Innovate Ventures announces 2017 cohort of Somali startups

Innovate Ventures has announced the ten early stage startups for this year’s Innovate Accelerator in Hargeisa, Somaliland. Innovate Ventures is the leading Somali start-up accelerator and technology fund, working with VC4Africa and Oxfam under the Work In Progress! Alliance to support and invest in the next wave of tech companies in Somaliland and Somalia and grow the nascent start-up ecosystem in the country.

The Innovate Accelerator programme was well received this year and exceeded expectations as it received over 400 applications from Somali entrepreneurs to join the programme. According to Warda Dirir, co-founder of Innovate Ventures, “this is a reflection of the interest and emerging tech scene in Somaliland and Somalia. We have had several impressive startups from last year who have grown, we hope to see some great Somali businesses coming from this year’s programme as well”.

The startups were selected based on the quality of their application, how much traction they have had, the quality of the team, and the viability of the product. Twenty applicants were selected for a 1-week pre-accelerator bootcamp to give them a programme taster of the following 12 weeks. From this group, 10 startups made it into the programme. These are:

        • Green Engineering
          Green Engineering – A professional electrical engineering firm and a premier energy solutions and electrical services provider.
        • Cawaale Modern Décor
          Cawaale Modern Décor – A design startup that develops concepts that are authentic and captivating for governments, corporates, wedding events, catering and preferred venues.
        • Eagle Tech
          Eagle Tech – A B2B startup that design and develop IT systems and offer organizations and companies outsourcing.
        • Almisjet Print & Design
          Almisjet Print & Design – AlmisJet Print and Design has been built upon a solid foundation of extensive printing knowledge, superior service to our clients and exceptional quality printing.
        • Himac Media Production
          Himac Media Production – A media startup that provide specialist services in photography and video.
        • BrandKii
          BrandKii – A digital marketing and marketing startup offering companies online advertising and marketing services.
        • Caawiye Accounting & IT Solutions
          Caawiye Accounting & IT Solutions – Providing a comprehensive computerized accounting services and a full range of IT support services.
        • Bilan Baby & Women’s Fashion
          Bilan Baby & Women’s Fashion – An e-commerce startup that provides modern women and babies line of clothing, toys and accessories.
        • Cirro Tech
          Cirro Tech – An IT services provider, selling publishing products, computer devices and helping companies to get repairing, networking and other services.
        • Guleid Construction and Transport
          Guleid Construction and Transport – Provides full range of digital construction and transportation related services.

      The Innovate Accelerator programme spans 12-weeks and the selected entrepreneurs will receive training and mentoring from domain experts and experienced entrepreneurs. The top 3 start-ups from the programme will receive up to $15,000 in investment from Innovate Ventures Fund.

      Alina Vinogradova, Head of Programs and Partnerships at VC4Africa, adds: “We are exited to see the second year of this programme come together. The work of Innovate Ventures is much needed to jump-start local tech start-up scene and to put Somaliland on the map as a destination for angel investment. Relatively small seed rounds go a long way here – we hope for Somali diaspora to step in and close the funding gap for entrepreneurial youths.”

      About Innovate Ventures

      Innovate Ventures is the leading start-up accelerator and technology fund in Somaliland and Somalia. Its goal is to propel and accelerate the next wave of Somali entrepreneurs and grow the nascent startup ecosystem in the country. Innovate Ventures have run coding camps, incubators and accelerators in the Somali region since 2012.

      About Work In Progress! Alliance

      The Work in Progress! Alliance is focused on unlocking the economic potential of young women and men in Egypt, Nigeria and Somalia. The project aims to enable them to generate sustainable and living incomes – by finding regular employment or starting enterprises. Alliance partners include Oxfam, VC4Africa and Butterfly Works.

      About VC4Africa

      VC4Africa is maintaining, an online platform for startup funding and dedicated to building game changing companies on the African continent. VC4Africa offers its online infrastructure, network and expertise for the implementation of programs that seek to contribute to Africa’s startup movement.