Four startups from Africa have been selected to receive US$20,000 at the just concluded first Future of Work Africa accelerator. The winning startups include Nigeria’s Terawork, Sierra Leone’s Mosabi, Benin Republic’s Irawo, and the Mauritius-based CoffeeChat.
The selected startups are building solutions that assist young people to find employment, establish careers, and prepare for the future of work. The financing is aimed at helping them accelerate their solutions.
They were selected out of the twenty-three startups that participated in the Village Capital accelerator program, and will now get the funding investment from IFC.
“This is our first Future of Work initiative and I hope it is the first of many. It has been a pleasure to work with this group of founders to solve such a critical challenge for the continent. I am glad to see such innovative solutions being built, and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to support and elevate these ventures as we continue to expand our scope of work in this space, “According to Audrey Mate, programme manager for Africa at Village Capital,
Village Capital launched its investment initiative in 2009 and has since supported more than 1,000 early-stage entrepreneurs through its investment readiness program, while its VilCap Investments fund has invested in more than 110 programme graduates.
The Future of Work Africa, a startup accelerator focused on addressing the continent’s high unemployment rates, is the most recent of Village Capital’s programmes and was launched in collaboration with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Moody’s Foundation.
Meet the 4 African startups
Founded by Femi Taiwo in 2017, Terawork is a product of necessity established after an unpleasant experience Femi had with a gig worker. The startup is a one-stop freelance marketplace that helps African talent earn money globally through freelancing.
The startup says it currently services countries like Ghana, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Kenya, the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand.
Its platform currently has over a thousand individuals, agencies, and SMEs offering and engaging freelance services. Terawork supports 15 currency options to suit clients’ offers. It charges talents between 7% and 13% commission depending on the type and volume of work done. This is lower than the 15% commission common in the freelance marketplace.
Mosabi (Sierra Leone)
Founded in 2016, Mosabi leverages mobile technology to provide customers with its business-focused e-learning platform. The company works by connecting fintech and ed-tech with embedded, gamified upskilling for Africa’s financial products and platforms.
The company is headquartered in Sierra Leone. It has over 20,000 users across six countries, and has launched operations in Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Liberia, and Paraguay.
Aside from a few angel investors, grant financing from the World Bank, UNCDF, and FSD Africa, and prize money from winning different contests, Mosabi bootstraps most of its operations. The startup is currently developing its expansion strategy.
Irawo (Benin Republic)
Irawo is a digital community founded in 2015 by a young Benine, Mylène Flicka. The startup provides tools, resources, and instructions to help young Africans reach their full potential and capitalize on their unique talents.
The company which started with its founder writing the stories of talents and creatives in Africa in order to inspire youths to dream, can now boast of more than 30,000 users with over 300 published articles.
Irawo identifies talents mainly through social networks and recommendations and tells their stories without a fee.
According to the startup, its focus is on francophone African nations like Benin, Cameroon and Togo because talents within the region are not as recognised as those in the rest of the continent because of the language barrier.
Launched in 2019, CoffeeChat is an online coaching-as-a-service platform and app. The startup increases the accessibility of coaching in the African context by enabling companies to offer one-on-one executive coaching for their managers across Africa.
So far, the company now has over 250 coaches and experts from across 17 African countries and is continuing to grow.
The company, co-founded by Akua Nyame-Mensah and Chris Suzdak, has its headquarters in Mauritius but with an initial focus on South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria. They represent the largest and most dynamic markets in the African region.
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