 1:1 mentoring, collaborative sessions with Entrepreneurs in Residence, and invite-only discussion forums with founders from around the globe.

The program will take place in Dakar, Senegal and startups will be hosted at the D-hub, – a space commissioned by DER/FJ.

“We’re excited by the quality of startups in this cohort,” commented Program Director Henry Ojour. “About 30% of them have applied before, 60% applied on the recommendations of an alumni founder and 50% of them have monthly revenues above $50,000.00. Cohort 3 companies are building in over 12 verticals we have a 30% female-founder ratio. It’s going to be 13 weeks of far-reaching progress & impact.” He added.

We are honored to announce that the following startups will be joining the 2023 ASIP cohort 3:

Kyanda Africa is a revolutionary Kenyan fintech platform that provides businesses and individuals with convenient and reliable money transfer solutions. The startup has a network of agents, API gateway, and various access channels such as USSD, Mobile App & WhatsApp Chatbots making the services customizable dependent on the users’ needs.

PharmaServ is a Nigerian SaaS product, which automates the process of sales orders, tracking sales team performance, and reconciling incoming purchase orders, payments, and invoices for health brands. This is a labor-intensive process that is still predominantly manual for most local companies in emerging markets.

Sodishop is a Malian marketplace, an online sales and purchase platform, present in 4 countries in West Africa, we deliver thousands of orders per month across Mali, Senegal, Guinea, and Côte d’Ivoire.

BD Waste is a Ghanaian GreenTech startup that combines fintech and sustainability to recover Plastic waste from communities. Their Digicycle product allows customers to directly deposit plastic waste into their digital wallets and receive credit for it. This credit can be used to purchase data packages, airtime, food items, stationery, and health insurance.

Limawa, whose Senegalese founder operates in Côte d’Ivoire aims to tackle the issues of food conservation and transportation through solar-powered split air conditioners that can reach -2°C (designed in CI by our team). Limawa offers an innovative and cost-efficient alternative to industrial compressors for the cold chain industry. This solution is suitable for trucks, containers, and trailers.

Parkwell is a Nigerian online sharing platform that matches drivers with available, safe parking spaces and helps property owners list their parking spaces for optimum use. The digital parking platform integrates parking facilities and connects it to mobile for a seamless experience.

Jand2Gidi, also from Nigeria, offers ‘Logistics As A Service’ to B2B and B2B2C customers whose users are engaged in cross-border trade. They have built shipping APIs to provide the same hassle-free, transparent, and trackable shipping services to their B2B merchants to enable them grow faster after nearly a decade of building robust, cutting-edge freight forwarding and last mile delivery services

Moja Ride from Côte d’Ivoire has made its mission to enable better and cleaner mobility services to African cities by making financing easy and accessible for all transportation professionals. Drivers and transport companies can easily qualify for new car loans and car repairs by simply working with Moja Ride’s advanced digital fare payment and booking technologies.

SafeTrack is a Moroccan technology startup that allows a 75% reduction in water consumption for irrigation at 20% of the price of its competitors. Their IoT solution of geolocation and monitoring is 100% mobile, has simple maintenance and does not require any IT infrastructure. Composed of revalued smartphones and sensors and other affordable devices, and a cloud software platform developed internally.”

Chestify AI Labs from Ghana provides an AI platform that gives a highly accurate algorithm for diagnosing chest X-Ray pathologies. Two-thirds of the world’s population of over 5 billion people with no access to a radiologist and radiologic diagnostic support tools and Chestify’s mission is to aggressively tackle the socio-economic and health distress created by inadequate radiology Infrastructure and the presence of fewer radiologists in Africa.

Yoonema is a Senegalese social e-commerce platform that offers a frictionless, unique, and simplified experience to e-buyers who desire quality products and B2B players who offer a full global e-commerce experience to their clients.

The ASIP Accelerator powered by SBC AfriTech will culminate in a Demo Day on 25 May 2023 where startup founders will pitch their disruptive solutions to a broad audience of media, investors, corporate partners, and industry stakeholders.

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Press Release

Ghana Fintech Awards 2022: DPO Pay Fintech Discovery of the Year

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Leading African digital payments company DPO Pay wins the Fintech Discovery of the year award in the 2022 Ghana Fintech awards. As an initiative of Arkel Limited – a Fintech research and management consulting firm – that is supported by the Ghana Fintech and Payments Association, the awards acknowledge the fintech products and services, technologies, fintech firms and dynamic doers in the fintech ecosystem.

DPO Pay’s Country Manager of Ghana, Frank Anwelle, said: “We are very proud and humbled to receive the Fintech Discovery of the Year Award. Our Team at DPO Pay extends their appreciation to the Ghana Fintech & Payments Association for recognising the hard work and commitment we hold to growing African businesses on a local and global scale. Our innovative approach to simplifying payment processing across Africa continues to drive the core objective of DPO Pay as a merchant-focused solution.”

The award judged international fintech companies operating in the Ghanaian Fintech space on providing best-in-class infrastructure for the deployment of fintech solutions and the ease of integration with third parties to offer financial and non-financial services. The Fintech Discovery of the Year Award recognizes international fintech companies, working within the local Ghanaian ecosystem to provide multiple choices to the industry and clients, ranging from payments infrastructure, credit and debit cards, mobile money, merchant acquisitions, and other payment methods, leading to an integrated financial sector.

Throughout 2022, DPO focused on bringing payment solutions closer to local businesses in Ghana. As part of its efforts, the company has partnered with Mastercard to enable thousands of businesses in Ghana to offer their customers greater choice and convenience by pivoting online and accepting digital payments. It has enabled enable merchants to safely, seamlessly and securely accept a wide range of digital payment methods including mobile money and via e-wallets – both locally and from abroad – in the currency of their choice.

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In addition, at the end of 2022 DPO released a new version of their payments app, DPO Pay Mobile. With several new features, DPO listened to merchant feedback to redesign and redevelop DumaPay. The app, previously DumaPay, now offers a variety of new features to allow for easier, more convenient transactions no matter where in Africa their businesses are. The new mobile payments application allows businesses to securely transact in multiple currencies across Africa.

Founded in 2006, DPO has developed integrated payments technology to support businesses of all sizes in over 20 countries and accepts payments securely and swiftly in all currencies and through many payment methods, including virtual cards, mobile money, and e-wallets.

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Heifer International Selects ThriveAgric, DigiCow and Brastorne as Winners of the 2022 AYuTe Africa Challenge

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Heifer International announced today the 2022 winners of the AYuTe Africa Challenge that supports agritech innovators: ThriveAgric of Nigeria, Kenya’s DigicCow and Botwana-based Brastorne Enterprises. ThriveAgric is a fast-growing start-up boosting farmer incomes and production with its breakthrough “agriculture operating system.” DigiCow is an agritech firm using digital tools to modernize production on small-scale dairy farms, while the digital technology for feature phones developed by Brastorne Enterprises is narrowing Africa’s rural digital divide.

“At a time when Africa is facing unprecedented food-related challenges, it is incredibly inspiring to see these young African champions firmly focused on an agriculture-led future that provides farmers with the innovations they need to succeed,” said Adesuwa Ifedi, senior vice president of Africa Programs, Heifer International. “We launched this competition in 2021, challenging African youths to bring us innovations poised to provide the positive disruption our farmers urgently need. ThriveAgric, DigiCow and Brastorne are more than ready to meet the moment,” she noted.

As winners of the 2022 AYuTe Africa Challenge, the three companies will receive a sizeable monetary investment: a total of USD 1.5 million in grants, along with ongoing support from a team of expert advisers accomplished business veterans to help them translate their funding into an aggressive expansion strategy. This is part of Heifer International’s commitment to support young entrepreneurs developing affordable tech innovations as they work to scale their businesses. Doing so makes new services and technologies available to African farmers to overcome long-standing challenges while attracting a new generation to unlock the huge potential of agriculture on the continent.

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All three of the 2022 winners are helping African farmers by providing a novel solution to everyday obstacles:

ThriveAgric addresses a key challenge for small-scale farmers in Africa—a lack of access to finance, technical advice, business skills and market opportunities. It does so by using a proprietary Agriculture Operating System to help a team of 2,000 field agents support some 500,000 farmers across 22 Nigerian states with insights to improve their production and profits.

“We’ve developed the technologies, strategies and partnerships we believe can build the largest network of productive, profitable farmers Africa has ever seen,” said Uka Eje, Thrive Agric’s co-founder and CEO. “ThriveAgric’s 500,000 farmers are already producing and earning much more than the average Nigerian farmer. Investors are responding to our potential and this prestigious award from Heifer International will accelerate our plans to expand across the continent.”

DigiCow is helping small-scale African dairy operations increase productivity with technology that provides free access to livestock management experts and links farmers to skilled and qualified veterinarians, artificial insemination providers and feed supply services—all from their mobile phones.

“I grew up watching my mom struggle to get our cows to produce enough milk, and I’ve spent 15 years working with small-scale dairy farmers, so I know the challenges farmers face,” said Peninah Wanja, co-founder of Nairobi-based DigiCow. “That’s why it’s been so exciting to see 60,000 farmers—many of them women—now using our DigiCow apps to become more profitable and productive. With this new support from Heifer International, I’m confident we can expand our reach to help small-scale dairy farmers across the continent.”

Brastorne‘s apps, such as mAgri, give farmers access to farming information, markets and short-term finance using the capabilities of any feature phone, such as SMS and interactive voice technology. The Brastorne mobile service Mpotsa (“Ask me”) provides rural unconnected mobile users with localized information, and Vuka harnesses USSD technology to allow users on any phone to create profiles, add friends, create chat groups, and more.   These technologies have helped farmers realize a 250% increase in yields and achieve 85% savings in communication and information access. The company also boasts 100% youth employment.

“About 80% of Africans cannot afford smartphones or expensive data — but they do have feature phones, and Brastorne is ensuring those phones connect farmers, youth and women to the resources they need,” said Martin Stimela, co-founder and CEO of Brastorne. “We look forward to working with Heifer International to connect the rural poor with equitable access to markets, information and community.”

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Press Release

SAMANU, Ethiopia’s largest FMCG platform raises $21 million

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SAMANU factory (Press Release: Norfund)

Norfund and a consortium of private investors managed by 54 Capital announce $21 million growth capital investment into Ethiopia’s largest FMCG platform SAMANU. Increased local production of edible oil will create jobs, increase food security, and provide income for up to 200,000 smallholder farmers.

SAMANU is a platform company with well-established brands operating in Ethiopia’s main FMCG sub-sectors (Tena Edible Oils, 555 and Aura Soap & Detergents, and Chef Luca wheat products). The investment by Norfund will fund the construction of a new solvent extraction plant to produce edible oils based on locally sourced sesame, sunflower and soya beans in its refineries. By reducing the dependency on imported raw materials, the investment aims to create jobs in value-addition and increase Ethiopia’s food security. The completion of a vertical integration project will also allow for increased export opportunities within the sectors the company already operates.

To ensure enough volume of locally produced oilseeds for its refineries, the company intends to develop large oilseeds clusters in Ethiopia over the next six years, providing livelihoods for 200,000 smallholder farmers. In the first six months post investment, the objective is to identify 642 clusters and sign contracts with around 5-7,000 smallholder farmers. Norfund, through its Business Support Facility, plans to use grant funding to assist contracted smallholder farmers with inputs like high quality seeds, fertilizers, training and capacity building, as well as agricultural technology to boost productivity.

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Andreas Davidsen, Norfund’s VP of Scalable Enterprises Agribusiness & Manufacturing, said: “We are excited to partner with SAMANU and support the execution of their vertical integration strategy, creating jobs and increasing food security. We strongly believe in the opportunities of local food production in Ethiopia and Norfund looks forward to working closely with the SAMANU management team and 54 Capital to help implement best in class practises and solutions”.

SAMANU is already home to some of Ethiopia’s leading FMCG brands and has ambitious plans to expand its product offering to meet rising demand for high quality locally produced brands. The investment, Norfund’s first in manufacturing in Ethiopia, signals strong institutional backing for the platform.

Saad Aouad, 54 Capital PE Advisors’ Chief Investment Officer, said: “It is a fantastic achievement for our investments in Ethiopia and our local management team to receive further institutional backing. It stands as testament to what we have been able to achieve in terms of nurturing high-quality popular brands and achieving scale through capacity expansion and how we intend to develop the next stage of the business. This investment demonstrates the robustness of this strategy for further enhancing the value chain within Ethiopia. Which will undoubtedly benefit from Norfund’s extensive experience across the continent”.

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