Grant funding offered to East African logistics entrepreneurs

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The Logistics Innovation for Trade (LIFT) Challenge Fund, which supports innovators and entrepreneurs in the logistics and transport sector, has announced a second round, looking to provide grants of up to US$1 million to winning proposals.

The LIFT fund accepts applications from innovators globally whose project ideas will be implemented in the East African Community (EAC). The inaugural round saw nine projects awarded funding.

The initiative is that of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), and is managed by Nathan Associates through a fund management team based in Nairobi, with funding support from the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID).

LIFT is seeking innovative approaches to tackling freight and transport costs in East Africa, which reportedly has the highest freight and transport costs in the world. Cost are more than 50 per cent higher than in the United States (US) and Europe per kilometre.

“It is our hope that the entrepreneurs and innovators of the East African Community in partnership with their counterparts internationally will drive forward development through the adoption or introduction of ‘best practice’ technologies in the transport and logistics sector, enabling local businesses to compete favourably in the increasingly global economy,” said TMEA chief executive officer (CEO) Frank Matsaert.

“LIFT is a valuable financial instrument that supports private sector ‘can-do’ to develop and test new ideas that should reduce the cost and time of transport and logistics in the EAC. TMEA is essentially co-investing with the private sector in projects that are seen as being too risky to undertake without external sponsorship or support.”

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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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