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· Mar 31, 2017

SafeBoda, BareFoot Power Accepted in Spring Accelerator’s Third Cohort

SPRING is an accelerator for businesses seeking to innovate and make a significant positive impact on the lives of adolescent girls across East Africa and South Asia.

From November 2016 through to March 2017, the SPRING team has been reviewing applications received for its third cohort.

19 businesses committed to making a lasting positive difference to the lives of adolescent girls aged 10-19 from across Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have been chosen for SPRING Accelerator’s third cohort.

SafeBoda and Barefoot power were the only Ugandan businesses selected among 19 businesses from across the East African region that were admitted to this year’s SPRING Accelerator that was dominated by Tanzania and Kenya.

Other businesses included Accelerated (Ethiopia), Academic Bridge (Rwanda), ACCT (Tanzania), BABYL (Rwanda), Cherehani Kenya (Kenya), Ecofuels Kenya (Kenya), Gravitylight (Kenya), Honey Care (East Africa), Illuminium Greenhouses (Kenya), Kasha (Rwanda), Mode (Kenya), Micro Health Initiative (Tanzania), PayGo (Kenya), Resonate (Rwanda), Telemed (Ethiopia), TotoHealth (Tanzania) and Ubongo (Tanzania).

This year’s cohort brings together a mix of early, growth and more mature stage businesses whose leadership has made a clear commitment to innovation and girl impact.

Each will work with leading Human-Centred Design experts from agency fuseproject, to improve products or services that enable girls to learn, earn, save and stay safe and healthy.

From liberating girls from hours of unpaid work in the family farm through procuring them with simple but innovative renewable energy devices, to sophisticated digital solutions that offer essential and private access to healthcare in hygiene products in urban and rural areas. The participants cover a wide range of industry and solutions.

Ramona Liberoff, SPRING CEO said;

We are pleased and proud to be announcing our second East Africa cohort for SPRING, newly launching in Ethiopia and Tanzania and returning to Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. The diversity of our participants is testament to a growing interest in commercial sustainability combined with social benefit. All of the chosen companies have demonstrated commitment to learn and work hard to meet the needs of adolescent girls, across sectors as varied as nutrition, agriculture, technology, and energy and finance. We look forward to bringing these bright teams together to harness the power of Human-Centred Design and user centric research, and to learn from each other’s experiences.”

SPRING identifies and supports businesses that can bring life-enhancing products and services to this huge population, providing comprehensive business model development and support to its participants – including Human-Centred Design prototyping, prototype funding, investment guidance, global and local mentor and corporate partners who donate in kind expertise, and access to legal expertise through their corporate partner Hogan Lovells.

The Department for International Development UK (DFID), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Nike Foundation and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia (DFAT) partnered to create the business accelerator SPRING based on research showing that girls, when economically empowered, have a unique ability to transform lives and help end the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

An estimated 250 million adolescent girls live in poverty worldwide, unable to build assets or safely raise the income needed for a more prosperous life.

A five-year programme, SPRING’s mission is to enable ventures to reach 200,000 girls in eight countries with products and services that benefit them by 2019.

SPRING operates in nine-month blocks with cohorts of up to 20 enterprises. The first cohort included businesses from Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya and ended in March 2016.

The second cohort, launched in September 2016, and focuses on Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.

The third cohort, opened for applications in October 2016, will return to Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, adding Tanzania and Ethiopia.

The fourth cohort will include Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan and add Myanmar.

In the first cohort of 18 – which only covered Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda – Uganda was represented by Jibu, Village Energy, Micro-finance Trust Bank and Ensibuuko.

Find out more about the nine-month cohort curriculum here.

Africa's early stage and technology companies recorded 454 deals last year worth $1.19 Billion. Get the Digest Africa Index to find out more.

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