Based in Morocco but with regional and international ambitions, Jumpstart Africa is an initiative currently raising money in an effort to help connect and finance Africa’s brightest entrepreneurs and innovators with the rest of the world.
By setting up a crowdfunding platform, Jumpstart Africa aptly wants to take advantage of “the crowd” to connect investors and other contributors with tech, environmental and creative projects across the African continent. Furthermore, the initiative will help find and educate entrepreneurs.
We’ve seen a bunch of crowdfunding platforms popping up across the continent over the last few years. Some with a certain degree of success, others such as Gogo Afrika though has been awfully quite since it also launched a crowdfunding campaign to support its own crowdfunding site back in July.
Jumpstart Africa will provide entrepreneurs with how-to guides and counseling to help them craft their pitch, develop a great video, decide on perks and reach out to potential funders. Furthermore the organization will leverage its ties with various partnerships to effectively utilize PR and marketing.
Some of the biggest obstacles faced by innovators and entrepreneurs are the lack of funding and corruption argues CEO and founder of Jumpstart Africa Ahmed Zrikem.
Though this initiative, Zrikem hopes to bridge the gap between Africa’s current banking system that “fails to help innovative African entrepreneurs emerge” and will operate with complete transparency. Zrikem further notes:
“Many avid supporters of Africa believe that aid given to Africa actually hurts Africa. We propose a new way of giving directly to an entrepreneur who is going to start a business that will solve a problem, provide jobs and stimulate local economies. We want to empower the people of Africa –- not give them a fish but help them to fish on their own.”
From Morocco to Kenya and South Africa, Jumpstart Africa has built relationships with top innovation centers, incubators, and associations throughout the continent such as iHub, 88mph and m:lab to help people reach out and support its initiative.
Some examples to initially start off with on Jumpstart Africa’s website include Moses Gichanga from Kenya who has developed a low-cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicle technology to help monitor and prevent poaching wildlife across Africa.
Other examples include a Rose Twine from Uganda who has developed a low-cost smokeless solar stove that can also charge your phone and light your house for the price of only two months of regular charcoal consumption and Professor Eugene Cloete and his team at Stellenbosch University in South Africa have developed an affordable water filter called a “teabag” that fits into the neck of a standard sized water bottle.
With the main goal being US$40,000 the campaign will nonetheless receive all funds raised. The Indiegogo project offers a range of perks ranging from t-shirts, wallets and other merchandise.