Mobile operator Airtel Ghana has shortlisted five startups for its inaugural Catapult Your Business competition, with the young companies now set to compete for cash prizes and legal, management and financial services.
Airtel Ghana launched Catapult Your Business last month, with the competition designed to offer a platform for young women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to pitch a business idea for seed funding and mentorship.
The competition is similar to another the company’s Catapult-a-Startup initiative in Nigeria, with Disrupt Africa reporting last month Airtel Nigeria had announced the first winners of its the competition, with seven startups taking home NGN1 million (US$5,000) in prize money.
In Ghana, 10 startups selected from hundreds of applicants led by young female entrepreneurs pitched to Airtel staff and a panel of judges. These were then narrowed down to five that will move to the final round and have a chance at winning large cash prizes and being taken through a programme equipping them with the tools, knowledge and strategic planning abilities to help their startups become more investor-friendly.
The five startup are African Baby Centre, which uses a multifunctional website and social media platforms as a reference point for advice on fertility, pregnancy and babycare; Trash Cash, a mobile app and USSD platform that monetises separated recyclables from houses and monitors the collection process; fashion e-commerce store OhemaOhene; Afrocentric Bamboo Bikes, which produces bamboo bike frames for international export markets; and Wanjo, which makes juices from indigenous wild crops.
“As individuals advance through the Airtel Catapult Your Business Competition, they are exposed to a rigorous, multi-phase business development and planning process with deliverables due at each round. In addition to funding, winners gain valuable feedback from judges and expand their business network with entrepreneurs and prospective investors,” said Airtel Ghana head of corporate communications and external affairs of Donald Gwira.