Spark* South Africa 2018 Accelerator Programme Applications now open

Spark* International, an initiative of Australian international development non-profit YGAP, has opened applications to its Spark* South Africa 2018 Accelerator Programme.

The five-day programme takes place in Johannesburg between 15 and 20 April. Interested entrepreneurs have until 4 March to apply and can do so here.

The accelerator is aimed at South African entrepreneurs who are looking to scale and are currently making an impact in education, health and job creation.

Spark* aims to find, accelerate, support and connect startups. Since the initiative launched in 2011, it has gone on to support 295 entrepreneurs. The organisation claims 90% of its entrepreneurs have doubled their “impact” and revenue.

Programme participants will receive post-programme training and support as well as access to business coaches, mentors, lawyers, accountants and research assistants for 12 months.

In addition, participants will also be able to continually apply for small grants of up to R10 000. Selected entrepreneurs will be moved into a growth track where they will be provided with access to grants of up to $AUD25 000.

 

Sagarmatha Technologies launches $1m AI challenge for African startups

One lucky African startup with a cutting edge artificial intelligence (AI) solution stands the chance to win an investment of USD 1 million from Cape Town based technology platform Sagarmatha Technologies, with the launch today of the AI Revolution Challenge.

Sagarmatha Technologies commented that the company will provide USD 1 million in development funding, as well as more than USD 2 million in marketing value-adds and prizes to the leading African AI startup.

Applications for the challenge close on 31 March and a panel of AI investors and experts will select up to 20 startups for the final event, which will be hosted in South Africa in May this year.

“Africa as a continent is creative and has unique perspectives, providing a fertile space for innovation and disruption,” Sagarmatha Technologies CEO Paul Lamontagne said.

He said the business case for Africa is “very strong” and added that he sees the continent at a tipping point if more is done to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“There are trailblazing innovators and disruptors on the continent and we hope to shine the light on these pioneering entrepreneurs,” he said.

The challenge is open to businesses that currently offer or that intend to offer a product, service or platform that utilise AI, can apply. Their product or service must demonstrate commercial applications worldwide.

Furthermore to qualify to apply, the startup must have secured a minimum investment of USD 25 000 at date of application, either in seed funding or in equity or loans. Only companies registered and resident on the African continent may apply.

As part of the entry process, applicants must upload a presentation (PDF or PPT) describing their product, team, market opportunity and financial projections

In addition applicants must submit a five minute pitch video via the aiRevolution app. The video should include all key members of your team.

Further information is available at www.airevolution.africa.

Tony Elumelu Foundation Accepting Applications for 4th Cycle of $100m Entrepreneurship Development Programme

Africa’s largest philanthropy supporting entrepreneurship – The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is now accepting applications for business ideas that can transform Africa.

The Programme provides critical tools for business success, including:

• Training: 12 weeks of intensive online training which guides creating and managing a business

• Mentoring: A world-class mentor to guide during the early transformation stages of the business

• Funding: $5,000* in seed capital to prove the concept, plus access to further funding

• Network: Access to the largest network of African start-ups and TEF’s own global contacts

The Programme, in its 4th cycle, is TEF’s 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs by 2024.

TEF Founder, serial entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu, CON said:

“When we launched the TEF Programme and committed $100 million, I knew we would create impact, but I never imagined it would be of this magnitude. We’ve unleashed a movement of African entrepreneurs — a force so strong, I am confident they will collectively transform Africa. We need Africa’s best and brightest to grow their businesses and build our continent.”

1,000 entrepreneurs will be selected based on the viability of their idea, including: market opportunity; financial understanding; scalability; leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

Eligibility:

1. The business must be based in Africa

2. The business must be for profit

3. The business must be 0-3 years old

4. Applicants must be at least 18 and a legal resident or citizen of an African country

CEO of the Foundation, Parminder Vir OBE said:

“We encourage women, French and Portuguese speakers to apply. Our 3,000 alumni are already growing their businesses and improving lives. If you have a transformational business or an idea, we have an opportunity for you.”

* $5,000 seed capital is paid based on the official Central Bank of Nigeria naira equivalent value at the date of selection for the programme.

About The Tony Elumelu Foundation

The Foundation’s long-term investment in empowering African entrepreneurs is emblematic of Tony Elumelu’s philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions Africa’s private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the continent.

The week that wasn’t

ENN Africa has been live for a week and boy where we challenged

After our website went live on 2 January 2018 and our South African partner, Hustle Central went live with their radio show, we have had a rough time and learnt a lot.

We decided to go live on 2 January as it would enable a “soft” landing as most people would not be at work yet and we can iron out the few bugs remaining before South Africa gets working in earnest. This was a great idea in theory and in practice it provide a lots of challenges and learnings for us.

When moving the site from the demo platform to the live one, a lot of things just stopped working (great idea to have a “soft” landing) however these challenges where not anticipated and the developers we needed where on holiday (not such a great idea launching during the “holidays”).

That is when I witnessed that team members who share your vision will do what it takes to get the job done.

Anyway the greatest learning for me is the value of the team and the power of committed people. If you don’t have a team, get one, if you have a team, appreciate the members who share your vision