These Ten Ugandan Startups Have Been Selected To Pitch At This Year’s Seedstars Kampala

With The Shopping Season Round The Corner, Here Is A Sneak Peek At The African E-Commerce Industry

Team WeeTracker October 9

A report by International Post Corporation predicts that global e-commerce sales will go up by 141% between 2016 and 2021. Today it’s rare to find a smartphone without an application for online shopping. People find it much more convenient to sit at home and choose from a vast variety to save themselves from the trouble of going out and hunting for the right product in 10 different shops.  

Amazon and Alibaba are the largest players with Amazon’s market cap touching USD 1 trillion in September 2018, and Alibaba nearing half a trillion. They have avoided mainly direct competition by dominating different parts of the world, but they are widening their reach by buying up the smaller local platforms. Their acquisitions mean that the global e-commerce landscape is consolidating. While Amazon currently dominates North America and Europe, Alibaba controls China and has made a web of strategic partnerships and investments in Southeast Asia.

However, there lies fierce competition in some economies, especially in burgeoning e-commerce markets of India, Australia, and Singapore. In India, the two are already in direct competition, where Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Financial have more than 50% stake in local payments and e-commerce platform Paytm Mall. While homegrown giant Flipkart, the second largest player in the market with 40% market share, has lately closed a deal to sell 77% stake to Walmart. Amazon here leads with 44% share.

Singapore is seeing Amazon struggle against local biggie Lazada which Alibaba had acquired and operates as a marketplace in the six Southeast Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. In China, apart from Alibaba’s TMall and Taobao, JD.com, Suning and Vip.com are the major players. While Amazon is a clear leader in Europe, regional players like Zolando, Otto, Casino and plenty of others.

What’s up with Africa?

A combination of several factors, amongst which the dearth of internet access, high illiteracy rate, and inefficiencies in logistics are considered the most telling drawbacks, form the bulk of the reason why eCommerce in Africa hasn’t exactly hit the heights or reached its full potential. While most of these problems are far from taken care of, the penetration of mobile devices – most notably, smartphones – which can be attributed to advancements in technology and innovation, have made access to the internet and mobile payment systems something of a given for millions of Africans.

By virtue of this development, it might not be exactly out of place to refer to the continent as the next big thing when it comes to online shopping. And it does seem like the numbers are in favor of this claim as data from Statista estimates that the African eCommerce industry is expected to rake in around USD 29 Bn in revenue by 2022, and that is after generating up to USD 16.5 Bn in 2017.  

According to data from Emergent Payments, despite boasting a population of around 1.25 billion people drawn out from 54 countries, the penetration of the internet on the continent still stands at only 35 percent. This can be construed to imply that there might still be a lot of work left to do in that regard. More so, of the proportion of the continent’s consumer base who can lay claim to having internet access, only a relatively meager fraction can be said to utilize desktop or laptop computers to surf the web.

Putting two and two together might suggest that Africa’s eCommerce market is predominantly mobile-based. It will be accurate to add that in combination with mobile-friendly payment systems, mobile devices have largely been the ‘go-to guy’ in the area of exploring the prospects of eCommerce on the continent. And this can be thought to have provided a pathway for the exploration of shopping opportunities in locations that would be otherwise unreachable due to the absence of physical stores and other infrastructure.

The Challenges Of eCommerce In Africa

  • Due to drawbacks associated with logistics and even fraud, the posture of African towards eCommerce can be considered somewhat apprehensive. In other words, Africans do not exactly jump at the idea of shopping online because of an inherent lack of trust in the system. Although significant progress has been made in this regard in recent times, as is evident in the increasing number of Africans that are known to now favour the online route for their shopping activities, there is still some work to be done in the area of imparting a more relaxed mindset and a receptive demeanor to Africans on the subject.

 

  • eCommerce on the continent is hampered by the shortage of far-reaching and widespread street address systems in a considerable number of African countries. Throw that in with the lack of infrastructure in the form of good road networks which doesn’t fill global logistics companies with optimism and there looms another problem. This brings about the high cost of logistics as last mile deliveries and transportation come at abnormally exorbitant costs in parts of the continent. The situation that has made motorcycles something of the most-used mode of transport for deliveries. There also exists a tracking and communication gap as customers are often left with no choice but to incur extra expenses by using calls to keep track of their purchases, which often discourages interest in shopping online.

 

  • There is also a challenge in that a significant proportion of the African population is unbanked. In spite of that, nearly 280 million Africans are known to have mobile wallets; a figure that is over three times the number of African who possess bank accounts. More so, the average of African digital consumer is placed at a relatively precocious 19 years. And this could imply that older African consumers are more suited to the cash-on-delivery (COD) arrangement, which actually still represents the most favored method of payment on the continent.

 eCommerce In Some African Countries

eCommerce can be considered to have done reasonably well in such countries as Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya — three countries that are known to top the charts in African eCommerce sales.

With a population of over 180 million people, Nigeria is considered Africa’s most populous nation, and the country is also known to be the largest economy on the continent in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Accounting for up to 40 percent of Africa’s eCommerce ventures, the country is home to the most number of eCommerce platforms on the continent. But in spite of all these somewhat impressive figures, internet penetration still stands at somewhere around 48 percent in the country.

Weighing in at a population of around 55.5 million is South Africa, which also boasts a significant population of middle-class citizens and probably the best offerings when it comes to cross-border potential. The country could, however, do better than the 54 percent which represents the degree of the reach of the internet in the country at present.

Kenya does serve up an interesting prospect, though. The East African country whose population is placed around 48.5 million does weigh in with an impressive 79 percent in the area of internet penetration. M-Pesa; a mobile wallet provider that is the creation of mobile telecom provider, Safaricom, is known to have garnered considerable interest and use from Kenyans since it came into existence.

According to a GSMA report, M-Pesa is currently seeing use from over 40 percent of Kenyan adults. Its creators, Safaricom, are also reported to have recently sealed partnership with global fintech giants, PayPal, which will see Kenyans make money transfers between PayPal and M-Pesa mobile wallets with relative ease. And this partnership could well serve to help Kenyan enterprises that wish to sell abroad gain access into the global markets. Essentially, the narrative from Kenya might be suggestive that eCommerce thrives under an atmosphere that is buoyed by secure payment systems, as well as far-reaching and reliable internet access.

Notable African eCommerce Platforms

Africa is not exactly a haven when it comes to selling products and services online. This claim is afforded even more substance when thought is given to the fact that even global eCommerce giants like Amazon have not done much to demonstrate any real interest in launching a major onslaught on the African market.

There are over 200 startups in Africa that are known to be plying the eCommerce route, and it has not been exactly a profitable journey as a significant proportion of these enterprises are a long way off from actually garnering substantial revenue. It also evokes mixed reactions that enterprises from only a handful of African countries account for the bulk of investments in this venture.

Having raised USD 150 Mn in 2014 alone, Africa’s best-funded eCommerce startup can be found in Nigeria-based Jumia Group which now has presence in 14 countries in Africa and the Middle East (with each country having its site), while employing up to 3,000 people since coming into existence in 2012 as the creation of Berlin-based Rocket Internet.

Since announcing its presence in Nigeria, the company is believed to have made significant strides in the country’s eCommerce sector by putting together a logistics infrastructure that incorporates over 500 motorbikes and trucks. This is known to facilitate its deliveries in major Nigerian cities. As has been earlier highlighted, COD which is largely favored as a payment method in Africa is also accepted by Jumia.

Another Nigerian eCommerce startup, Konga, started with the sales of baby and beauty products when it first hit the scene in 2012. Although the eCommerce platform only has operations in Nigeria, the site is believed to possess a customer base that is on the threshold of a million, as well as 300,000 visitors daily.

The company opened a third-party marketplace called Seller HQ in 2014, while also boasting its own logistics network called KOS Deliveries which has over 200 vehicles (vans, trucks, and motorbikes) set aside for the purpose of making deliveries. Pick-up points and distribution centers in various locations are also available on the platform, as well as a unique payment system, KongaPay, which is featured on some Nigerian banking platforms. The platform is known also to serve up a unique offering which provides that the money of customers are held in escrow until sales transactions are completed.

Local hardware and information technology services company, Zinox, are reported to have acquired the company earlier this year with such factors as financial losses and the inability to fund growth allegedly playing a role in the sale.

Kenya’s Kilimall is another notable African eCommerce platform. The company which is known to also sell in Nigeria and Uganda offers both affiliate and seller programs to small African businesses. Also worthy of mention is Kenya’s Sky.Garden which essentially offers a SaaS mobile platform and is believed to now also have more than 3,000 sellers and 23,000 unique products in 30 different categories. For good measure, the platform is known to only accept M-Pesa payments, which is the same mode it employs in making payments to its merchants.

South Africa’s Takealot also appears to be holding its own in the African eCommerce environment. The company came into existence in 2011 after Tiger Global Management acquired an existing eCommerce company. Takealot is known to have received a capital boost when its parent company invested USD 100 Mn in the eCommerce platform back in 2014. The infusion of funds is believed to have been instrumental to the subsequent purchase of logistics company, Mr. D Delivery, which afforded Takealot its delivery network with as many as 900 drivers on the roster. In addition to deliveries, Takealot claims to offer pick-ups from its warehouse in Cape Town every day of the week, while also offering such services as storage, fulfillment, and delivery, as well as customer service to its merchants.

Cross-Border Potential

Africa’s shortcomings in physical retail infrastructure might come across as a drawback at first glance, but a view from a different perspective would reveal that it does put cross-border eCommerce in a favorable position.

This is largely true for individuals who are looking to purchase western products from local online businesses whose platforms support payments in the local currency. In any case, Africa is not exactly an easy terrain when it comes to online selling so best practices might dictate that cross-border merchants leverage existing local platforms for their sales.

China is known to currently lead proceedings in cross-border sales in Africa as it would appear the continent favors the sale of products that are relatively inexpensive — and this happens to be the forte of the Chinese. Goods from the U.K. also appear to be holding their own in African countries that are British colonies.

More so, countries like Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa are expected to deliver most of the sales in cross-border eTrade, and individuals from some of these countries are known to be already thronging British, American, and Chinese online shopping sites. With that in mind, it might be advisable for cross-border sellers in those countries to form business relationships with local payment platforms and providers of courier services.

Small local businesses are largely the focus of Africa-based eCommerce sites as most of these platforms are known to support third-party sellers. However, Nigeria’s Mall for Africa is known to be towing a slightly different line as it believed to afford Africans the opportunity to shop from around 250 online platforms in the U.S. and U.K., with DHL Express shipping services available in over 60 of those including names as Amazon and eBay.

The company is known to currently be operational in 15 African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Rwanda. It also boasts numerous pick-up locations in these countries which serve to make purchased goods easily obtainable for people living in locations that lack standard physical address systems. Also incorporated into the platform is its very own debit card which allows for shopping in over 180 online platforms in the U.S. and U.K.

 

South African Supply-Chain App Khula! Wins Grand Prize Worth USD 14 K As MTN Business App Of The Year

Nzekwe Henry October 16

Khula!; a South African app that serves to link up farmers in emerging markets with the formal marketplace, has clinched top honors at this year’s edition of the MTN Business App Of The Year Awards.

In addition to being named the Business App of the Year, the platform has also received recognition in a special category dubbed; Best Agricultural Solution, as it has also emerged the winner in that category. As part of the perks that come with clinching the award, the developers of the app are now entitled to a trip to Silicon Valley in the U.S., worth up to USD 14 K in cash.

The app, Khula!, is known to facilitate delivery on bulk orders from supermarkets, restaurant chains, and even homes. This it does by effectively creating “one big virtual farm” which is basically comprised of multiple emerging farms for the purpose of crowd-sourcing produce to meet demands.

The platform’s complete software suite also incorporates an eCommerce web platform which makes it possible for clients to place orders from farmers. It also comes with an on-demand logistics solution which allows for the completion of deliveries by independent contractors.

According to Wanda Matandela, CEO of MTN Business, the awards afforded the telecommunications company the chance to place innovative solutions on the front burner and render support to these innovations with a view to helping them scale and go fully commercial, as well as help foster job creation in South Africa.

Industry experts, app developers, and past recipients of the award were amongst the panel of judges who selected and scrutinized the offerings of the shortlisted candidates of this year’s MTN Business App of the Year Awards.

Amongst other winners in the latest edition of the award were Pineapple (Best Consumer Solution),  Cowa Bunga (Best Enterprise Solution), Digemy Knowledge Partner and Besmarter (Best Incubated Solution), and Bestee App (Most Innovative Solution/Best Breakthrough Developer).

Other award recipients included such names as Stokfella (Best South African Solution), Difela Hymns (Women in STEM Solution), The African Cyber Gaming League App (Best Gaming Solution), dbTrack (Best Health Solution), Ctrl (Best Financial Solution), and Xander English 1-20 which took home the award in the Best Education Solution category.

 

 

Image via LinkedIn

South African Tech Teams Scoop Cash Rewards In The SAB Foundation Awards

Nzekwe Henry October 16

Around a total of USD 875 K in cash rewards have been doled out by the SAB Foundation to a number of South African startups and tech teams who have distinguished themselves to merit recognition in this year’s edition of the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards.

Hustlenomics; an affordable housing provider, as well as Clothes to Good clinched cash prizes worth USD 90 K and USD 84 K respectively for their offerings. While the former was recognized in the Social Innovation Award category, the former took home the accolades in Disability Empowerment Award category.

The SAB Foundation Awards are targeted at innovators, entrepreneurs, and institutions that have developed prototypes of products that are designed to tackle social problems or early-stage businesses that have set their sights on addressing social concerns.

The organization is known to offer assistance in the form of financing and mentorship to social innovations that are identified as possessing a recognizably viable business model while serving up veritable solutions to critical social problems. The SAB Foundation also claims to have disbursed more than USD 5.2 Mn since its inception in an effort to promote social innovation. More so, a total of 163 social enterprises are believed to have benefitted from the offerings of the Foundation.

The winners in the Social Innovation category, Hustlenomics, is a platform which makes it possible for underprivileged families who are holed up in the squalid conditions of informal backyard shacks to build lasting structures in their place. The startup does this by employing alternative building technology which incorporates the use of interlocking bricks made out of recycled materials. The new structures cost the homeowners virtually nothing as the housing projects are financed by means of a shared-home financing model. This model allows for the rental home income raked in by the completed structures to be used in offsetting development costs before full ownership of the property is ultimately transferred to the landowner.

Following Hustlenomics closely as second and third-place winners in the Social Innovation category are smart farming tech solution, Famru, and a microfinance solution created by InvoiceWorx for retailers in the informal sector; Spaza Credit. Both teams took home USD 63 K and USD 49 K respectively.

It appears there was enough to go around for everyone as shortlisted finalists in the Developmental Award category also got in on the act with such names as Fix Forward, Solar Lab in a Bag and ejoobi, taking home between USD 28 K to USD 34 K in cash rewards respectively. Bursary Network and Impulse Biomed were also rewarded with seed grants worth USD 14 K each.

Clothes to Good; the winner of the Disability Empowerment Award, was rewarded for helping to provide sustainable jobs and micro-business opportunities for people with disabilities by means of its clothing recycling program. Steps Clubfoot Care and Coral Tech’s VoQal took home USD 56 K and USD 42 K respectively for finishing in second and third place respectively. In what could be described as a good day at the office for Steps Clubfoot Care, the first runner-up in the Disability Empowerment Award category also scooped the Audience Award which came with a cash reward of USD 10 K. Three other shortlisted finalists in the said category also went home with USD 21 K as recipients of a special Developmental Award.

 

 

Image SourceSAGoodNews

Meet Silas Adekunle: The Nigerian Prodigy Who Is Fast-Becoming The King Of Robotics

Nzekwe Henry October 16

Africans are known to be making waves and holding their own amongst their peers on the global tech scene, and one Nigerian robotics engineer cum gaming guru is taking this to a whole new level. 26-year-old Silas Adekunle is a Nigerian robotics engineer who is considered one of the highest paid and smartest in the field. And as you will soon find out, these are anything but purported or bogus claims.

At a time when the Nigerian tech scene appears to be playing catch up with their counterparts in the developed world, the young robotics engineer seems to be pulling off remarkable feats in the world of robotics and giving ingenuity and innovation a whole new meaning,

Silas Adekunle, Nigerian robotics engineer

Adekunle, who recently got snapped up by global technology and software giants, Apple Inc., to become one of the world ’s highest paid engineers on the robotics scene, was born and raised to his teens in Nigeria. Having had some of his education in Nigeria, he relocated to the United Kingdom where he completed his secondary school education before enrolling into the University of the West of England to pursue a career in robotics. This was going to pay off as the Nigerian engineer graduated Summa Cum Laude having bagged first class honors from the institution.

Silas Adekunle created Reach Robotics in 2013. The company is known to channel efforts towards incorporating Augmented Reality (AR) into gaming for the purpose of performing functions. Fast forward four years down the line and the youngster already carries invaluable robotics experience under his belt. This feat is believed to have earned him the position of team leader in the Robotics In Schools program.

The Robotics In Schools program is targeted at honing the skills of students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. His role in the program is believed to have triggered his ingenuity and inspired the idea which led him to another project which involved developing robotics to make education more engaging and entertaining for students in the STEM disciplines.

Silas Adekunle, Nigerian robotics engineer

But the young Nigerian genius was far from done as he again caused ripples on the tech scene when he got robotics circles buzzing after the launch of Mekamon in 2017. In Mekamon, Adekunle is said to have built what is believed to be the world’s first gaming robot. The robot is considered unique in that it possesses the inherent ability to customize its features for the purpose of performing personalized functions. Mekamon may have become an instant hit post-launch but putting the gaming bot together was anything but a cake walk. The young Nigerian’s chances of success were hampered initially when he encountered difficulties in securing funds for the project. But sheer persistence, resourcefulness, and resilience got him over the line, and Mekamon reportedly generated USD 7.5 Mn after its initial launch, having had 500 units sold.

The remarkable success enjoyed by Mekamon can be considered to have opened the floodgates as support began to stream in aplenty soon after the initial sell-out of the bot. London Venture Partners weighed in with USD 10 Mn and Adekunle’s company, Reach Robotics, wrapped up a deal with Apple in the same year — a deal which means the company now has exclusive sales in Apple stores.

The quality and design of Adekunle’s creations are deemed impressive owing to their ability to show emotion with movements that are subtly-calibrated. His four-legged “battle bots” are priced at around USD 300 by Apple, and they are featured in almost all Apple stores in the US and UK. As he told Forbes in an interview earlier this year, while techies and geeks may have accounted for most of the initial scramble for the product, the robot is now beginning to draw patronage from a growing number of parents presumably due to their STEM application which can serve to get children interested in those lines of study.

Image result for Meet Silas Adekunle: The Nigerian Robotics Genius images

“Balance, shared ideas, time management, and being oneself”, are the words and phrases fondly associated with the young robotics engineer as the tonic for the successes he has so far enjoyed. As his works have gained traction, so too has he gained recognition. Adekunle was listed in this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe: Technology. According to TheBossNewspapers, he was also named “Someone to Watch in 2018” by the Black Hedge Fund Group.

Having taken the world by storm with his genius, Adekunle can be thought to be gearing up for even more feats. He currently puts in work at the Bristol Robotics Lab, which can be considered the cream of the crop of research centers in the U.K. Now, here’s to Africans all over the world who are doing the continent proud!

 

 

Image Credits: QED, Face2AFaceAfrica, JejeGuysEmpire, Naij.NG

Internet Ventures: 5 Africans Founders Who Have Railed In Massive Online Cash

Andrew Christian October 16

In the course of the past two decades, a significant number of digital ventures have been springing up from different parts of the world, due to the increasing embrace of knowledge technologies, information and social media. Several African entrepreneurs have also carved out online niches to birth economic benefits, employment and in the same way, enable globalization. Pivotal people such as Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim (YouTube partners), as well as Lawrence Page have been scintillating the internet scene and cashing in big on the international front. So what about Africa? The continent is definitely not missing out, as innovative minds in the motherland are citing and exploiting internet opportunities, making them worthy of celebration and emulation. Here are five of them who have built successful online ventures.

Elon Musk – Co-founder PayPal, South Africa

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The legendary Elon Musk from South Africa is the co-founder PayPal. The entrepreneur, who has an African father and a Canadian mother, is one of the brains behind what has to be the most internationally recognized and used payments system. But that isn’t the only of his accomplishment, as he also co-founded X.com in March 2002 – a financial service and email payment company. In a matter of one year, the venture acquired Confinity – a company originally formed to beam money between Palm Pilots. The combined entity then capitalized on email payment through the PayPal domain. In February of 2001, X.com was officially renamed to PayPal, which was later acquired by eBay for USD 1.5 Bn in 2002 via a stock deal. Before its sale, PayPal’s 11.7 percent shares formed the coffers of Elon Musk, making him the largest shareholder in the company.

Kamal Budhabatti – Founder Craft Silicon, Kenya

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Kamal, who is nicknamed Kenya’s Bill Gate, is the fuel to the engine and the man behind the wheels of Craft Silicon. He founded it to be a Kenyan software company that provides core banking, Microsoft, mobile, switch solutions software and electronic payments services for more than 200 institutional clients in over 40 countries spread throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Craft Silicon boasts of an office in the all-time Silicon Valley in San Francisco, which makes it one of the quite few Kenyan companies ever to bask in such affiliation. With its more than USD 50 Mn market value, the company is causing ripples in the African business ecosystem, driving tech in the East African region and putting Kenya on the world map of entrepreneurship. Kamal Budhabatti’s idea of a venture now rakes in annual revenue of USD 6 Mn.

Jason Njoku – Founder Iroko TV, Nigeria

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Jason, who happens to be one of the few Nigerian entrepreneurs that beat the odds of raising capital even in impossible situations, is the founder and CEO of Iroko TV in Nigeria. The internet company is now reported to be the largest distributor of African movies in the world. While that may come as a shock to you, this may be an absorber – Iroko TV is labeled as the Netflix of Africa according to a Forbes publication. In 2013, Jason’s business was able to raise USD 8 Mn in venture capital from Tiger Global Management, which is a New York-based private equity and hedge fund being managed by billionaire Chase Coleman. Iroko TV is an online streaming website that makes enormous profits from lucrative content distribution deals with companies such as Daily Motion, iTunes, Amazon, and Vimeo. According to analysts, Iroko TV could be worth an estimated amount of USD 30 Mn, with Jason Njoku being the company’s largest individual shareholder.

Njeri Rionge – Co-founder Wananchi Online, Kenya

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Rionge is the co-founder of Wananchi Online, one of the leading internet services providers in East Africa’s cable, broadband, and Internet-based IP phone companies. This woman is regarded as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Kenya, and her turning point was when she succeeded in turning a USD 500 K startup into the echelon internet form in the whole East African region. Wananchi Online now has a net valuation of no less than USD 175 Mn. She was one of the few people who went tooth and nail to put it out there that internet is not cut out alone for the elite, as just about anybody can found, build and make a fortune out of it. Her ISP company became massively successful so much that it rose to nearly USD 60 Mn in growth capital from a consortium private equity firm.

Mark Shuttleworth – Founder Knife Capital, South Africa

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Mark Shuttleworth is the founder of Thawte and Ubuntu/Knife Capital, South Africa. He founded Thawte when he was 22 to be a digital certificate and internet security company, which he later sold to VeriSign for USD 575 Mn in an all-stock deal. The company today is the second in the world when it comes to the provision of digital certification. When Shuttleworth was 26, he used a fraction of the proceeds from the Thawte sale to start a venture capital firm HBD Capital, which is today popularly known as Knife Capital, based on Cape Town. The firm invests in innovation-driven fintechs with proof of traction. Knife Capital was one of the participating investors in the Weetracker UberPitch series. Another of Shuttleworth’s founding was that of Ubuntu, a computer operation system that is distributed as free open-source software. The entrepreneur’s net worth is reported to be USD 500 Mn.

NEIP Disburses USD 10 Mn To Ghanaian SMEs

Andrew Christian October 16

The government of Ghana, through its flagship National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan Initiative (NEIP) has successfully funded 1,350 owners of Small and Medium Enterprises, with a total of USD 10 Mn in seed capital.

The disbursement is meant to aid these SMEs successfully set up their own business or vamp up the existing ones to gain some traction.
Each beneficiary of the scheme received an amount ranging between USD 2 K to GHC 20 K as financial support.

Owusu Karikari, the Director of Business Support at NEIP, told the press that the support is a loan expected to be refunded with a 10 percent interest, repayable within three years to enable more SMEs to expand and create more jobs.

According to him, NEIP identified the lack of knowledge about product development, limited market, insufficient management skills, lack of funding and little or no technical support a few of the many challenges facing SMEs in the region. He said that the support would shore up indigenous enterprises, so they have a competing chance with their international counterparts.

As part of the government’s support for small businesses, 7,000 more entrepreneurs have been taken through intensive training to build and handle their enterprises. This is quickly followed by the announcement of tax holidays for young entrepreneurs under 35 years of age, as is a respite for their businesses.

NEIP Business Support Program essentially concentrates on the provision of business development services, startup incubators and funding for early-stage businesses, seeking to enable them to grow and become successful.

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