Zambian “Launch” accelerator programme gets underway

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Zambian tech innovation hub BongoHive has launched its “Launch” accelerator programme, aimed at helping local startups accelerate their growth.

The Launch programme kicked off last week BetaSpace in Lusaka, and was attended by 10 Zambian startups, namely 360 Deals, Fixer, MaFashio, Modzi Arts, ShopZed, Street Culture, Tamanga Ticketing, Tellr, Your Insider Zambia and ZedHair.

“Launch is a three-month accelerator programme that strategically focuses on startups that have launched and are looking to gain traction and scale,” said Mike Murray, head of entrepreneurship at BongoHive.

“We realised there wasn’t a platform in Zambia that could take aspiring entrepreneurs with their business ideas through a process where they could refine their ideas and eventually exit the programme with a launchable business. The purpose of this programme is to do exactly that, by providing the necessary training and equip them with the right tools.”

Jay Chikobe, business incubation lead at BongoHive, used his opening remarks to tell participants failure was a part of building a successful startup.

“Our sessions will look at some examples of founders that have failed. We want to create conversation around them and use these case studies to our advantage to ensure we don’t make the same mistakes and if those mistakes have already been made, find the most effective way to correct them,” he said.

The Launch programme allows startup founders to schedule weekly sessions as needed with the incubation lead, accountant and legal counsel.

“Our workshops will also include customer development and interaction sessions. Startups will be required to talk to at least 10 new customers a week and give feedback on the interactions,” said Chikobe.

“What’s expected of the participating founders during the course of the programme, is to actively participate and collaborate with others, they will be taken through startup case studies through monthly meetups over the accelerator programme.”

BongoHive also recently launched its Discover programme, an intense three-week full-time bootcamp providing entrepreneurs with the basic skills they need to turn a business idea into a fully-fledged startup.

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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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