Safaricom and partners to back local startups

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa, Sumitomo Corporation Africa Managing Director Tadao Saidare and M-Pesa Felix Kamenga hold a QR Code during The launch of Spark Accelerator. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Safaricom, M-PESA Africa, and Sumitomo Corporation - a leading Fortune 500 global trading and business investment company - have launched an accelerator programme for fintech and content startups.

The accelerator programme which aims at accelerating early-stage startups to grow and scale their businesses- has also announced calls for tech startups looking to join the program. The call for applications will run from January 12 to 16 February 16 

The three-month accelerator program will provide a blend of training, mentorship, funding, and go-to-market support to spark the growth and scale of ventures that come into the accelerator and set them up for long-term success.

Speaking during the launch, Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom’s Chief Executive said that the Spark Accelerator program is in line with their ambition to be a purpose-led technology company.

“With the accelerator, we are offering more than just capital injection which is what we did previously with Spark Fund. We have restructured the program to address the challenges that hinder early startups from growing to scale,”

The Spark Accelerator will benefit Fintech and Content startups in the initial phase. It will take an ecosystem-based approach to identify and accelerate the startups by leveraging a team of experts who understand market dynamics, and emerging tech and who are keen to enable continuous innovation.

“Sumitomo Corporation’s wide range of business experience will contribute to creating innovative businesses and support the expansion of the startup ecosystem. Through this programme, we will contribute to the development of the African economy, human resource development, and the realisation of a more prosperous life for the people,” said Katsuya Kashiki, General Manager, Smart Communications Platform Business Division.

Sitoyo Lopokoiyit,M-PESA Africa MD said that M-PESA provides a unique opportunity for startups in Africa looking to grow and scale rapidly, by virtue that M-PESA connects more than 60 million customers.

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