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Spark Accelerator Program Launched to Boost Tech Startup’s in Africa

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Leading Fortune 500 global trading and business company’s – Sumitomo Corporation, launched their Spark Accelerator program together with Safaricom’s M-PESA Africa calling on tech startup’s to help them accelerate early-stage start-up’s to grow and scale their businesses.

The 3 month accelerator program on https://www.safaricom.co.ke/sparkaccelerator  that is now open for applications will culminate in an investor demo day for the startup’s to pitch for investment from Safaricom and partner venture capital firms.

iHUB, a pioneering force within Kenya’s startup ecosystem and a subsidiary of Africa’s leading innovation hub, Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB), will be the implementing partner of the Spark Accelerator.

Other supporting partners for the program include Vodacom and AWS. Applications are now officially open

The program aims to boost Fintech and Content startup’s in the initial phase. It will take an ecosystem-based approach to identify and accelerate the startup’s by leveraging a team of experts who understand market dynamics, emerging tech and have a desire to enable continuous innovation.

The Accelerator program will be offering start-up’s more than just a capital injection but aims to address the challenges that hinder early start-ups from growing to scale. CEO of Safaricom Peter Ndegwa says,

“With the accelerator, we are offering more than just a capital injection which is what we did previously with Spark Fund. We have restructured the program to address the challenges that hinder early start-up’s from growing to scale.”

Accelerator program will be providing startup’s with access to technical support to develop mini-apps embedded into Safaricom’s M-PESA Super App, that will give them access to more than 4 million customers who use the app.

Katsuya Kashiki, GM of Smart Communications Platform Business Division at Sumitomo Corporation, believes that the company’s business experience will contribute significantly towards creating innovative businesses and provide the support that startup’s need for to expand the startup ecosystem. He says,

“Through this program, we will contribute to the development of the African economy, human resource development, and the realization of a more prosperous life for the people.”

In addition, M-PESA Africa will offer expertise, market research and insights, and other capacity support for startup’s looking to expand their reach to other countries. The support will continue beyond the three-month program enabling startup’s in the program to tap into more than 60 million customers and 5 million businesses across M-PESA’s eight markets.

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