The MTN Group plans to borrow as much as N400 billion naira ($1.1 billion) in Nigeria this year as Africa’s largest wireless carrier by sales seeks to fund local investment and replace existing debt in Nigeria. According to Bloomberg, MTN plans to sell bonds and take out long-term loans as Nigeria recovers from a 2016 economic contraction. The carrier expects to list its Nigerian unit on the Nigerian Stock Exchange by the end of 2018. Nigeria’s securities regulator is preparing for record bond issuance from companies seeking to benefit from lower interest rates and an economy on the mend, it said this week. “We want to gear up our debt on an operational level away from the holding structure,” MTN’s Chief Financial Officer, Ralph Mupita, said in an interview. “The debt must be where the Ebidta is and we want to raise as much as possible in local currency.” MTN’s net debt rose to 57 billion rand ($4.5 billion) in 2017 from 52 billion rand the previous year. The Johannesburg-based company plans to shift its focus from dollar-denominated debt to debt in local currencies where it operates, Mupita said. MTN also recently raised money in local currency for its Ghanaian and Ivory Coast operations, according to Bloomberg data. MTN shares declined 0.6 percent Wednesday, on a day that U.S. President Donald Trump reinstated economic sanctions on Iran, the company’s second-biggest market. The carrier is valued at 234 billion rand.
African agri-tech grows by 110%, gets more than $19m investment in 2 years
Investments in agriculture technology in Africa have seen $19-million invested in the past two years, with a new report showing agri-tech startups have grown 110% in the period. There are 82 agri-tech startups operating across the continent at the start of this year, 52% of which started in the last 24 months, according to the Agrinnovating for Africa: Exploring the African Agri-Tech Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 report by Disrupt Africa. Kenya and Nigeria both lead the agri-tech markets, followed by Ghana, and collectively account for over 60% active startups in the sector. Although the report tracks annual startup activity in the agri-tech space since 2010, the authors say it began to boom in 2016, after which 43 new ventures were launched. “The research shows that while Kenya was the early pioneer of the African agri-tech sector, accelerating interest in West Africa over the past two years means this region now dominates the market; and is home to two of the top three agri-tech ecosystems on the continent,” Disrupt Africa co-founder Tom Jackson said in a statement. ““Everyone knows how important the agricultural sector is across Africa, but until very recently it remained relatively untouched by tech innovators. That is suddenly changing as entrepreneurs and investors realize the scale of the challenges facing farmers, and spot opportunities to reach huge addressable markets.” Fundraising grew 121% from 2016 to in 2017 alone. “The scope for innovation in the agricultural sphere is vast – a refreshed take on the sector could unlock huge value for the whole of Africa,” says Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Nairobi-based Disrupt Africa. “Behind the scenes, there has been formidable acceleration in the agri-tech market recently, and it is one of the most interesting spaces to watch in Africa today.”.
Startups serving as eCommerce platforms to the industry have the largest share, accounting for 32.9% of total startups in the space. Other popular sub-sectors of the agri-tech space include information and knowledge sharing, and fintech solutions to farmers.
Picture touching app Touchabl raises US $20,000 funding from Hubly
Port Harcourt based startup Touchabl, an AI based picture touching and identification app, has secured seed funding of US$ 20,000 for product development and aggressive marketing. Touchabl, which describes itself as the “Shazam for pictures”, allows a user that sees something they like – such as a dress, shoe or wristwatch – in any picture, whether on their timeline in the app or in their phone photo gallery, to simply touch it and receive more information about it. In an exclusive chat with Techative, Gabriel Eze, Touchabl CEO revealed that the funds will be used for product development and product marketing. “Since launching in public beta, we have collected some interesting feedback and have significantly modified our technology and value proposition. We will build upon our technology using this feedback” he said. The funding comes from Hubly (formerly Genesys Tech Hub), through their Genesys Start zone program, an “incubator for promising startups that provides them with the necessary support to grow and thrive in a competitive world”. Hubly will also provide the Touchabl team with training, mentorship and critical personal feedback to position them into becoming a hugely successful business. This will last for a 6- month period and is actually a condition for funding. Touchabl which launched officially in October 2017 and reached a milestone of 1k users in February, had previously received equity-free funding from Ibom LLC at StartupSouth 3 and from Office of ICT Innovation & Entrepreneurship (OIIE) – a subsidiary of NITDA – at the Startup Friday in Uyo.
Documents pertaining to the MTN listing and IPO seen by Reuters, reveal the company intends raising $400 million from the Initial Public Offer (IPO) of its Nigerian unit. An IPO is the very first time a company sells its shares to the public on a stock exchange. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) initially fined the company $5.2 billion in 2015 for failing to disconnect improperly registered sims. The fine was however reduced to $1 billion following the intervention of then President Jacob Zuma. As part of the terms and conditions of the settlement of a $1.2 billion fine imposed in 2015, the company was required to list its Nigerian arm. MTN is also listing on the Ghanian Stock Exchange this year. The listing on the Ghanian bourse is part of the conditions for the acquisition of a 4G licence in the country in 2015. The listing The telco will list 20 billion shares after a 1 for 5 share split, after which it will then proceed to pick the IPO price through book building. MTN Nigeria has a current valuation of $5.2 billion, going by its current over the counter price of $13. The nominal value of the shares will also be split from N1 to 2 kobo. Book building is a valuation approach where the price of a stock or security is determined by investors who table the price they want to buy the asset for and the quantity they want to purchase. The sum of all the orders and the value is then used to determine the average price. An investor roadshow is billed to hold between May and June, while listing could be between June and July. Proceeds from the IPO will be used to redeem preference shares issued to existing investors who bought the shares 11-years ago and also cut its dollar exposure.
nHub are a technology innovation hub that provides a wide range of Tech Inclined products and services, as well as incubation and acceleration programmes focused on innovation, job creation, social impact, skill acquisition and youth engagements.
They also help Start-ups scale their businesses, bring innovative services to the market and reach new customers through our connections. work span from conceiving ideas, trainings, incubation, collaboration and creation of services.
nHub Nigeria co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Daser David said the hub had launched with the intention of building tech products for the markets of Lagos and Abuja, as well as other major cities in Nigeria and Africa. “That aim, however, has evolved, with nHub having spent the last three years upskilling youths in software development, and looking for a way to ensure these young people use their skills locally rather than leaving for bigger cities.” “We thought that would be robbing the state of these talents. Also, because we want these trained youths to be mentors to upcoming youths, sending them out is not going to sustain the ecosystem,” David said. “Our best bet is to offer them on remote placements, knowing that we would still have them to inspire the next cohorts. So we took this option. This year alone we have received calls on a daily basis for their services.” This outsourcing service has now been formally launched, with nHub establishing a new office for developers working on remote jobs. David said the service was part of nHub’s strategy for becoming sustainable. It currently has 32 remote developers working for companies within and outside of Nigeria.
Apply: WAAW Foundation She Hacks Africa Coding Bootcamp (Cohort 6) for Students 2018
Are you a developer still learning your craft and wish to accelerate your learning curve? Do you have a dream to build useful application that provide solutions to problems in your community? She Hacks Africa Coding Bootcamp 2018 is exactly for you!
She Hacks Coding Bootcamp is an entrepreneurship and Leadership training program for young women and men between the ages of 18-30 years with a mission is to empower African youths in Software programming who will develop the relevant Software Application that will change the world.
The full training is four weeks in which students work on weekly projects that increase in complexity as the training progresses. The classroom is organized in teams of 4 participants that work together throughout the training period, to develop an outstanding project at the end of the boot camp.
Eligibility Criteria 1. Must be an African youth, 18 years and above. 2. Should be completing or have completed University or Higher Education. 3. Must have a strong academic background. 4. Prior experience coding or a degree in STEM is encouraged but not required.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Apply online (Link is below)
Take out assessment test
Acceptance and On-boarding.
The duration of the program is July 2 – July 27 2018. Application closes of 10th June 2018. Apply
PUBLISEER SELECTED FOR DISRUPT AFRICA LIVE PITCH COMPETITION
Leading Nigerian digital publishing company, Publiseer, have been selected to take part in the inaugural Disrupt Africa Live Pitch Competition, which takes place in Nairobi next week.
The Live Pitch Competition, the first of its kind to be launched by Disrupt Africa, will be co-located with AHUB East, taking place at the East Africa Com event on Wednesday, May 16 at the Radisson Blu in Nairobi’s Upper Hill.
According to Disrupt Africa, the event “will see up to 10 tech startups selected to pitch their innovative solutions live on stage in front of an esteemed jury and audience of potential investors and corporate partners.
As part of the 10 tech startups selected, Publiseer will have three minutes to pitch on to a judging panel formed of Stephen Gugu, manager of the Viktoria Business Angels Network (VBAN); Aaron Fu, managing director of MEST; Hannah Clifford, director of Nairobi Garage; and Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Disrupt Africa.
“The winning startup will earn an all-expense-paid trip to Cape Town to pitch their startup at AfricaCom, Africa’s premier tech conference, in November 2018.” Other prizes to be won at the competition include a marketing package worth US$500 from Disrupt Africa, Africa’s foremost startup news outlet, and a six months free membership of the Nairobi Garage Club SPace on Ngong Road.
According to Tom Jackson, a co-founder of Disrupt Africa, ” For more than three years now, Disrupt Africa has been the vital link between innovative African tech startups and investors, partners and other opportunities to grow their businesses. It only seems right that we expand our mission into the physical arena, and we are delighted to hold our first live pitching competition at AHUB East in Nairobi in May.” “We’re very excited to offer a new platform for Africa’s startup community to show off its innovative flair. We look forward to selecting the cream of East Africa’s startup crop to join us for our inaugural Live Pitch Competition – we’re sure it will be an inspiring show, and we hope it unlocks great new opportunities for all involved,” said Gabriella Mulligan. The competition received several applications from African startups that are less than five years old and the team reviewed and selected the top ten startups with original solutions able to disrupt the social or economic status quo, have a proven traction and looking for funding in order to take their business to the next level. This news comes three months after Publiseer was accepted to the Ayada Lab Incubation program local workshop in Abuja, organized by the Goethe Institut and Institut Francais, in partnership with Ventures Platform Foundation.
Opportunities for funding: Receive up to $150,000 USD in funds from Katapult Accelerator , participate in the Busicon competition and win N1M in app challenge among others
Apply for VC4A’s AgriHack competition and you could win up to $15K.
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and in collaboration with the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRA), Women in Tech Africa, Wennovation Hub (Nigeria) and Suguba Africa, is launching Pitch AgriHack 2018. The theme for this year’s edition is Women entrepreneurs innovate for agricultural transformation in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. 50% of finalists will be women and special women prizes will be awarded. The ultimate objectives are to help develop business services offered by young e-agriculture startups as well as to contribute to accelerating the adoption of innovations for stronger productivity in the agrifood sector. The competition is open to both male and female founders and co-founders of e-agri start-ups offering ICT services to the agricultural sector. Applicants must be aged between 18 to 35 years old. The final will be held in Rwanda in the framework of the 2018 edition of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF 2018) in September 2018. Winning start-ups will receive from CTA, AfDB and other partners, up to Euros 15,000 in cash (grant) to advance their services, apart from additional support that may be facilitated by stakeholders involved. apply here
Female-focused community: Win up to N2M in She Leads Africa (SLA) 3-month accelerator program.
Female-focused community She Leads Africa (SLA) is a social enterprise dedicated to supporting young African women and their journey towards professional success. The organisation has been featured on CNN, CNBC Africa, Black Enterprise and Fox Business and has more than 400,000 community members across Africa and the diaspora.
(SLA) is currently taking applications from Nigerian female tech founders who want to participate in its 3-month accelerator program. You could get up to N2 million in funding, amongst other goodies.
The competition process involves applying and then participation in a series of training by the SLA team and finally presenting your Business plan to room of stakeholders.
The first, second and third price will receive 2M,1M and 500,000 NGN respectively. Apply here, deadline is May 30th.
Norway-based Katapult Accelerator is taking applications into its 3-month program and will invest up to $150K in selected startups.
Katapult is an accelerator that is focused on making a positive impact in the world and building great business opportunities They support companies that do good but also generate significant financial value.
Applications are due by May 21st, 2018, and the program will start in August 2018, in Oslo, Norway. You’ll receive up to $150,000 USD investment into your company as part of the program in exchange for 8% equity. There is a $50K program fee that will be deducted from your investment. So you receive $100K net. The program runs for 3 months with selected companies having the opportunity to do a 1 month follow-up program in NY.
Their focus is primarily Environmental domains, Clean energy, Resource efficiency, Smart cities, Circular Economy, Ocean and Land use, Food and water, Education among others. Apply here.
Slush Global Impact Accelerator (GIA) Program
Slush Global Impact Accelerator (GIA) is a program created in collaboration with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and other multiple partners globally. The purpose is to support impact-driven startups and showcase exciting business opportunities in emerging markets, which are also vital for implementing the Agenda 2030 and solving complex challenges. In addition, the program focuses on strengthening the networks between the impact actors, engaging the Nordic community with the global impact entrepreneurs, and enhancing the mobilization of capital towards businesses. GIA 2018 brings impact-driven entrepreneurs from emerging markets to Helsinki to accelerate their business, attract additional financing, and build long-lasting networks. For all selected entrepreneurs, we offer one-on-one, pre-event coaching online and Helsinki BootCamp program from November 27–December 7, 2018
Criteria for Selection: • Have the vision to solve pressing challenges globally • Have a business idea that has gained some traction, but is still in an early phase • Have a solution that supports the sustainable development goals (SDGs) • Have potential to scale • Have skills and drive to succeed • Have at least one working prototype
The Busicon App Challenge is an initiative of Busicon Group, a foremost IT firm in Nigeria. The Busicon App Challenge is a solution driven contest that will allow tech enthusiast come up with fantastic ideas which will be in form of an web/mobile application that will provide solutions to prevalent challenges in the business terrain.
The contest will last for six weeks. The first two weeks will be for entry submission, while contestants will spend the remaining four weeks to develop their ideas. As the project progresses, contestants will be called in to defend their ideas and walk us through the work-ability of such indigenous proposal. A winner will be announced at the end of this rigorous task in June and he or she will walk away with One Million Naira. But beyond the prize money, participants will enjoy exposure to both local and international companies that are ready to either partner or fund tech Startups in Nigeria.
1.The winning entry must provide a solution to an existing challenge. 2.The solution must be implementable and achievable with a minimal budget. 3.The contest is open to both male and female App developers between the ages of 18-35 years old.
Contestants are to write about their idea on their site, which will be sieved and the ones considered interesting and problem solving will be noted and the contestants that sent them in will be engaged to take part in the competition. Apply
The €500,000 Dutch Postcode Lottery’s Green Challenge.
The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is one of the world’s largest competitions in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship. Green start-ups from all over the world can submit their promising sustainable business plans.
The winner will receive €500,000 to further develop the product or service, and to bring it to market. The runner-up will receive €200,000 and the three other finalists receive €100,000 each. An international jury selects the winner and runner-up. How does the competition work? People from all over the world could (free of charge) submit their sustainable business plans until 1 June 2018. Mid-July, the organization will announce the 25 nominees who will have a chance of becoming a finalist.
Five finalists will then be selected Mid-August for the final round of the competition, where they will present their business plan in front of a selected audience and an international panel of experts during the grand final in Amsterdam on 13 September. After the decision round the judges will announce the winner of the €500,000 as well as the runner‐up and the three other finalists who will receive €100,000 each. As this is an international competition, all entries must be submitted in English. The competition requires strict adherence to guidelines as they receive applications from over 80 countries.
If you have been selected as one of the finalists, you will be invited to come to Amsterdam to present your plan to the international panel of experts. Keep in mind that your presentation should be held in English as well. apply here
WIN UP TO 50,000USD IN VISA EVERYWHERE INITIATIVE IN SUB SAHARA AFRICA
Visa’s Everywhere Initiative is a global open innovation program tapping into startup communities to drive regional business objectives, curate the startup ecosystem for Visa clients and accelerate bigger and bolder ideas, enriching consumer experience. Wherever you want to be, Visa’s Everywhere Initiative helps you get there. Coming to Sub Sahara Africa for the first time, Visa’s Everywhere Initiative offers participants a chance to win up 50,000USD and a chance to have a support development program with Visa business or partnership with Visa’s partners.
The focus areas are on
Innovations that move away from cash on delivery culture for ecommerce Africa by leveraging on Visa Developer APIs to either: Enable smaller merchants to accept payments in-store digitally OR Provide a safe and secure solution for online merchants to drive eCommerce and reduce cash on delivery. Apply
Innovations that help improve cash flow and receive payments by using Visa’s APIs to leverage mass reach partner platforms like Facebook to help businesses operating in fast-paced consumer centric environments. Apply
Innovations leverage technology to provide services that are functional for illiterate customers to provide them with secure transaction experiences that build and enhance their confidence in the banking system. Apply
3 winners of 25 000 USD each. Each Company selected as a Brief Winner will be awarded 25,000 USD. If Visa determines in its sole discretion that a Brief Winner has created a standout solution, Visa may provide further investment and mentoring support to that Brief Winner, subject to the parties agreeing a suitable development program and additional terms for the investment.