Did You Know African small business owners can access micro loans worldwide?

Did You Know African small business owners can access micro loans worldwide?

Funding for projects is hard to come by throughout the world. There are so many innovators and only a certain amount of angel investors to go around. Even if your idea is incredible, it can be down to being at the right place at the right time in order receive your initial funding to get your project off the ground. If you fail at this stage, the next step is approaching the bank for a loan, and in some cases this can be successful, but for many, banks will not take the risk on an idea when there is nothing to offer as collateral. This is even more of a problem for small business owners in Africa who have very few assets and banks are not very supportive of. There are possibilities for them to be part of cooperatives, which should help with personal development, but many of these often end up just paying for funerals.

The internet, and crowdfunding has offered these small business owners new ways of getting much needed funding to either build their businesses or develop personally. Most of us will have heard to Kickstarter and similar platforms. Some innovations on these sites receive enormous amounts of money, but sadly, some slip under the radar and don’t come close to their monetary needs. These platforms are not the right place for small business owners who just need a few hundred dollars to either purchase stock or equipment or even books to get through university.

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A loan used for Strawberry seedlings

Zidisha, which is a Swahili word for grow or expand, is a platform which enables small business owners and individuals to sign up and crowd source a micro loan from people all Continue reading “Did You Know African small business owners can access micro loans worldwide?”

Did You Know household chores in Africa create employment?

Did You Know household chores in Africa create employment?

Everyone has that errand, chore or thing to do that he/she cant because you don’t have time, you’re too tired , you don’t have cash on you, or you just can’t be bothered. In Africa, certain chores are so time consuming. Cooking can take an extraordinary amount of time and effort, with tasks, such as pounding fufu, taking hours in a week (And a lot of energy!). (See here for a cool Fufu pounding machine!) Even washing clothes can take you away from a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

A Nigerian app Eramigo, has found an effective solution for this issue and creating employment. It is an on demand service that you can use to keep track of all your errands, to dos and tasks by letting someone else get it done for you. When you have become a member, you will have a list of Eramigos (People that will take on your particular errand) fro which you can select. All those that take on the tasks have been verified and therefore there can be trust from the beginning. The platform basically gives you an unlimited number of in the Yoruba language omo odo (english meaning is house help).

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Once you post an errand on Eramigo you pay online, if you can’t get anyone to accept your errand the amount you paid for the errand would be reimbursed to you. The posted errand is seen by our registered Eramigos and once accepted you get an email directing you to your dashboard (on the website) to view all the Eramigos that have accepted to do your errand. The next step is for you to then confirm any of the Eramigos on the list. Once that is done he/she would immediately start the errand and his/her contact details is available for you to see so you can are able to keep track of progress.

Once the task is completed the Eramigo lets you know so you can confirm that the errand has been completed via your dashboard and you can rate and drop a review on the work done by the Eramigo.

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You can post as many errands as you like, let our Eramigos do it ALL for you, for example
1. Buying food from your favourite restaurant or buka
2. Coming to your house to cook for you
3. Washing your car
4. Going to market to buy food stuffs for you
5. Going to receive a package for you.
6. Come clean up your house for you.

The list is endless it all depends on you!

Note from Inventive Africa

With unemployment in Africa an issue, this tool could really make a difference. Odd jobs are always needed. The lack of efficiency in the transport networks, and even for tasks such as cooking and washing clothes, takes so much time away from people. With other people that need employment taking on such tasks, it is far easier for people to utilise their time better. Either using it in a more productive way, or for much needed leisure time.

We thank Ifeoluwa Popoola (@ifepopson) for supporting us with a blog about Eramigo and how it can create employment and create time. If you want to sign up to the service, please got to http://eramigo.com/core/register and follow them on Twitter – 

Please feel free to contact us if you would like to be a guest blogger. If you have any comments Tweet us at @InventiveAfrica and please also share the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Did You Know you are not alone as an African Innovator?

Did You Know you are not alone as an African Innovator?

In South Africa if a young person has an idea that they want to turn into a business they soon find out that their biggest challenge is to locate and utilise all the resources they require to properly start-up. There are many sources of start-up funding available to young people in South Africa, but youth have to first find out which institution funds their sort of idea and deals with their type of background. The same applies to other types of support required by youth owned start-ups across the country. Even after funding has been sourced a number of youth owned businesses fail in their early stages because of lack of skilled staff, while on the other hand the country has an alarming youth unemployment rate. Some of the unemployed youth are graduates with skills that can be a great relief to the youth start-ups.

Much of the support required by youth owned businesses is also found among many successful youth owned and non youth owned businesses. There is just not enough connection for the correct questions to make their way from a young startup to a successful business and then for answers to go back to the vulnerable start-ups in time. This causes many youth start-ups to “drive into the same potholes others once drove into”. There is just not enough collaboration and because of this and too many opportunities of business growth for all are missed. The greatest opportunities for success are mostly located in certain areas of society. For one to get access to all of these opportunities a great amount of time and money may at times be spent. This excludes those who lack the funds but have great innovative idea, which can add value to our economy.

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The South African Start-up ecosystem is fragmented and lacks inclusivity. At Startup Mzansi Foundation we are entrepreneurs who have experienced these challenges and in 2016 we set out to create solutions to overcome them. We have created the Startup App: . It is everything one will need to start and grow a business. The key features of the app are:

Startup Bank

In the Startup bank one can have access to Angel investors, Crowd funding, Grants, Loans and Venture capitalists. The goal is to make  available all sources of funding and thereafter the requirements easily accessible to young businesses.

Startup Launch

The Startup Launch pad process is essentially to help someone with a business idea with a step by step guide to starting up. Startup Mzansi Communities is set up to support connectivity through collaborative networks in the grass roots levels in our society.

Startup Map

The Startup Map, maps out all the businesses within the communities of the country. It maps out the support structures required by young people in their start-up and growth path. We seek to make it easy for youth to start and grow their businesses.

Startup Jobs

Startup Jobs is set up to ensure that youth Start-ups have access to talent and that those who seek work can have another place to find jobs. This is meant to reduce business failure due to lack of knowledge or skilled staff. It is also a means of reducing youth unemployment in the country.

Startup Magazine

Finally, the Startup Magazine (Startup Magazine) is created to promote youth startup success story and also to provide guidance and awareness to new start-ups about the challenges and solutions relevant to them.

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In 2017, we will run campaign: please join with us.

Thank you to Mtunzi Mavuma (@NguMthunzi) for being a guest blogger on Inventive Africa and writing about The Startup Mzansi Foundation in South Africa. There are so many great ideas in South Africa and the rest of the continent. There are organisations out there that are looking for the next big idea to support, maybe it could be yours! If you want to be featured or to be a guest blogger, contact us! If you have any comments Tweet us at @InventiveAfrica and please also share the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Did You Know African Innovation is renowned worldwide?

Did You Know African Innovation is renowned worldwide?

Africa is no longer shunned by innovators worldwide. When tech and innovation competitions take place there is often at least one African entry.The same goes for Seedstars World, which is a Switzerland based startup competition, that takes place in emerging markets. They run local competitions worldwide and the winners get an opportunity to compete in the Seedstars Summit. The Africa regional summit takes place in Rwanda this year from 7th-9th December, and 18 African countries will be represented. One of those chosen, Jamii, a micro health insurance in Tanzania, we have written about previously.  We have chosen our pick of the rest to feature today.

Akiba

Access to money for essentials is often an issue across the world. Loaning money to friends in need is risky. Often it is not repaid, trust is lost and friendships fall apart. Akiba has an innovative solution that enables people to have access to funds and be assured that if you loan money, you will get it back. This platform enables friends to join collectives, or  Akibas, enabling for each friend to bid for money at each stage. The one who bids the most, gets the lump sum from that round. Those that wait until the end, are rewarded for their patience. Many of us that have spent long periods of time in Africa, have been disappointedly  let down by friends who failed to repay a loan. This method really enables us to keep our friendships and be more financially sensible!

Bua.Space

Customer service can be a serious issue in Africa. We have all probably experienced the customer service assistant that is not interested in us at all. Sitting, playing with their phone and acts as if they are doing us a favour when we have a question. Bua.Space offers a platform that enables people to rate the customer service of firms in Botswana. A registered user can offer their thoughts, good or bad on any supplier, apart from the government as they do not want to become a political platform, and the supplier has the right to reply, if they are registered also. People often just put up with bad service in many parts of Africa, because they are used to it, and they don’t expect it to change. This platform offer a starting point to force companies into training their staff in customer service.

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Easy to fill in Bua.Space review form

Dalil

It is hard to imagine the plight of visually impaired people, but it must be very frustrating, especially when in a new place. Even with a guide dog or cane and hundreds of hours of practice there can still be dangers and frustrations that can not be planned for, such a silent electric cars or cyclists or a new construction.  Dalli is a very cool innovation that takes some of this pressure away. With their special camera glasses, linked to a smart phone, they are able to describe the surroundings to the user in the form of vocal instructions. It does this with really innovative visual recognition software. For example, it will tell you that there is a tree 6 metres ahead, or tell you what is on the table in front of you. This could revolutionise the way the blind communicate with their surroundings worldwide.

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Seeing eye app for the blind

Dr CADx

Algorithms are slowly and sometimes undetectably working their way into our day to day lives. This is also case in the world of health diagnostics. In many places through Africa, diagnostics are unreliable and very costly. Dr CADx, from Zimbabwe, has a solution that provides both more cost efficiency and better accuracy. Their computer aided diagnostics system uses deep neural networks to develop algorithms that are able to read and analyse medical images with the accuracy of the human radiologists, or better and a lower cost, saving the lives of many, who would previously not had access to it.

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Dr CADx provided diagnostics for all these examples

Seedstars World is doing a wonderful job promoting worldwide innovations, and is showing the world that Africa has the potential to create special innovations that the world can utilise. There are many other great innovations features at this years event. You can see the list here. If you have an African innovation you want to be featured contact us! If you have any comments Tweet us at @InventiveAfrica and please also share the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Did You Know Apps are assisting Zimbabwe’s Farmers?

Did You Know Apps are assisting Zimbabwe’s Farmers?

Zimbabwe’s economy has at times been the talk of the world. Pictures of people wheeling their money around in wheelbarrows were spread across the internet as hyper inflation took hold. The Reserve Bank even printed a Z$21 trillion bill to pay off debts owed to the International Monetary Fund. Much of the economic difficulties have been caused by the failing agricultural sector. In 2001, President Robert Mugabe introduced laws in order to more equally distribute land between the subsistence farmers of African origin and those of European ancestry, who held most of the best agricultural land. The alleged lack of farming skills of those that were moved onto the prime farm land meant that many farms failed. That and sanctions placed on Zimbabwe by the IMF and ADB, meant that the Zimbabwean economy spiralled out of control.

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Currently agricultural output is still struggling and the current drought is putting the agricultural sector under further strain. Despite this, there is tech that is trying to address the agricultural problem in Zimbabwe. One of the major issues across the continent is that getting produce to market is logistically difficult. Often farmers must sell at a low price to intermediaries who take on the burden of taking the produce to the market. Farmers are Continue reading “Did You Know Apps are assisting Zimbabwe’s Farmers?”

Did You Know Apps Africa winners will change Africa!

Did You Know Apps Africa winners will change Africa!

In a previous post we wrote about our favourite AppsAfrica nominees. On the 15th of November, the award ceremony took place in Cape Town and 10 awards were handed out. Domestly (Disruptive innovation) , Flutterwave (Enterprise Solution), and Shule Direct (Women in Tech) were all amongst the winners, but not all of our favourites picked up trophies. Nevertheless, the winners were deserved and also including some incredible innovations that are set to be a part of the change in Africa.

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Apps Africa winners in Cape Town

Social Impact Award
Ask without Shame (Uganda)

Talking about sex as a young person in Africa is a taboo in many places. So, getting information regarding sexual health and disease can be difficult. It is very difficult to go Continue reading “Did You Know Apps Africa winners will change Africa!”

Did You Know that an African borehole doesn’t have to be expensive?

Did You Know that an African borehole doesn’t have to be expensive?

Water water everywhere, and not any drop to drink. These were the words of an ancient mariner at sea. Even today, the importance of clean water cannot be underscored enough. Political and economic self-determination in African states was supposed to be accompanied by the development of robust infrastructure for the delivery of essential services to citizens. Sadly, and perhaps unsurprisingly given the mayhem that has characterised the role of politics in Africa, many states remain underdeveloped in such service delivery infrastructures. Only 61% of the Sub-Saharan African population have access to “improved” water supply sources. And ‘improved’ does not necessarily mean “treated’ or ‘potable’ as far as the statistics are concerned. Basic dug-out wells still fall into the category of improved water sources by Sub Saharan African measures. In this region, at least 2200 children die each day from diarrhoeal diseases. Even more disappointing is the fact that some states have virtually failed to improve, let alone maintain the water treatment and reticulation infrastructure that was built in pre-independence years by colonial governments. Post-independence governments have presided over dilapidation and obsolescence of unprecedented levels.

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A well being dug

Zimbabwe’s water infrastructure is becoming dilapidated at an alarming rate.  The past few years have witnessed a wave of health and educational institution closures due to total unavailability of both potable and sanitary water. Schools, universities, and more disappointingly, major state hospitals and clinics have been forced to cease operations. This has had disastrous effects on health care access and health outcomes, and represents a real regression in social and economic development.

Industrial operations that are predominantly reliant on access to water, such as mining, have been negatively affected by the erratic water supply. It is a common sight in the metropolitan districts to see commercial bulk water tankers headed for domestic and industrial deliveries.

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FBL – Advert for bulk water delivery

Inadequacy of water in Africa carries a negative bearing of the social perspective of gender-based underdevelopment. Studies have been conducted to quantify the opportunity cost of time spent by young girls and women in search of household water. Whatever the explanations for such service delivery failures, they can never seem to justify the critical state of water affairs. Boreholes could well be the answer. However, the cost of installing a fully automated residential borehole is prohibitive, extending to between US$3,000 and US$5,000, in a country where per capita income is possibly below US$1,000, and where the unemployment rates have soared staggeringly. (For other water solutions in Africa see here)

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Borehole drilling by PrimeDrill in Zimbabwe

Innovative companies with strong persuasions to formulate solutions and build businesses which change the way Africans live are coming up with simple, ingenious, inventive and resourceful methods of increasing access to potable water. A local start-up, PrimeDrill Water Services, wants to sink fully automated boreholes in urban communities. Their plumbing will terminate directly into the pre-existing water main delivery pipes within a residence, and usage will be regulated by means of a metered system. This allows the water authority to charge the household for water, and apportion a repayment to the PrimeDrill for the use of its infrastructure. It removes the expensive need for every household to sink a borehole. More interestingly, the boreholes are fully solar capable. The use of renewable energy is expected to enable the company to access infrastructure expansion finance from the world’s leading energy banks. Because by law, all water is vested in the state, the project is expected to work under a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) system which allows the state to eventually own the new water extraction and distribution infrastructure.

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A sketch of PrimeDrill engineering and plumbing schematic

Peri urban and rural solutions are needed to complement the work of such start-ups and NGOs sinking manual boreholes. An equal, if not greater, focus is needed on providing quality sanitation and water to the most disadvantaged communities.

PrimeDrill Water Services can be contacted on +263774605615 afriprime@gmail.com

We thank Donald T Madzika (@madzikadt) for supporting us with a blog about his view on the water situation and possible affordable borehole in Africa. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to be a guest blogger. If you have any comments Tweet us at @InventiveAfrica and please also share the blog on Twitter and Facebook.