Meet the 7 Most Promising Early-Stage Tech Startups Selected for Seedstars Addis Ababa

Updated on 21 August 2017

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Today's Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (21 August)


Seedstars World, the global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes has brought its pre-selection rounds to an end and selected seven promising tech startups to pitch at the Seedstars Addis Ababa pitching event on August 21.

The top startups to advance to the final event are:

  • LangBot: A gamified and AI powered language teaching chatbot
  • Mak-Addis Tutors: A platform for individualized teaching services for each student based on need
  • Meda Messenger: An app that will let you chat and transfer money from a single chat screen
  • SemayDocsSemayDocs is a platform that enables business to digitize and effectively manage documents through automating paper based processes
  • smsCrushSmscruh uses sms notifications to deliver news and provide services to its users
  • SRE: Siree is a device that brings the power of online education to the offline world
  • ZayRideZayRide is a smartphone app that provides on-demand taxi, ambulance and delivery services

The startups will pitch in front of a jury that consists of Marc Lepage, Africa Knowledge and Innovation advisor at UNDP Ethiopia, Eleni Gabre-madhin, CEO at Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, Shem Asefaw, entrepreneur and angel investor at ShemTECH Ventures, Eyob Tolina, director at Schulze Global, and Fanny Dauchez, associate for Africa at Seedstars World.

Fairlady Announces Winners Of Its Woman of the Future Awards

A safe ride for kids and a youth consulting service have earned their owners winning places in the 2017 Fairlady Women of the Future competition.

Tiffini Wissing Hein, owner of Old School Cool, won the Fairlady Woman of the Future 2017 title. Old School Cool provides safe and reliable transport with its flagship service Cool Cabs for children of swamped, over-scheduled parents. The company’s main focus is the safety of the children they transport.

The vehicles are fully kitted-out with a huge number of safety features and a team of supervisors monitor them 24/7 via on-board cameras. Old School Cool employs and empowers 40 women and Hein believes her company is a testament to girl power. Her dedication and perseverance – as well as her ability to spot the gap created by unreliable public transport – has been the secret to her success. In true entrepreneurial spirit, she plans to plough her prize money of R50,000 straight back into the business.

The Fairlady Rising Star 2017 Award winner is Anele Mkuzo-Magape, founder of the African Entrepreneurship Initiative, a consulting service that allows the youth of our country to access financial literacy and entrepreneurship education.

Through several customised training programmes, tailored personal development, business coaching and mentorships, struggling entrepreneurs are able to get the support they need to succeed. Anele believes that entrepreneurs are ‘born and made’ and that gaining knowledge from your peers is vital to the entrepreneurial journey. She leads by example, and will use her prize money of R20,000 for a research project focusing on some of the entrepreneurs as case studies. For Anele, winning the award has been an honour and she feels it shows young entrepreneurs that there are initiatives geared to supporting them.

“Entrepreneurship is crucial to jump-starting South Africa’s flagging economy,” says Fairlady editor Suzy Brokensha.

“We need smart, resourceful South Africans with big, brilliant ideas more than ever. The fact that South African women have the intelligence and resourcefulness that successful business launches require is brought home to me every year. I am always amazed by both the number and the calibre of entrants to our Women of the Future Awards. With women like this in our country, I know we can succeed.” (via Bizcommunity)

Off-grid Solar To Transform Business In Nigeria

The people behind one of the fastest growing off-grid solar companies in Africa have said that the mobile solar revolution will transform Nigeria’s small-business economy.

Access to power is a major constraint for Nigeria’s SMEsLumos Nigeria CEO Yuri Tsitrinbaum believes the availability of solar solutions will play an essential role in efforts to bridge the nation’s electricity supply gap. He says that businesses without access to the grid find alternative electricity sources expensive, unreliable and dirty – many are now discovering that the clean energy wave sweeping across Africa can transform their fortunes.

A recent survey conducted by NOIPolls revealed that 61% of SMEs in Nigeria spend between ₦500 – ₦1000 per day on fuel, and an ODI survey has indicated that as many as 85% of micro and small businesses rely on generators for supply of electricity. With the Mobile Electricity service, costs are as low as ₦150 per day, or just ₦4,500 per month.

Lumos’ Mobile Electricity service, in partnership with MTN, is an alternative to generators. Available at MTN stores nationwide, the Y’ello Box is providing a solution to millions of Nigerians who don’t have access to reliable electricity.

Today, Lumos is already providing clean and affordable solar power to more than 200,000 people, many of whom are business owners and households. By the end of the year, Lumos aims to provide 1 million Nigerians with access to reliable, clean and affordable electricity.

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