Class 4 applications now open
The third Launchpad Accelerator Africa class graduated today in Lagos. Part of a programme run by Google as part of its ongoing efforts to support entrepreneurship on the continent, Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 3 comprised 12 startups from six African countries – Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda – 58% of which have female co-founders.
All of the teams participating in Class 3 have been trained in machine learning technologies and are implementing AI in their offerings as a result. “This,” says Launchpad Accelerator Africa, head of startup success and services, Fola Olatunji-David, ”represents an alignment towards building AI-first startups powered by Google technology. The startups in this class have raised close to $9-million in funding, created more than 120 jobs and their products and services have over 270 000 users.”
“We know that Africa is awash with entrepreneurial potential,” he says. “If that potential is to be transformed into job creation, startups founded by those entrepreneurs need to grow. This programme is about giving them the best possible chance of achieving that growth.”
The graduating startups now form part of Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa’s alumni along with the 23 startups from Classes 1 and 2 who between them have created 385 direct jobs and raised over $19-million before, during and after they participated in the programme.
“The growth of entrepreneurship in Africa is critical to the survival of our continent,” comments Olatunji-David. “We’re currently as a region creating about 3 million jobs per year while more than 11 million job seekers are entering the market. Google believes that empowering entrepreneurs and startups is essential to drive employment growth and enable both economic and social development on the continent. Google thrives when other business thrives,” he adds.
Class 4 will kick off later this year, and see another 10-12 African startup complete the three-month acceleration programme. Applications for Class 4 open today – 21 June – and will be open until 26 July.
The 12 startups graduating today, in alphabetical order, are:
54Gene (Nigeria): Improves drug discovery by researching multiple genetically diverse African populations.
Data Integrated Limited (Kenya): Automates and digitises SME payments, connecting the street to high finance.
Instadiet.me (Egypt): Connects patients to credible nutritionists and dietitians online to help them maintain a healthy and optimal weight.
Kwara (Kenya): Provides a rich digital banking platform to established fair lenders such as credit unions or savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), with an open API to enable and accelerate their inclusion into the formal financial ecosystem.
OkHi (Kenya): A physical addressing platform for emerging markets that is on a mission to enable the 4 billion without a physical address to “be included”.
PAPS (Senegal): A logistics startup with a strong client-care orientation, focused on last mile delivery in the domestic market that features live tracking, an intelligent address system and automatic dispatch.
ScholarX (Nigeria): An education startup that connects high potential students with funding opportunities to help them advance in their studies.
Swipe2pay (Uganda) – A web and mobile payments solution that democratizes electronic payments for SMEs by making it easy for them to accept mobile as a mode of payment.
Tambua Health Inc. (Kenya): The Tambua App turns a normal smartphone into a powerful, non-invasive diagnostic tool for Tuberculosis and Pneumonia. It uses a cough sound acoustic signature, symptoms, risk factors and clinical information to come up with a diagnostic report.
Voyc.ai (South Africa): Voyc.ai’s CX Research Platform helps companies understand their customers by turning their customer research into insights, personas and customer journey maps.
WellaHealth (Nigeria): A pharmacy marketplace for affordable high-quality disease-care (such as malaria treatment) driven by artificial intelligence.
Zomila (formerly Zelda Learning) (South Africa): Provides free online career guidance for students looking to enter university and then links them to funding and study opportunities.
Phillips Consulting to empower entrepreneurs, startups with new Micro Courses
The Managing Director of Philips Consulting, Rob Taiwo has stated that the democratization of learning is fast merging with an increasingly globalised workforce, and the future would belong to those who can learn at pace and deliver a unique set of skills, from anywhere and to anyone.
Mr. Taiwo stated this at the launch of the Virtual Instructor-Led Training (V.I.L.T) platform tagged Micro Courses, launched in Lagos recently.
According to him, “With a mission to drive the future of work in corporate Nigeria by democratizing learning, Philips Consulting has launched a bouquet of services designed to help individuals, teams, and corporates prepare for the necessary change.”
He said, “They include tools that motivate people to thrive in the workplace, whilst learning about emerging technologies of the future. Our micro course platform was recently launched to cater to the different categories of learners in Nigeria to upskill the employed, create more employable youth, and drive national growth and business sustainability.”
Speaking at the launch, the managing director said that there is a huge window of opportunity to understand, manage and transition into this new future that will lead the fourth industrial revolution in Nigeria. Preparing for this requires a high level of agility and responsiveness, as well as timely and deliberate actions to drive businesses forward. You must adapt and continuously innovate. Here are a few pointers that will shape our new working realities, he stated.
People need to be inspired to work in the future of work, he added. “This future is driven by a gig-economy where everyone can figure things out in a few clicks, posts, or tweets. This economy has radically reshaped the labour market, and because of this, talent is less inspired to remain committed to formal employment. The core areas of focus for employees should be the employee experience, flexible modes of work, innovative engagement, and a virtuous well-being cycle.”
According to him, people need to know “how to work” in the “future of work”. Working in a new revolution with a multigenerational workforce requires higher technical, social, cognitive, emotional, and adaptive skills. The most critical of them is the need to unlearn, learn and iterate on the fly.
“Hybrid leaders are in higher demand than ever to tackle new and undiscovered problems. The top skills needed for this New Normal must be accessible to anyone who seeks to thrive. Therefore, people from all backgrounds and demographic must take a new approach to continuous, bite-sized, scalable, and accessible virtual-enabled learning that equips them with these new skills,” he enthused.
Mr. Taiwo said, “Nigeria was 6th in the world for the highest number of internet users in Q1 of 2020, this clearly demonstrates that when provided with the opportunity, the ability of the average Nigerian to harness technology is beyond contestation, but such endeavour must be geared towards using digital learning to up-skill our workforce and empower entrepreneurs and startups”.
Speaking on the new innovation, the Programme Lead, Innovation & Investment at Philips Consulting, Fikunayomi Aluko, said, “The mass equipping of young Nigerians with relevant and high-demand workplace skillsets will not only guarantee a bright future for the youth but a great future for the Nigerian economy.”
He said, “Businesses need to embrace accelerated digitalisation: Artificial intelligence, automation and the Internet of Things have powered the greatest changes in this new world of work. While the digital transformation has created a skill shift, made processes more seamless and redefined the expectations of employees towards work, it has also led to process complexities, cultural change, and corporate disruption,” he added.
However, the Head of Training at pcl. Nwaji Jibunoh said, “Given the complexities of the Nigerian environment, our services offer an opportunity for people from all walks of life to quickly develop themselves with skills that shall prepare them for the future. These services are affordable, easily accessible and delivered by highly experienced individuals.”
Konga’s monthly loss reduced from N400m to N100m in 2 years – CEO
Konga.com’s books indicated a N400m monthly loss, but with new systems, structure and energy put in place, the numbers have gradually been reducing, the CEO, Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, has disclosed.
Prince Nnamdi who spoke while appearing on Kaleidoscope, an interview programme aired on Channels TV, he said that eCommerce is an expensive project but we are best positioned to deliver as a very innovative technology company,’’ he disclosed.
He also disclosed that Konga has invested well over $120m since it was acquired two years ago in Nigeria alone and now strategically structured to take on other African countries.
In his words; ‘‘Though we started with a monthly loss of N400m, but with new systems, structure and energy put in place, we have gradually been reducing losses and now about N100m loss per month. E-Commerce is an expensive project but we are best positioned to deliver as a very innovative technology company,’’ he disclosed.
Equally important, Prince Ekeh made the disclosure on Kaleidoscope, an interview programme aired on Channels TV on Sunday, August 2nd, 2020.
The young business leader, who described Konga as a technology company revealed that Konga employs directly and indirectly over 150,000 Nigerians. Most of them are merchants, logistics and other service providers.
‘‘We partner to create a trusted and sustainable digitally-driven ecosystem and working hard to scale this to about 250,000 before the end of 2020.
‘‘We see ourselves as more than just an e-Commerce company. Konga is a technology company and as a technology company, we are positioned to leverage that status in deploying new solutions and innovations. Indeed, no one should be surprised if tomorrow, Konga starts launching space ships into orbit. Although we have received several offers from interested investors, we are content with the group that is currently funding Konga. The group is highly ethical and want us to maintain the highest level of integrity. Our investors have assured us of enough capital to survive the next five years at least. This was why we did not accommodate a valuation of $300m from a consortium of global investors last year.
‘‘However, we are also keen to expand into other African markets after taking charge of the Nigerian market. The e-Commerce market in African is still a largely untapped one. Therefore, any company that makes the right in-roads will reap huge benefits from it,’’ he said.
LSETF relaunches Idea Hub for tech startups
In line with its mandate to provide entrepreneurship solutions, training, and upskilling opportunities to innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Lagos tech ecosystem, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has re-designed the Idea Hub Programme, under its Lagos Innovates Programme.
The Lagos Innovates Idea Hub Programme is a 12-week incubation programme designed to support tech-enabled businesses with relevant skills, networking opportunities and mentorship from seasoned industry experts; geared towards building a competitive and sustainable brand.
It is expected that the programme would afford budding entrepreneurs with tech solution with the necessary leverage to grow their ideas.
The benefits include business incubation and coaching by Lagos Innovates experienced and seasoned Mentors; an opportunity to pitch for Lagos Innovates Workspace Vouchers for 6 or 12 months (valued between ₦120,000 – ₦1,800,000); and access to Lagos Innovates network including Government, corporates, start-ups, local and international investors, etc.
In her remarks on the initiative, the Executive Secretary/CEO, LSETF, Mrs. Teju Abisoye said; “The Lagos Innovates Idea Hub is a programme under one of our delivery mechanism tagged Tech Start-ups (Lagos Innovates), primarily responsible for cementing Lagos’ position as the leading destination for tech and innovation in Africa. With the recent global economic challenges due to the pandemic, we believe technology will be critical in proffering recovery and adaptive solutions as the world embraces the new normal.
“I am confident that with the Idea Hub initiative providing the institutional support, our young innovators in Lagos would be able to pivot toward this paradigm. We encourage growing entrepreneurs in the digital and tech space to take advantage of this programme to create compelling solutions that would accelerate the Lagos economic, business and lifestyle recovery trajectory”, she added.
Some of the seasoned mentors and industry experts of the programme are Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, Founder,~We-Cyclers, and DG, Lagos State Records and Archives; Olu Akanmu, Executive Director Retail Banking, FCMB; Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho, CEO, Future Software Resources Ltd; Ponmile Osibo, Partner, Platform Capital; Wale Ajiboye, Associate Director, Acumen; Oluwatoyin Oshinowo, Co-founder and VP Product, Field Insights; Dr Olanrewaju Phillips, Enterprise Account Manager, HP, Central Africa, and Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-Founder and COO, Piggyvest.
Other mentors are Olutosin Oni, Principal, Echo VC; Damilola Thompson, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Echo VC; Oluwatoyin Emmanuel-Olubake, Associate Director of Portfolio, Acumen; Dayo Kolewole, Partner Microtraction, and Simeon Ononobi, Co-founder/CEO, Thank U Cash.
Interested applicants must run an early-stage start-up with viable and solution-driven ideas; technology must be the core or the enabler of the enterprise, and the founder must reside in Lagos State.
How to APPLY
Applicants should visit Here to apply before the deadline date, Sunday 16th August 2020.
What you should know Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)
Established in 2016, LSETF‘s vision is to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to reduce unemployment in Lagos State.
LSETF focuses on promoting entrepreneurship by improving access to finance, strengthening the institutional capacity of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), formulating policies and actively intervening to improve the business environment. The Fund also trains and places unemployed Lagos residents in jobs, while driving innovation within the Lagos ecosystem.
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