Safaricom and partners invite tech start-ups to seek support

Safaricom and partners invite tech start-ups to seek support

As promised in November last year, Kenyan operator Safaricom, mobile payment giant M-Pesa Africa and global trading and business investment company Sumitomo Corporation have now announced calls for tech start-ups looking to join the Spark Accelerator programme.

The three-month accelerator programme, which, as its name implies, aims at accelerating early stage start-ups to grow and scale their businesses, will provide a blend of training, mentorship, funding and go-to-market support to spark the growth and scale of ventures that come into the accelerator and set them up for long-term success.

Explaining how this differs from earlier concepts, Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom, says: “With the accelerator, we are offering more than just capital injection, which is what we did previously with Spark Fund [a grant-based system that Safaricom unveiled in 2015]. We have restructured the programme to address the challenges that hinder early start-ups from growing to scale.” 

The Spark Accelerator will benefit fintech and content start-ups in the initial phase. It will take an ecosystem-based approach to identify and accelerate the start-ups by leveraging a team of experts who understand market dynamics and emerging tech and who are keen to enable continuous innovation.

Participating start-ups could also have access to technical support to develop mini-apps embedded into Safaricom’s M-Pesa Super App, empowering them to reach more than four million customers who use the app.

In addition, M-Pesa Africa will offer expertise, market research and insights, and other capacity support for start-ups looking to expand their reach to other countries. The support will continue beyond the three-month programme, enabling start-ups in the programme to tap into more than 60 million customers and five million businesses across M-Pesa’s eight markets.

The accelerator programme will culminate in an investor demo day for the start-ups to pitch for investment from Safaricom and partner venture capital firms.

iHUB, a pioneering force within Kenya's start-up ecosystem and a subsidiary of Africa's leading innovation hub, Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB), will be the implementing partner of the Spark Accelerator. Other supporting partners for the programme include Vodacom and AWS.

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