More Africa NewsKenya: Safaricom partners with M-Pesa Africa and Sumitomo to launch accelerator program for start-ups

November 8, 2023by myles0

Safaricom had already launched an investment fund in 2014 called Spark Venture Fund. As it seeks to evolve from its current status as a telecoms company to a technology company, the company wants to go beyond just injecting capital.

The Kenyan telecommunications company Safaricom announced on Wednesday, November 8, that it had launched a program called “Spark Accelerator”, in partnership with M-Pesa Africa and the investment and trading company Sumitomo Corporation. The said program aims to support early-stage startups by providing them with a mix of mentorship, financing and go-to-market support.

It was at the beginning of July that Safaricom announced its intention to acquire new venture capital companies. The project received shareholder approval at the 15th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on July 28 in Nairobi .

The initiative is part of Safaricom’s ambition to fully transform itself into a “purpose-driven technology company” by 2025. The company is also looking to fuel its growth over the coming years , in a context of accelerated digital transformation marked by the growing emergence of start-ups in Africa.

According to studies cited by Safaricom, Kenyan entrepreneurs face major challenges, with a 30% survival rate for start-ups. The main obstacles faced by these start-ups are the inability to obtain financing for growth; limited market access; lack of knowledge and skills needed to grow a business…

As a reminder, Safaricom had already launched an investment fund in 2014 called Spark Venture Fund. The fund invested $1 million in six mobile technology start-ups: Sendy, Lynk, Ajua, Eneza, iProcure and Farmdrive. In 2020, the telecom company allocated an additional $5 million to the fund to invest up to $500,000 in technology startups that are strategically aligned with its objectives.

“  Anchored in our purpose to transform lives and in line with our ambition to be a purpose-driven technology company, our goal is simple but powerful: to give startups the access they need to succeed. We are taking an ecosystem-based approach to provide a platform for bold and visionary founders to grow and scale their businesses  ,” said Peter Ndegwa (pictured), CEO of Safaricom.

Source: Agence Ecofin

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