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Nigerian Entrepreneurs, Others Jostle for $2m JUA Kickstarter Fund

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Nigerian Entrepreneurs Others Jostle for $2m JUA Kickstarter Fund, SiliconNigeria

Entrepreneurs from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Entrepreneurs from Ghana, Tanzania, Benin, Namibia and eSwatini have led the application for the $2 million JUA Kickstarter Fund.

 The JUA Kickstarter Fund will provide African entrepreneurs with capital to kickstart or expand their enterprises. It has doubled to $2 million to become the biggest African capital venture fund launched by private individuals.

 The fund was launched by African industrialist Adam Molai in November last year with $1million available for African entrepreneurs. A further $1million has since been pledged by US-based angel investing and mentorship firm Simba Global Start-ups – bringing the total investment amount available to $2 million.

 Announcing the additional funding, Molai says the added capital will allow the fund to make bigger investments in enterprises as well as fund more businesses. “Simba Global Start-ups has pledged to match, like-for-like, our contributions which is absolutely incredible.

“This is an example of how Africans can work together to solve the challenges facing the continent. As an African entrepreneur who has experienced the grueling journey of establishing businesses, I firmly believe that Africa’s destiny lies in the hands of Africans.

 “It is not foreign investment that will provide us with a seat at the global table, but domestic investment. This is a view that is shared by Simba, which we will now use to benefit the African entrepreneurs and start-ups who are growing economies across Africa and creating jobs,” he says.

 JUA [sunrise in KiSwahili] will provide successful applicants with funds – to launch or grow their businesses – as well as mentoring and guidance. Entrepreneurs from across Africa or those who operate in Africa are eligible to apply.

 The entire application process is electronic and funds are expected to be disbursed to successful applicants within 12 weeks of their shortlisting, in a first for Africa. Applications close on 31 January 2021.

Simba’s founder and CEO, Dr. Philippe Kisunzu says: “Born in the DRC, I am a child of the continent who grew up experiencing the atrocities of its civil wars. These intense challenges nurtured within me a vision for prosperity and hope for the people in my village and community. My deepest belief is that this vision is best attained when entrepreneurs create jobs which are scalable, sustainable, inclusive and profitable. With a JUA-SIMBA investing partnership, I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play an active role in making this dream a reality.”

 He says Simba’s vision in investing in Africa’s future was not only to create jobs and strengthen African economies, but also to enable Africa to become the “financial benchmark for the world in the 21st century.”

 “As a result of our JUA-SIMBA partnership, we hope to expand our vision exponentially on behalf of Sub Saharan African indigenous entrepreneurs who will not only create jobs for the citizens in the region, but also provide financial security for themselves and their families. With JUA-SIMBA partnership, we look to optimise our synergies to produce a combined societal impact greater than the sum of our individual societal impacts.

“Our deepest desire is that through our SIMBA Vision 2035, the most robust of the combined portfolio of startups/companies would have earned the rights to be publicly traded on platforms such as the NASDAQ or the NYSE by the year 2035, placing themselves in an enviable position to create wealth in Africa for Africans, by attracting angel investors and venture capitalists from all over the world, and thus making Africa a global economic powerhouse,” says Kisunzu.

In the two months since its launch, JUA has received over 500 applicants from across Africa. Most of the applications have come from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Entrepreneurs from Ghana, Tanzania, Benin, Namibia and eSwatini have also applied.  

 Entrepreneurs in need of capital for their ideas or those who are looking to expand their enterprises are encouraged to apply. “We are looking to help African entrepreneurs grow or launch their businesses. Our priority is businesses with impact in terms of job creation and scalability across the continent.

“Obviously, entrepreneurs with proven businesses, solid business pedigree and who have clearly articulated their business propositions, target market, channels or those with innovative solutions to Africa’s many challenges stand a much better chance of being successful. I encourage all aspiring entrepreneurs in need of funding to ensure that they have interrogated, analysed and stress-tested their ideas to stand a better chance of success,” says Molai.

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Swype Global Announces Entries For Swypatune Naija Contest

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Swype Global Announces Entries For Swypatune Naija Contest, SiliconNigeria

Swype Global, a UK startup operating in the digital technology space, has announced the launch of Swypatune Nigeria Series 1. 

Swypatune is the world’s first dedicated digital contest and pitching platform. The Swypatune app offers aspiring artists a new way, to contest and win amazing cash prizes and the opportunity to be discovered, just by downloading the app, signing up, and uploading their content from their mobile devices. 

The general public gets to vote for their favorite artists while also standing the chance to win fantastic prizes. 

Dr. Peter Atorough, the founder and chief executive of Swype Global captures it: “Our mission is to harness the possibilities of digital mobile technologies and expand access to opportunity for people who live anywhere, wherever there is a connection,” he said.  

He said some of benefits of joining the Swypatune Naija contest include: Contestants stand a chance to win cash prizes – ₦10million ultimate winner prize and a song recording deal while Voters get an opportunity to win Swypatune credit coins that can be redeemed for offers on the app. 

Atorough adds that contestants get a chance to work with renowned producers on the continent and win MULTIPLE CASH PRIZES from a prize pot of ₦20 million.

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The UnionX Innovation Challenge is Open for Entries

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The UnionX Innovation Challenge is Open for Entries, SiliconNigeria

Up to N4.5m Funding up for Grabs!!

Union Bank has unveiled the 2021 UnionX Innovation Challenge support early-stage start-ups and boost innovation within the start-up ecosystem. 

Tagged ‘A New Discovery’, this edition of the UnionX Challenge, will focus on discovering, showcasing, and supporting eligible entrepreneurs with innovative, technology-focused Minimum Viable Products (MVPs).

The UnionX Innovation Challenge is Open for Entries, SiliconNigeria

During the entry period which ends on March 14, 2021, early-stage start-ups registered in Nigeria are invited to submit innovative MVPs with the potential to transform society. These innovative MVPs should focus on sectors including, but not limited to, Financial Technology, E-Commerce, Health, Education and Agriculture.

The top three MVPs will receive cash prizes totaling N4.5million from Union Bank, in addition to a 2-month incubation programme with GreenHouse Capital, a leading fintech venture capital fund collaborating with Union Bank on the initiative.

In addition, the winners will leverage Union Bank’s network and value chain to further develop their solutions and scale for greater impact.   They will also benefit from a range of services focused on product development, distribution and business modelling geared towards potential integration with the Bank.

The UnionX Challenge is the most recent in Union Bank’s Innovation Challenge series. Through the Centenary Innovation Challenge in 2017, the Campus Innovation Challenge in 2018, and the 2019 Edtech Challenge, Union Bank has discovered and supported innovative start-ups and solutions with the potential to drive sustainable impact and development in Nigeria.   

Click here to read more about the UnionX Challenge and submit your entry. For more updates, follow Union Bank on  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Terms and conditions apply.

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Africa Fintech Foundry Seeks Tech Entrepreneurs For 2021 Accelerator Programme

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Africa Fintech Foundry Seeks Tech Entrepreneurs For 2021 Accelerator Programme, SiliconNigeria

Africa’s foremost innovation hub, the Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), has opened up its registration portal for the 2021 Accelerator programme that will groom technology entrepreneurs and startups.

The initiative, which is being executed in partnership with Access Bank Plc, seeks to fast-track the growth of the best start-ups operating within the African technology ecosystem.

Start-ups to be considered for admission into the programme include those that: have a tech-enabled solution; offer a unique solution or unique application in a regional setting; have a cross-functional team with a deep understanding of the market – which includes technical lead(s) and founder(s) that are fully committed to the business; have a defensible position (IP; network effects; domain or region expertise); have been in operations for at least 6 months, amongst others.

The Accelerator programme will fast track and assist the selected start-ups to navigate issues such as start-up pricing and competitiveness, creating endearing customer experiences, support and retention, hiring and people management, scaling for growth and  product development cycle fundamentals amongst others.

Speaking at the launch of the initiative, the head of the Africa Fintech Foundry, Daniel Awe, said, “Research has shown that 90 per cent of start-ups fail due to various reasons such as lack of funding, being in the wrong market, a lack of research, mis-aligned partnerships, ineffective marketing and poor competitive positioning to name a few.  

“Ninety per cent is a high percentage rate of failure. This indicates that many things need to go right for a business to succeed. Enabling start-ups to grow, scale and remain relevant in the tech space is where we play a major role as AFF.”

“Since its establishment, the Africa Fintech Foundry has progressively demonstrated leadership in the areas of innovation, financial technology and entrepreneurship. We recognise the vast array of talent possessed by Africans and the wider global players and the immense potential that our technological start-ups have.

Hence, through the Accelerator programme, we will be providing cohorts with mentorship and clinic hours from leading entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts. They will also get access to funding, unrivalled business insights, access to markets and networking opportunities with our partners at various stages of the program,” he said.

The AFF Accelerator programme will span 12 weeks, with formal and informal mentorship from established founders, investors and pioneers across various industries.

Access Bank’s Executive Director for Information Technology and Operations, Ade Bajomo, highlighted the need for increased corporate investment in tech-focused capacity building initiatives. 

He said “Technology can serve as the catalyst for solving many of the problems faced across various industries. We also believe that it holds the potential to resolve social and economic challenges faced across the African continent. 

“Therefore, as Africa’s gateway to the world, we have partnered the continent’s leading accelerator, the Africa Fintech Foundry, to create a platform that will nurture the brightest minds, providing them the needed resources to develop and scale their projects, to the benefit of all,” he added.

Interested participants can visit www.africafintechfoundry.com for more information. Those who meet the required criteria will be required to fill an online application. Entry deadline has been disclosed as Saturday, 31 January 2020.

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