Last week, Safaricom, M-PESA Africa and Sumitomo Corporation announced the Spark Accelerator, a new programme which aims to support early-stage startups to grow and scale into successful businesses.
Serving as a launchpad for forward-thinking founders, the three-month accelerator programme will provide a blend of training, mentorship, funding and go-to-market resources, setting participants up for long-term success.
The focus will initially be on innovative fintech and content startups, who will be able to leverage a team of experts that understand market dynamics, emerging tech and are keen to enable continuous innovation.
The accelerator programme will culminate in an investor demo day for the startups to pitch for investment from Safaricom, M-PESA Africa, Sumitomo Corporation and other partners, including Vodacom and AWS.
“The Spark Accelerator programme is in line with our 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 programme to address the challenges that hinder early startups from growing,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom.
Participants will also have access to technical support to develop mini-apps embedded into Safaricom’s M-PESA app, empowering them to reach more than four million customers who use the app.
In addition, M-PESA Africa will offer expertise, market research and insights, and other capacity support for startups looking to expand their reach to other countries. The support will continue beyond the three-month programme, enabling participating startups to tap into more than 60 million customers and five million businesses across M-PESA’s eight markets.
“In turn, the startups will create innovations that connect customers and businesses on M-PESA to more opportunities while providing them with even more value,” said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Managing Director of M-PESA Africa.
As well as encouraging dynamic and impactful solutions, the programme will contribute to the development of the African economy and human resource development, helping build prosperity in the country.
The call for applications will run from 12 January 2024 to 16 February 2024.
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