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New African entrepreneur fund worth $1-million launches

Established by Adam Molai, an African industrialist, the new fund aims to provide entrepreneurs with the capital to kickstart and expand their business….



A new fund for African entrepreneurs, The JUA Kickstarter Fund has launched and is worth $1-million in funding.

African entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply to The JUA Kickstarter Fund

Established by Adam Molai, an African industrialist, the new fund aims to provide entrepreneurs with the much-needed capital to kickstart and expand their business.

Selected applicants will receive the support needed to succeed and contribute to the rise in startup businesses in Africa.

In an official press release, Adam Molai explains that the motivation behind the JUA Kickstarter Fund is to showcase the capacity of African innovative solutions.

“Without entrepreneurs, economies cannot grow and countries cannot advance. But African entrepreneurs unfortunately do not get the support they need to thrive for a myriad of reasons. Yet Africa is full of enterprising people. Wherever there is adversity, there is an opportunity. Africa is rife with adversity, wherever you turn business prospects are in abundance. Entrepreneurs provide solutions to societal challenges, whilst creating space for the advancement of their communities. I feel that Africa is so much more open and it is full of so much more opportunity than you would find elsewhere. I want to do everything in my power to ensure that this potential is cultivated and unleashed.”

The JUA Kickstarter Fund

Due to Covid-19, SMMEs were hit hard and entrepreneurs have as a consequence struggled to secure capital.

The traditional method of accessing funding from banks requires that entrepreneurs have collateral. With the pandemic causing a drastic drop in incoming revenue, many entrepreneurs are unable to seek loans or funding from the bank, with negative ripple effects of debit on the cards.

The JUA Kickstarter Fund aims to inspire Africa’s entrepreneurial generation to create innovative solutions to transform the entrepreneurial landscape in Africa.

Interested applicants can apply here for the JUA Kickstarter Fund.

Mentorship for Entrepreneurs is another challenge that Molai aims to address with the launch of The JUA Kickstarter Fund.

Molai comments that investors are more inclined to invest in the entrepreneurship environment of Africa if entrepreneurs display confidence in their capabilities.

“When people see Africans investing in our own environment, they feel more confident to invest alongside us. Confidence breeds confidence. And I am nothing if not confident in the future of Africa and in what we can collectively achieve. For decades we’ve looked to governments to create a conducive environment for entrepreneurship to thrive in Africa. Governments alone will not achieve this without entrepreneurs also investing into creating more entrepreneurs. For true success, there is a need for this symbiotic approach buttressed by supportive policies.”

The fund will not only provide successful applicants with funds to kickstart or expand their enterprises but it will also offer mentorship and guidance. Successful applicants will receive their funds within 12 weeks of their shortlisting as the application process operates electronically.

Molai proudly comments on the speed of distributing funds to successful applicants.

“Cash flow is essential to the survival of small and emerging businesses. Studies have shown that cash flow is one of the major reasons why small and emerging businesses fail within the first two to five years. So, we have committed to ensuring disbursement to successful applicants within 12 weeks.”

Read more: Zambian women-led startup receives funding
Read more: Morocco VC invests in three African tech startups

Featured Image: : Adam Mola, fouder of TRT Investments and The JUA Kickstarter Fund, (Supplied)




Nigerian startup Ladda in top five to win Seedstars competition –

Nigerian investment platform Ladda is one of five startups that will face off in the final round of the Seedstars World Competition.



Nigerian investment platform Ladda is one of five startups that will face off in the final round of the Seedstars World Competition.

The annual contest revealed the five finalists on 4 May.

Ladda is in the running to win the grand prize of $500 000 in equity funding

This announcment follows the completion of the regional finals where the Lagos-based startup proved victorious.

Seedstars looks for next big startup

Seedstars, an entrepreneurial company based in Switzerland, launched the competition in 2013.

In 2020, the competition received over 4 000 startup applications from around the world. 94 made it through the local stages of the competition after participating in the Seedstars Investment Readiness Program. After that, that number shrunk to 20 in the regional stages.

Ladda is a mobile finance app that offers users access to micro-investment opportunities. The app is available to download on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Competing against Ladda are four other startups in the fields of finance, healthcare, and logistics. They include Fulfillment Bridge (Tunisia), Pegasi (Venezuela), IMAN (Uzbekistan), and Finology (Malaysia).

“These five startups have proven that no matter how difficult times may get, innovation is still at the forefront,” said Seedstars World lead of Seedstars, Daria Khlopova. “We can’t wait to see them at the Grand Finale.”

During the final round of the competition, the startups will pitch their businesses to a judging panel. After which, a winner will be announced. The event will also include roundtable discussions with experts on tech and education.

In addition to the grand prize, Seedstars will also award prizes in several categories. The categories include Childhood Development, Climate Change, and Women Empowerment.

The Seedstars Grand Finale will take place online on 20 May. To register to watch the finale, check out the Seedstars website.

Read more: Applications for Google for Startups Accelerator Programme are open
Read more: SA software company Dineplan partners with Google

Feature image: Supplied



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West African tech startup launches app in Gabon 

West African tech startup Gozem has announced the launch of ‘Super App’ taxi booking service in Libreville enabling consumers to travel with ease.



West African tech startup Gozem has announced the launch of ‘Super App’ taxi booking service in Libreville, Gabon.

Gozem launches Super App in Gabon

Cecilia Kouna, Deputy Country Manager of Gozem Gabon comments on the launch of the service in Libreville.

“We’re very excited to start our operations in Gabon with a simplified, safer, and more convenient taxi booking solution. We’re confident that this innovation will create real value for passengers and drivers in the Gabonese market. And very soon afterward, we’ll continue to add value by expanding the range of services Gozem offers in Gabon to include delivery services and more.”

Gozem’s Super App in Libreville

The launch of the taxi booking service will enable Libreville residents to take trips in the capital of the nation by simply downloading the free app which is available on Android and iOS devices.

The launch of the app will not only enable Libreville residents to travel with ease but also provide an opportunity for drivers to secure an income. Functioning similarly to Uber, the Gozem Super App is easy to use and a customer must simply open the app, enter their location, select their desired destination, and request a ride with the nearest Gozem driver being alerted to pick them up.

According to Gozem, at the end of the trip, the app calculates the price based on the distance travelled with the assistance of its built-in GPS technology.

Customers will be able to pay for the rides in cash, Airtel Money, Moov Money, or by credit card.

Raphael Dana, co-founder of Gozem explains that this is the first of many steps for the tech startup in its African expansion.

“We’re proud to offer this high quality, everyday service that responds to the needs of the Gabonese population while continuing to expand Gozem in the region. Our ambition is to consolidate our status as the premier super app in Africa, and this expansion to Central Africa, our first foray outside of West Africa, also allows us to prepare our upcoming expansion to Cameroon.”

(Supplied)Gozem Super App

Gozem launched its Super App in 2020 that offers a suite of services to Sub-saharan Africans. The African tech startup’s suite of services provides access to transport, eCommerce payments, delivery, and financial services for its users. The app is available on Android and iOS.


Read more: SA software company Dineplan partners with Google
Read more: Applications for Google for Startups Accelerator Programme are open

Featured image: Gozem, Facebook



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Ajua acquires Kenyan fintech WayaWaya 

Ajua has acquired  WayaWaya, the Kenya-based Artificial Intelligence [AI] and Machine Learning [ML] known for its innovative Janja platform.



Nairobi-based Ajua, the integrated Customer Experience Management solution for businesses in Africa, has acquired WayaWaya, the Kenya-based Artificial Intelligence [AI] and Machine Learning [ML] known for its innovative Janja platform.

WayaWaya’s innovative platform enables borderless banking and payments across apps and social media platforms for an undisclosed sum.

Ajua acquires WayaWaya to help SMEs improve their customer experience

Kenfield Griffith, founder, and CEO of Ajua comments on the acquisition.

“The acquisition of WayaWaya is an important milestone for us, as we make a significant leap in ensuring the customer experience journey for businesses across the continent is seamless. Integrating WayaWaya’s technology significantly complements our product suite and gives us the ability to automate our clients’ businesses and grow their revenues, which is an extremely powerful proposition for our customers of all sizes, across Africa. From our experience in this area, we understand the CX fundamentals that drive growth for our customers and we want to bring this intelligence to SMEs across the continent.”

By acquiring WayaWaya, Ajua will integrate the Kenyan fintechs’ product to automate its customer experience journey into its product stack. This patented and unique smart AI and ML product built by WayaWaya will provide SMEs the ability to automate responses.

Businesses will now be able to make use of the intelligent messaging through a number of social platforms such as Facebook messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, and others. It further enables consumers to conduct cross-border payments and automate customer support.

“The additional reach this acquisition brings allows Ajua to scale significantly within the SME vertical, as we provide our customers today, and in the future, the tools they need to grow in Africa and beyond. We continue to be bullish on the point that customer experience and customer engagement are the engine for growth for businesses across the continent and they are disciplines that are critical factors in driving productivity and revenue growth,” adds Griffith.

Ajua (Supplied)Ajua

Founded in 2012, Ajua is an Integrated Customer Experience platform for businesses on the continent. The innovative company combines both technology and the customer experience. Ajua has created several products that provide real-time customer feedback at the point of service, for small and large businesses across the continent.

Ajua overall aims to digitise and grow African SMEs with its service and product offerings as it uses data and analytics to connect companies with their customers in real-time. This service provides SMEs with the tools to improve their customer knowledge and experience with the overall impact resulting in SMEs increase of sales.

Teddy Ogallo, founder of WayaWaya and new VP of Product APIs and Integrations for Ajua comments on the acquisition.

“Ajua’s focus on introducing and scaling customer service and customer experience for the continent – and essentially how they help businesses deliver excellence for their customers – is something my team and I have long admired. Seeing how WayaWaya’s technology can complement Ajua’s innovative products and services, and help scale and monetize businesses, is an exciting opportunity for us, and we are happy that our teams will be collaborating to build something unique for the continent”.

Read more: West African tech startup launches SaaS solution for African micro retailers
Read more: Flutterwave and Worldpay partner to improve online card payments for eCommerce businesses in SA and Nigeria

Featured image: Ajua (Supplied)



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