Leading Somali tech and business startup accelerator, Innovate Ventures, has graduated a second cohort of 10 startups from Somaliland and Somalia. Launched in partnership with VC4A, Telesom and the Work in Progress! Alliance, this year’s accelerator saw over 400 applications received, building on the traction of last year’s programme. The seed investment given doubled from $15,000 last year to $30,000.
First place went to Bilan Baby, a startup that sells baby furniture, accessories and baby clothing as well as maternity products. Bilan Baby received $7,000 in seed investment. Second place went to SAMS (an agritech marketplace for farmers and buyers) and Almijet (a digital printing company). They received $5,000 each. Finally, Brandkii, an online marketing and advertising startup, received $3,000. Further investment was provided to Muraadso (an e-commerce startup and last year’s winners), which received $10,000.
The Innovate Accelerator is a 12-week programme intended to support and fund the next wave of Somali startups. Mentorship and training was provided by domain experts and entrepreneurs. Each team pitches their startup to a panel comprising entrepreneurs, c-level executives and business owners.
Says Warda Dirir, Co-Founder of Innovate Ventures: "The success of this year's accelerator programme is down to years of ground work in the region and lessons learned. We are committed to helping the region produce more technology driven businesses that resolve business challenges in the region and tap into untapped markets’. Given the growth of the programme, more applicants and larger investments are expected next year, giving the burgeoning Somali tech startup scene further support."