12 Sources of Startup Capital for African Entrepreneurs.

In African countries, the economic patterns are usually the same often having common ailments such as high unemployment levels especially among the youth. Africa need’s more philanthropic corporate organizations investing in youth entrepreneurship; as it has shown to be the key to sustained economic growth.

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If you have a business idea that you are passionate about and all you require is capital to get started or to grow your venture, then you will need to know more about efficient ways to do that. Here we list down 12 organizations that you should consider communicating with in your search for funding:

1. Youth Development Fund Zambia: The overall objective of the Youth Development Fund in Zambia is to lend finance to viable projects that belong to young Zambian entrepreneurs, the Ministry of Youth and Sport has since 2010 been implementing the Youth development fund and applicants can apply for business loans and social grants starting from K2,500 up to K50,000 with flexible repayment terms of up to 36 months.

2. The Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC): is a government body in Zambia which was established by an Act of Parliament whose mandate is to promote broad based and equitable economic empowerment of citizens that are or have been marginalized or disadvantaged and whose access to economic resources and development capacity has been constrained due to various factors such as race, sex, educational background, status and disability.

3. The Awesome Foundation Lusaka [No Longer Funding]: This organization supports any/all types of awesome ideas. They support ideas that are both on paper and those that have launched.  Awesome projects include initiatives in a wide range of areas including arts, technology, community development, and more. Many awesome projects are novel or experimental, and evoke surprise and delight.  The foundation gives away a 600 USD grant every month. The deadline is the last Monday of every month.  To qualify for the 600 USD you need to answer 3 questions :

1.Tell us about your awesome project?
2.How will you use the money?
3.Tell us a little about yourself ?

4. Kukula Capital : is a leading venture finance and private equity firm in Zambia. The company operates under two main business areas: Fund Management and Advisory. The name Kukula is associated with growth in the local dialects of Zambia. Kukula Capital invest in Zambian growth companies with capital and expertise. It has invested in ventures such as : Jabulani Sawmills Ltd,  its core business is Saw-milling of timber and production of value-added wood products such as wood boards and furniture. The expansion was financed with a royalty loan of USD 270,000.The investments has been used to establish a state of the art wood board factory which has created 10 new jobs.The company supports a replanting program to ensure sustainable forestry and operates an orphanage with 18 children.

5. VC4Africa : VC4Africa is the largest online community of entrepreneurs and investors dedicated to building game changing companies on the African continent. Entrepreneurs have access to free online tools, mentor ship opportunities and private deal rooms. The community has members in 159 countries and meetups have been hosted in more than 50 cities around the world. If you’re a start-up looking for Funding for your venture or An Investor looking to Invest in the worlds fastest growing continent this is the platform for you.

6. African Women Development Fund : The AWDF is the first pan-African women’s grant maker in Africa. Since the start of its operations in 2001, AWDF has provided $17 million in grants to 800 women’s organizations in 42 African countries. The AWDF only awards grants to organisations, not individuals. It awards grants ranging from $8,000 up to $50,000.

7. The Tony Elumelo Foundation For Entrepreneurship program : The recently launched $100 million Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP) is an annual program of training, funding and mentoring, designed to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs. Founded by Mr. Tony Elumelu, the successful Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist, the fund seeks to identify and support 1,000 startup entrepreneurs from across the continent each year over the next decade. The fund expects that the 10,000 start-ups and young businesses selected from across Africa will ultimately create one million new jobs and add $10 billion in annual revenues to Africa’s economy.

8. Seedstars Africa : is a member of Seedstars Group, a Swiss-based venture builder that is active and invests in 35+ countries around the world especially in emerging markets in Asia, South America, The Middle East and Africa. Seedstars recently invested $330,000 in SimplePay, a young Nigerian third-party payment processing company that has created a solution which will likely disrupt payment services in Nigeria and Africa.

9. 88mph  (No longer investing): is a Seed Fund and Accelerator that started in 2011 and currently operates out of hubs in Nairobi (Kenya), Cape Town (South Africa), and Lagos (Nigeria).88mph funds only tech companies, with a particular emphasis on web and mobile products and services. It currently has more than $1.5 million in funds for investment in African tech start-ups.Its main focus is to attract the best entrepreneurs, invest seed cash, and bring them to a point where their businesses can grow independently, or be adequately evaluated by angels and Venture Capital firms.

10. Startupper of the year Challenge by Total: The Start-upper of the Year by Total Challenge is a local contest that aims to identify, reward, and provide support for the best business creation and business development projects in Africa. Its purpose is to provide support for projects designed to promote social and economic development of 34 countries on the continent.

11. Nyamuka Zambia Business Plan Competition: Nyamuka Zambia is a business plan competition that is transforming Zambia’s entrepreneurial landscape by inspiring ambitious businessmen and women to raise their game and take their ideas to the next level –creating employment and driving the economy forward in the process. It is also tasked with finding a new generation of business heroes and helping them put into place a game plan to grow their enterprises and tap into new markets that the Zambian economy needs. The competition encourages women and young adults with diverse interest to apply. The first round of the competition is focused on Lusaka and the Copperbelt. However, subsequent rounds may expand to other areas with entrepreneurial potential.

12. Fledge: The American based business accelerator called Fledge is yet again set to help impactful entrepreneurs take their ideas and prototype-stage companies into reality, via an intense, 10-week program of guidance, education, and mentorship, plus a large and growing network of support from past fledglings and hundreds of mentors. Their goal is to help foster a wave of companies that make not just a measurable impact in the world, but a noticeable improvement in the lives of everyone on the planet. To make this possible, Fledge is funding selected start-ups $20,000 each through the launch of its 7th round of start-up funding called the Fledge7 programme. Under this programme, a total of 15 start-ups will be short-listed after careful evaluation of their applications. The selected start-ups represented by their founders will be funded, the Fledge team is encouraging African start-ups to participate and submit their applications requesting for funding because they are confident Africa has got so much potential for business and entrepreneurial growth due to its fast growing high growth consumer markets. Fledge will provide each selected start-up (called a fledgling) with $20,000 investment upon completion of the training and mentor-ship 10 week course.

It may not be true that a person only needs connections in order to be a successful entrepreneur. Nigerian entrepreneur Chukwuwezam Obanor says “it’s all about good strategy and improvising with what you have, the best tool is creativity. If you are a creative person, then you are going to figure it out.” we are hopeful that African youths will change their mind set and take up entrepreneurship as a career.

Do you know any other places entrepreneurs can get financing for there ventures from? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

This article was published by Mwape Chisaka on July 27, 2015 at 17:00 and was edited on January 27, 2016 by Andrew Zaraki Nguvu at 11:00

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Author: Mwape Chisaka

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