There has never been a better time to do business within the African continent. With some of the fastest growing economies in the world, the potential of the African market continues to spur the growth of startups working in or targeting this market. These startups are working in virtually every industry, from tech to agriculture. Ten of these cool startups will be at Harvard this weekend for the Harvard Africa Business Conference, gaining mentorship through Harvard’s Startup Lab and competing for up to $15,000 in the New Venture Competition.
Here are the ten startups, selected from a wide applicant pool:
Based in Harlem, Ginjan Bros brings to market traditional African beverages.Their first product offering, Ginjan, is a widely popular west African drink that is made from fresh ginger, cold-pressed pineapples, fresh squeezed lemons, vanilla, anise, and cane sugar. Ginjan co-founders, Mohammed Diallo and Ibrahim Diallo pride themselves in making their beverages from organic materials. They currently sell the product in New York City with aims of expanding across the country in the near future.
DaIO, which is a tech based social venture that collects and processes solid waste in many secondary cities across West Africa to produce organic fertilizer, recyclable materials and renewable energy. The company, founded by Columbia grad Cuthbert Ayodeji, works to improve public health, increase earning potential for local farmers, create local jobs and change the way people view their waste.
kweliTv is the African answer to Netflix. The on-demand and live streaming video prides itself in hosting shows that address the issues stories and culture of the global black community. kweliTv curates indie films, documentaries, web shows and news programming of the entire African diaspora. Kweli is the Swahili word for “Truth”. Kweli hopes to make African culture mainstream.
Factor provides credit scores that are unique to an individual’s transactions. Factor quantifies risk specific to a single transaction. Through combining comprehensive non-traditional data sets with advanced machine learning, Factor provides highly customized, accurate and inclusive credit scores. It is built to allow the banked and unbanked in Sub Saharan Africa take advantage of the many opportunities a reliable credit score can unleash.
This is an online platform that connect quality local talent to employers, especially SMEs. The platform, which combines technology with a unique tiered partnership with local recruits, schools and organisations, YNG Africa makes talent acquisition quick and efficient therefore connecting thousands to quality job opportunities.
Mobilized Construction enables low cost dirt road monitoring, maintenance, and construction through our software platform. Individuals gathers road conditions data by measuring road topography to map rural roads and create road repair contracts. Local individuals can then repair roads using labor-based maintenance and construction rather than using expensive heavy machinery. After road work is certified complete, individuals receive payment via mobile money like M-Pesa. Localizing repairs through labor ensures roads are safe and accessible using just a shovel and a cellphone.
The SpellAfrica Initiative is an ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) non profit organization. It works to improve the stand of literacy education through basic phones that are readily available. Through these program, SpellAfrica works to increase the literacy skills of the communities at the base of the pyramid.
1task1job connects competent, qualified individuals to businesses and entrepreneurs globally. The platform provides and exchange of services on specific projects and ad hoc tasks. The platform provides secure and user-friendly ways for people to match tasks and transact online. The platform has projects from United States, Egypt, Cameroon, Morocco and many others.
AgroCenta is an ag-tech platform that provides end-to-end solutions in the post harvest value chain for smallholder farmers. It allows smallholder farmers access to a market to trade fairly, eliminating exploitative middlemen from the value chain. AgroCenta provides on-demand truck and logistic services (uber for trucks) where farmers request truck services. They also provide timely advisory services, weather information, and market prices.
ICE Commercial Power designs and develops solar microgrids for commercial customers throughout Nigeria. Their systems capture, store, monitor, control and secure sale of solar energy. They hope to implement solar energy as a sustainable source of energy in Nigeria, empowering small business owners and growing local economies.