Kenyan, Ugandan startups lead way in Ashoka Social Investment Accelerator

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Startups from Kenya and Uganda make up the bulk of those selected for the Ashoka African Social Investment Accelerator, which supports social entrepreneurs in refining their business models and becoming investment-ready.

Non-profit organisation Ashoka has worked in the field of social entrepreneurship for over 35 years, finding, selecting and supporting leading social entrepreneurs and building a network of over 3,000 Ashoka Fellows across 85 countries.

Disrupt Africa reported in April it had invited African social enterprises looking to raise investment for the first time to apply for the six-month Social Investment Accelerator. The first edition of the programme will provide entrepreneurs with tailored advice and the necessary tools to develop and validate their business strategies, and link them with funding sources and support to negotiate successful investments.

Twelve startups from across the continent have now been chosen for the accelerator, with Kenya and Uganda leading the way.

Kenya is represented by four startups, namely agricultural crop-yield optimisation platform UjuziKilimo, farmer-market linking service Farmers Pride, fertiliser producer Safi Organics, and m-health startup Totohealth.

Uganda has three companies in the cohort – agricultural value chain optimiser TruTrade, tech-enabled produce sourcing platform Nampya Farmer’s Market, and coffee value chain development organisation National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises Limited (NUCAFE).

The rest of the cohort is made up of Mauritius-based trading platform Exportunity Global Trade Hub, South African B2B commerce platform Last Mile for BoP, Egyptian food ordering service Mumm, and two Ghanaian startups – solar-powered water kiosk developer Project Maji and education financing platform Maintenance and Sustainability Africa.

The programme kicks off today with a two-day bootcamp in Johannesburg, South Africa, bringing together the 12 selected ventures and 36 top-tier experts from the highest levels of business, finance, and consulting. The startups will complete the first four modules of the Social Investment Toolkit, led by its developer Mark Cheng, a social impact investor and director of Ashoka Europe.

For the next five months, the entrepreneurs will complete four more modules virtually, as well as taking part in dedicated mentoring and advising sessions from a cohort of experts designated to each venture. These tailored support services will prepare the social entrepreneurs to pitch in front of angel and major social impact investors at a high-level closing event in March of next year.

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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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