SMEs from East, West Africa offered chance to win $70k in seed funding

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The SME Empowerment Challenge has been launched by a number of partners in East and West Africa offering small and medium enterprises the chance to win US$70,000 in seed funding.

The SME Empowerment Innovation Challenge is an initiative of advisory and research institute HiiL, the Ford Foundation and the World Economic Forum (WEF) to empower SMEs in East and West Africa.

The challenge is aiming to find and strengthen new initiatives that can empower startups and SMEs, supporting the best innovations and addressing regulatory hurdles and bureaucratic red tape faced by youth-led startups in the two regions. The winners can win up to $70,000 in seed funding.

“SMEs are very important to the growth of every country. Businesses are usually classified as SMEs based on the number of staff they hire and either turnover or balance sheet total. These kind of businesses tend to be in the majority in most developing countries. They face so many obstacles that prevent them from growing or scaling into multinational companies,” the organisers sad.

“Some of these obstacles include a lack of information, harsh regulations, high levels of taxation etc. The obstacles make it difficult for most SMEs to thrive in African countries. This is the problem that the Innovation Justice Challenge seeks to solve. The challenge is a great opportunity for SMEs to get seed funding to help them launch their products in an already unwelcoming business terrain.”

From 1 to 17 September 2015 innovations will campaign online, with the top three from the online campaign invited to the Innovating Justice Boostcamp in Lagos along with three wildcards.

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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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