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UK Government Empowers 10 Tech SMEs in Nigeria

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UK Government Empowers 10 Tech SMEs in Nigeria, SiliconNigeria

Designed to empower early-stage Nigerian startups that are solving challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK government, in January through the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub launched it’s iNOVO Accelerator Programme for 10 early stage startups building innovative solutions to tackle the challenges caused by COVID-19 across the Education, Agriculture and Health sector in Nigeria.

In partnership with StartupBootcamp Afritech and Ventures Platform as implementing partners, this 3-month virtual programme afforded the top 10 selected Startups an opportunity to receive capacity building and learn startup training, mentorship, and support to scale their products and business models rapidly.

The top 10 startups across EdTech, AgriTech and HealthTech also received an opportunity to validate their solutions with pilots and proof of concept engagements and use their newfound insights to rapidly pivot and scale. All of this was done with the help of dedicated Entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and industry experts. To wrap up the programme, these startups also got the opportunity to pitch in front of an audience comprised of investors, corporate and government partners at the virtual demo day event.

The second pronged strategy of the programme was to also provide a great learning experience for selected startups that couldn’t make a cut into the programme. Of a total of 750 applications received, the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub also sponsored 100 startups from the pool of applications received to gain life-time access to the Accelerator Squared platform where they are provided with the necessary insights and modules to help them build products and companies to scale impact.

Founders were very impressed by the Accelerator Squared platform-the interactive playbook that provides startup founders with more than a dozen graduated modules to progress through every stage of the startup journey was a valuable asset that assisted in helping them fine-tune their business models.

The Interim Country Director of the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, Lamide Johnson said: “Seeing the incredible impact this programme has been for the participating startups is a testament to the fact that if we want to give room for innovation to solve some of the arduous problems faced in Nigeria, more interventions such as this are needed to provide the needed information, network and support for early-stage startups building innovative solutions.

“Through this programme, we readily saw the need to support and provide more spring-boards for early-stage startups seeking to scale their impact.”

Speaking on the programme experience, some of the top 10 startups gave remarkable feedback on how the iNOVO Accelerator programme had an impact on their Startups.

The CEO ofSchoola Abdul Bature,stated: ‘It has been an incredible 3 months of hardwork. With the help of StartupBootcamp AfriTech and Ventures Platform, our gamified learning solutions for secondary and primary schools has managed to get the attention of corporate parteners and key stakeholders. Which has led to a partnership with the Nigerian Turkish International Colleges and an onboarding of 25 other partners.

Furthering on this: Damilola Olaopa, CEO ofFoodbank.ng, a food loan service startup, stated that through the programme, his team has managed to leverage the partnerships made to get the required support. “The partnerships we have made will help us to scale our operations rapidly. Our partnership with First Bank reduces our exposure to risk as the bank takes on the responsibility of providing the funds, creditworthiness assessment, recollection and reconciliation of loans. This will not only help us scale our operations rapidly but will also lead to more revenue for the bank and for us too,” said Dami.

In the course of this programme, cloud-based hospital management startupMedipal secured two major partnerships with notable Insurtech Company, Curacel (Startupbootcamp Afritech alumni) as well as eTranzact- an African finance giant. Medipal’s client numbers have increased and they have been ranked as Lagos’ number 1 Electronic Medical Record Company by the governing body of hospitals, the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria.

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Google Kickstarts Three New Programmes to Bolster African Innovation and Female Entrepreneurship

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Google Kickstarts Three New Programmes to Bolster African Innovation and Female Entrepreneurship, SiliconNigeria

Google has renewed its commitment to growing Africa’s startup ecosystem with the announcement of a new Google for Startups Accelerator (GFSA) Africa class, the launch and opening of applications for a new $3 million Black Founders Fund (BFF) Africa programme, and a Google.org-backed $3 million grant to the Tony Elumelu Foundation, leading philanthropy empowering young entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries,  to support female entrepreneurs on the continent.

Applications for GFSA Africa opened earlier this year making way for 15 startups, from across the continent, to join the 6th class of the programme starting on 21 June, 2021. The three-month online programme, which includes virtual training bootcamps, mentorship and Google product support, is designed to support these nascent businesses through their early growth phases.

In a further show of support for innovation on the continent, a new $3M Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Africa is launching as part of Google’s global commitment to support underserved communities. This fund, which is part of the company’s racial equity commitments announced in June 2020, will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 50 Black-led startups in Africa and, unlike most startup investments, it does not require founders to give up any equity in exchange for funding. Google will be working with the Co-Creation Hub, a Google for Startups partner and leading tech community hub with presence in Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda, to distribute the funding to the selected companies across Africa.

Applications are now open for access to funding, as well as technical and business support, for 50 early-stage startups across the continent in 2021. BFF Africa is open to all startups in Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, that meet the eligibility criteria. Applications  will close on 7 July, 2021. 

“It’s encouraging to see Google’s continued dedication to strengthening and elevating the startup ecosystem in Africa. Google was one of the early believers in tech entrepreneurs on the continent and this support over the last 10 years reflects a thoughtful commitment. This programme is extremely timely and will not only empower founders across the continent but also deepen the pipeline and unlock follow-on funding from both local and foreign investors,” says Bosun Tijani, Co-founder & CEO at Co-Creation Hub.

“Google understands that the growth and success of one player in the startup space lays the path for others. This is what drives the commitment to empowering entrepreneurs and startups and effectively driving employment and enabling both economic and social development on the continent. We are determined to help black founders grow their businesses, not just through access to capital but also through access to the best of Google’s resources,” says Nitin Gajria, managing director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa.

Furthermore, Google.org’s $3M grant support to the Tony Elumelu Foundation will go towards providing entrepreneurship training, mentorship and coaching to at least 5,000 women with low digital skills, who come from rural areas and currently operate in an informal sector. Seed capital in the form of one-time cash grants will also be provided to 500 African women aspiring entrepreneurs in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and select Francophone countries. This will prepare women founders who otherwise wouldn’t have access to opportunity to navigate their businesses through the startup journey.

“We are dedicated to building a world where all women can thrive. According to data collected by the World Bank in 10 African countries, male-owned enterprises have six times more capital than female owned enterprises. This huge capital gap is not stopping the rise of female entrepreneurs, but it slows them down and makes their journeys that much more challenging. We hope that the support to The Tony Elumelu Foundation will help accelerate the growth of women techmakers and entrepreneurs in Africa,”  adds Gajria.

“As Africa’s leading philanthropy empowering young African entrepreneurs, this grant support will provide financial and technical support for additional women-owned businesses and marginalized groups in the informal sector through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. There is no better time to invest in women’s economic participation on the continent than now. Through this support, women will drive growth for local economies and enable better living conditions for their communities. We are delighted to disburse the  Google.org grant to scale our ongoing efforts to empower young African entrepreneurs as we believe this will be instrumental in building much-needed businesses and resilient economies,” concludes Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO at Tony Elumelu Foundation. 

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TeamApt to Transform Financial Services in Africa as Agency Banking Transactions Top $3.5 Billion in May

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TeamApt to Transform Financial Services in Africa as Agency Banking Transactions Top $3.5 Billion in May, SiliconNigeria

Photo L-R: Vice President, Sales, TeamApt, Ifeanyi Duru; Chief Growth Officer, Bili Sule; Vice President, Moniepoint, Solomon Amadi; Head, Marketing, Edidiong Uwemakpan; Chief Operating Officer, TeamApt, Tobi Amira, during a press conference held in Lagos to discuss the company’s expansion plans. 

TeamApt, one of Nigeria’s leading Fintech companies, has reiterated its commitment to transform financial services in Africa. The company, “currently leading the country’s agency banking industry,” provides financial services for the underserved mass market through Moniepoint – its financial access product, and Monnify – its payment gateway infrastructure.

TeamApt said it transacted N1.4 trillion ($3.5billion) value in 68 million transactions volume in May 2021 on its agency banking platform. The data sources from Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF), an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to agency banking and mobile money in the country, shows that Teamapt controls 74 per cent of the total agency banking operations within the period.

The company which is currently leading Nigeria’s agency banking industry, provides financial services for the underserved mass market through Moniepoint – its financial access product, and Monnify – its payment gateway infrastructure.

At a media briefing in Lagos, officials of Teamapt revealing more of its transaction figures and financial performance for the past months, said in less than two years, the company has grown rapidly to operate the largest agency banking platform with a network of over 100,000 agents.

In March 2021, it hit a milestone of transactions worth over ₦1trillion ($2.4 bn) for the first time. In May, the value increased to ₦1.4 trillion ($3.5 bn) with 68 million transactions in volume, and between April 2020 and April 2021, the total value of transactions processed has gone up to $16 billion.

Speaking on the company’s plans to transform financial services in Africa, CEO and founder of TeamApt, Mr. Tosin Eniolorunda said “To achieve our mission of providing financial happiness for all, we started out by building working infrastructure and distributing this in every of Nigeria’s 36 states.

“So far, Moniepoint has served over 25 per cent of the 48 million banked Nigerians, previously underserved by the financial system. This is a great feat but we still have a lot of work to do. Many Nigerians are still underserved, and with this pain not exclusive to Nigeria but shared among Africans, we intend to scale into more regions of the continent. 

“We remain focused on innovating, and we expect that in the future, through Moniepoint, we will reach more people across Africa and build their trust in the financial system and processes. We look forward to empowering our agents with the facilities to offer other financial services directly to customers, beyond deposits and withdrawals,” Eniolorunda added. 

Since launching in 2019, Moniepoint by TeamApt has gained ground as Nigeria’s largest agency banking platform with about 100,000 agents across the nation. Report from SANEF, an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governing agent banking in Nigeria, confirms that TeamApt accounts for 74 per cent of the agent banking industry based on the volume of transactions processed monthly. 

The fintech company, which reiterated its commitment to transform financial services in Africa said it plans to open operations in West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa countries. TeamApt was founded in 2015 and started out by building infrastructure for tier one financial institutions. 

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4YFN to Showcase Startups Mobile Ecosystem in MWC Barcelona

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4YFN to Showcase Startups Mobile Ecosystem in MWC Barcelona, SiliconNigeria

4YFN (Four Years From Now) 2021, the GSMA’s key innovation platform, will be in the heart of MWC Barcelona for the first time this year.

Combining these two influential events recognises the critical role startups play in fulfilling the potential of mobile technology.

Taking place at Fira Gran Via from 28th June to 1st July 2021, this move creates value and fosters broader networking for all attendees of the world’s largest connectivity event, connecting everyone and everything to a better future.
 

Mobile technology is central to futureproofing our economy, and innovation and startups are at the heart of this pursuit. Sir Ronald Cohen is among an impressive list of 150 speakers, including: Iker Marcaide – Founder and CEO, Zubi Labs; Ana Maiques – Founder and CEO, Neuroelectrics; Mattias Ljungman – Founder and CEO, Moonfire Ventures and co-founder, Atomico; Aron Schwarzkopf – Co-founder and CEO, Kushki; Oscar Hugland – Co-founder and CEO, Epidemic Sound; and Yossi Vardi – 4YFN Chairman.

Over 400 international startups will exhibit their latest products in the Innovation Market and, 200 startups will pitch their ideas in the 4YFN Discovery Area, hoping to attract the attention of leading funds, VCs, and CVCs.


“The world is changing at unprecedented speeds. The mobile ecosystem must seize this moment to be a force for change – contributing to society and the planet so that we are proud of what we pass on to future generations,” said Pere Duran, 4YFN Series Director. “There are many inspiring examples of startups working to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues and, this year, the event aims to encourage a more inclusive tech ecosystem, to accelerate and to celebrate those startups poised to make a real positive impact.”
A new summit, the 4YFN Investor Programme, is dedicated to knowledge-sharing among the investor community. Also new for 2021, the 4YFN Impact Programme will include a dedicated summit and awards ceremony – the 4YFN Impact Awards Finale shining a spotlight on the best digital startups from around the globe making a positive contribution towards The Sustainable Development Goals.

for the first time this year. Combining these two influential events recognises the critical role startups play in fulfilling the potential of mobile technology.

Taking place at Fira Gran Via from 28th June to 1st July 2021, this move creates value and fosters broader networking for all attendees of the world’s largest connectivity event, connecting everyone and everything to a better future. 

Mobile technology is central to futureproofing our economy, and innovation and startups are at the heart of this pursuit. Sir Ronald Cohen is among an impressive list of 150 speakers, including: Iker Marcaide – Founder and CEO, Zubi Labs; Ana Maiques – Founder and CEO, Neuroelectrics; Mattias Ljungman – Founder and CEO, Moonfire Ventures and co-founder, Atomico; Aron Schwarzkopf – Co-founder and CEO, Kushki; Oscar Hugland – Co-founder and CEO, Epidemic Sound; and Yossi Vardi – 4YFN Chairman.

Over 400 international startups will exhibit their latest products in the Innovation Market and, 200 startups will pitch their ideas in the 4YFN Discovery Area, hoping to attract the attention of leading funds, VCs, and CVCs.


“The world is changing at unprecedented speeds. The mobile ecosystem must seize this moment to be a force for change – contributing to society and the planet so that we are proud of what we pass on to future generations,” said Pere Duran, 4YFN Series Director.

“There are many inspiring examples of startups working to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues and, this year, the event aims to encourage a more inclusive tech ecosystem, to accelerate and to celebrate those startups poised to make a real positive impact.”

A new summit, the 4YFN Investor Programme, is dedicated to knowledge-sharing among the investor community. Also new for 2021, the 4YFN Impact Programme will include a dedicated summit and awards ceremony – the 4YFN Impact Awards Finale shining a spotlight on the best digital startups from around the globe making a positive contribution towards The Sustainable Development Goals.

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