Airtel Nigeria launches ‘Catapult-a-Startup’ initiative

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Mobile operator Airtel Nigeria has launched ‘Catapult-a-Startup’, an entrepreneurial initiative aimed at assisting mobile app developers scale their businesses.

Through Catapult-a-Startup, Airtel Nigeria said it is looking to provide app developers with NGN1 million (US$5,500) in funding, as well as mentoring, marketing and the chance to integrate their apps onto the Airtel platform.

Aspiring developers are being asked to apply online, after which the most promising applications will be selected to pitch to a panel of judges.

Airtel is the latest African operator to get involved in supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem on the continent. Millicom in October launched the US$10 million Millicom Foundation, aimed at supporting digital innovators in Africa and Latin America, while the company’s ‘think’ accelerator programme began in Kigali, Rwanda, last month.

Disrupt Africa reported last week leading Kenyan operator Safaricom launched a US$1 million investment fund aimed at supporting mobile ICT startups.

Speaking during the launch of Catapult-a-Startup in Lagos, Airtel Nigeria managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) Segun Ogunsanya said Airtel as an innovative and forward thinking brand had initiated the programme in line with its vision to encourage innovation and empower young Nigerians.

“At Airtel, we are passionate about building a community for young talented Nigerians. We are aware of the abundance of young people who are blessed with the skills to develop relevant apps with most of them not having the opportunity to showcase or develop their skills,” he said.

“Through the Catapult-a-Startup programme, we aim not only to identify talent, but also to encourage local content. The apps and services developed by these start-ups will ride on Airtel’s superior 3.75G network in Nigeria and the large customer base. Airtel will continue to go the extra mile at empowering them to succeed in their respective endeavours.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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