MEST Africa, in partnership with Make-IT in Africa, is pleased to announce the first cohort of the Tech By Her accelerator program. The initiative, which was launched earlier this year, called for female tech founders in Ghana, Nigeria, and Mali to apply for one of the ten (10) slots available for a 3-month intensive accelerator program for technology-based start-ups.
Over 500 founders applied over the two month application period. The top candidates went through a two-stage shortlisting process which included an interview with a panel of experts and leading entrepreneurs in the field. In evaluating the selected candidates, panelists considered the profile of the founders, their businesses as early-stage tech startups that have achieved commercialization and monetization phase with a demonstrated potential to scale, and the innovative use of a business model that incorporates social impact.
After weeks of deliberations and reviews, ten (10) female founders from Ghana, Nigeria and Mali have been selected to form the 2020 cohort. These founders have proven themselves to be leaders in their field and pioneers for female-led technological advancement in Africa.
The 2020 cohort of the Tech By Her Accelerator are:
Elohor Thomas, Tech Entrepreneur with over 10 years of work experience in IT, sales and recruitment. She is the CEO and founder of CodeLn, a company that helps recruiters find their ideal programmer and connects programmers to their dream jobs. It is their vision to become the global go-to marketplace for finding skilled tech talent in Africa.
Yasmin Bitugu, founder of Africa Global Radio, an online radio station based in Ghana that produces, promotes and uncovers compelling content on the diverse narratives in Africa & the African Diaspora for the ‘Africa conscious’ mind. They produce live–radio programming, podcasts, an online magazine and video content and also sell content.
Nasreen Ali Mohamed, Founder of Afrikapu. Afrikapu is a social enterprise that sells African Handmade products made by marginalized women and youth in Africa – to the rest of the world in a structured, profitable and sustainable way. Their model combines a digital platform for selling the products to global markets and front-line field officers who educate and train women and youth micro-entrepreneurs on how to develop and position their brands to meet international standards.
Anne Wambui Kamau, founder of CoverApp. Anne is an insurance professional with a mission to make insurance accessible to those who need it most. She has over 15 years’ experience designing, prototyping and managing distribution of inclusive insurance solutions in Kenya and other Sub-Saharan Countries. Her company, Coverapp, provides insurTech solutions that enable users to purchase insurance and emergency services on the go via the mobile phone, anticipating life’s emergencies and delivering services that lessen the inconvenience.
Vivian Awino Opoondoh, CEO of Farmula, a demand-driven Agritech startup that is on a mission to stabilize commodity prices globally by using agricultural data. Farmula makes access to market seamless for farmers in rural Kenya with a focus on price and quality transparency. Through their Price Prediction Model, they provide farmers with insights on when to plant to get the most profit. Their quality assurance app also enables buyers to check the quality of produce remotely. Finally, once buyers are satisfied with product quality, they are able to order via a USSD platform which acts as a marketplace for connecting farmers and buyers. Vivian’s background is in Aerospace Engineering and Software Development.
Itumeleng Moagi, founder of Nvoicia. Nvoicia provides collateral-free working capital to businesses that experience payment delays from their credit customers so that small businesses no longer have to wait weeks/months to be paid by their customers. They also provide access to early payment so that they can efficiently run their businesses.
Oluwatomisin Ifeoluwa Adewumi-John is the COO/Co-founder at One Kiosk Africa, with over four years of experience in the private sector and social entrepreneurship where she has actively engaged in human capacity development, youth development, gender equality and entrepreneurship development. One Kiosk Africa connects local stores to online customers leveraging Geo-location and machine learning to achieve a 59 minutes delivery cycle! There exists a gap between the regular retail stores and online users who love to get their goods from the comfort of their homes while placing orders from their mobile phones. She intends to bridge this gap by mapping each store and making them available to the online user.
Cynthia Edem Aveh, founder of TrusteeFarm, a farm-to-fork food traceability ecosystem built on a blockchain. TrusteeFarm details all production processes involved in farming produce until it reaches the consumer’s fork by providing cost-effective software and identification tools to make food supply information transparent. They go a step further to provide a marketplace for trading traceable and verifiable farm produce. All transactions via the Trusteefarm platform provide accurate and reliable data to be leveraged by financial institutions and credit card companies to provide financial packages for farmers and the Agro-industry.
Nkemdirim Chinelo Arukwe is a full-stack software engineer and entrepreneur with 6 years’ experience in systems development and networked community development. She is also the founder and CEO of PlayJoor, a social gaming network that enables users to earn money from competing in real-time classic educational games such as Whot, Chess, and Draughts. PlayJoor straddles 3 industries: mobile gaming, ESports and Edutech.
Anne Chege, founder of MamaPrime, a flexible, automated financial planning platform where pregnant mothers and their friends/family can make flexible piecemeal payments that go towards meeting the cost of their delivery, and, optionally, prenatal and postnatal care. Anne holds a degree in Mass Communication and an MSc in Development Communication. In July last year, she won 3rd place in the global DFS F3 competition for female-run Fintechs.
As part of the accelerator program, the ten (10) founders will receive mentorship from leading female business and tech gurus in Africa including Nkedilim Uwaje Begho CEO of Futuresoft, Digital Transformation & Digital Marketing Expert; Toyin Dania Ambassador, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO); Tosin Faniro-Dada, CPA. Head, Startups (Lagos Innovates) at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund; Maureen Murunga Lead Consultant – Textured Brands, and Maame Efua Essel Head of SME/SOHO, Vodafone Ghana.
They’ll also attend two boot camps in Accra, all expenses paid, provided government regulations and international guidelines around travel and gatherings during COVID-19 allow. The camp, which will be laced with several industry events has been designed to sharpen their skills as entrepreneurs, deep dive into their business model, work through their pain points, connect and interact with other entrepreneurs, expand their networks, and leverage the knowledge of mentors in improving their overall business to compete globally.
Tech By Her was created to support burgeoning female-led tech ventures in becoming globally competitive and sustainable brands. The purpose of the program is to develop a strong Africa-wide female entrepreneurship community by mentoring female founders and building an alumni network of successful Tech By Her Accelerator participants who become ambassadors for other upcoming founders. It also seeks to fuel growth among female-led businesses by recognizing and maximizing the unique strengths of the female entrepreneur and equipping them with the needed knowledge, tools, and resources to scale and sustain their businesses in a competitive environment.
It is powered by MEST with support from the Tech Entrepreneurship Initiative, ‘Make-IT in Africa’, (implemented by Deutsche für Gesellschaft Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
MEST is an Africa-wide technology entrepreneur training program, internal seed fund, and network of hubs offering incubation for technology startups in Africa. Founded in Ghana in 2008, MEST provides critical skills training, funding, and support in software development, business, and communications to Africa’s tech entrepreneurs. Hubs are located in Accra, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; Cape Town, South Africa; and Nairobi, Kenya. MEST is funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of Meltwater, a global leader in media intelligence and Outside Insight.