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Safaricom Chooses Nine Startups for Its Accelerator Program

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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The Spark Accelerator program, an initiative of Safaricom, M-Pesa Africa, and Sumitomo Corporation, has selected nine early-stage Kenyan startups. The initiative seeks to grow and equip early-stage startups with relevant knowledge. 

Safaricom Spark Accelerator

Safaricom launched the Spark Venture Fund in 2014, to invest and support late-seed, early-growth stage companies. The company ensures they have a presence in Kenya, whilst leveraging its assets to enable the companies to scale. The US$1 million fund made six investments.

Safaricom Spark Accelerator

Nine Kenyan startups have been selected to take part. This includes Chumz, which is leveraging mobile money, gamification, and behavioral psychology to build a community of savers. Also, Nobuk, which is streamlining payment collection and reconciliation for African groups and collectives.

Chapter which empowers businesses to sell more on social platforms. Faidi HR is an all-in-one cloud payroll and HR platform for businesses.  Also, Churpy seeks to automate repetitive and manual tasks in the office of the CFO.

Safaricom Accelerator Startups

The nominated startups were chosen after a thorough application process spanning various categories. The categories include Embedded Finance, Future Fintech, SME Productivity Tools, and Content. 

The Spark Accelerator is dedicated to offering a comprehensive package of training, mentorship, and go-to-market assistance. It takes a holistic approach to providing startups with market access, technological resources, product development support, and access to capital.

Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom, said, “Leveraging technology to drive meaningful innovation is a strong premise. Especially under which the Spark Accelerator program was founded. By supporting and investing in these tech-enabled startups, we aim to drive significant societal change and economic growth. Additionally, we are excited to work with visionary founders who represent the promise of tomorrow and to see the impact they will create in their respective sectors.”

Safaricom Spark Accelerator To Offer Relevant Access To Start-ups 

Studies reveal that entrepreneurs in Kenya face major challenges, with a 30 percent lifetime survival rate for startups. The major hindrance is the inability to secure funding for growth. Also, it limits access to the market and a gap in knowledge and skills required to scale a business.

Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Managing Director, M-PESA Africa, said, “We are keen to see startups grow. Also, we are happy to open our technology to facilitate this growth. Besides, M-PESA is a massive ecosystem with over sixty million customers and three million businesses across Africa. We trust this acceleration program will enable startups to create value within this ecosystem.”

The Safaricom board and shareholders agreed to restructure the Spark Fund in July. As part of the restructuring, the Spark Accelerator program will now offer shortlisted startups access to market, capital, and technology. The startups also have access to product development support, in addition to the previously offered capital injection.

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Abdullahi Kafayat
Abdullahi Kafayat

Abdullahi Kafayat is an enthusiastic writer interested in the tech world. She's a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University and has a BSc in Chemistry. You can reach her at Kafayatabdullahi17@gmail.com.

Articles: 328

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