It was an interesting time, over the weekend, for the ten African startups that won a total of $1 million at the grand finale of the maiden edition of the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI). The event took place in Accra and was attended by Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire whose brainchild this is to support African entrepreneur.
The biggest winner of the night
Nigeria’s LifeBank was declared the biggest winner and was awarded the sum of $250, 000 to facilitate its business of saving lives. The healthcare startup specialises in the use of technology and logistics to deliver “lifesaving medical products” to hospitals across Nigeria and beyond.
Information reaching us from the event also noted that the company’s Founder, Temi Giwa-Tubosun, was bestowed with the Jack Ma African Business Hero Award. An excited Tubosun was quoted by CNN to have said the following:
“The Africa Netpreneur Prize will give me the resources to grow LifeBank and expand our presence in Nigeria and throughout the rest of Africa. I look forward to continuing my journey to solve problems and make a significant impact on the future of Africa.”
— Africa’s Business Heroes (@africa_heroes) November 16, 2019
The first and second runners-up
Other winners also emerged one of which is Nawah Scientific, a private research centre in Egypt that received $150, 000. Water Access Rwanda was also awarded $100, 000 to facilitate its operations in Rwanda it works to provide access to clean drinking water.
3 other Nigerian startups win
With half of the prize going to the top three winners, the remaining $500,000 was left to be shared between seven startups. Three Nigerian startups got a cut from this sum, and they include the following:
- Thrive Agric: An agric-tech company that works to avail small farm owners access to finance
- DrugStoc: A startup that uses IT to fight counterfeit drugs
- Black Swan Tech Ltd: Works to increase birth registration and immunisation of newborn
Other winners drawn from across Africa include: Afrikrea.com from Ivory Coast, J-Palm Liberia, Mumm from Egypt, and Uzuri K&Y from Rwanda.
— Black Swan Tech (@BlackSWTech) November 16, 2019
The panel of judges at the event included Jack Ma, First Bank of Nigeria’s Chairman, Ibukun Awosika, and Zimbabwean serial entrepreneur and billionaire, Strive Masiyiwa. They were praised for doing “stellar” job at finding the right winners.
Stellar panel of judges with serious questions and actionable advice @AFNetpreneurs in Accra @joetsai1999 Jack Ma, Strive Masiyiwa, and @IbukunAwosika. Down to which slides to remove, governance structures, realistic addressable markets. Look out for it on youtube pic.twitter.com/mdVgKcvbOX
— Aubrey Hruby (@AubreyHruby) November 16, 2019
In the meantime, the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) is set to give out another $1 million to deserving African entrepreneurs next year. This will be done for ten consecutive years, with $10 million awarded in total.
130 farmers to receive seed funding of N100,000 each
The target of the programme is to adopt farmers in 774 LGAs across the country.
The National Information Technology Development Agency has kick-started a job and wealth creation programme where 130 farmers will each receive seed funding of N100,000. The programme will be supervised by the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.
According to a statement from the agency, the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) programme is in line with the government’s drive to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, and it will start with 130 farmers in Jigawa state.
In line with President @MBuhari's administration drive to lift 100m Nigerians out of poverty, @NITDANigeria, under the supervision of @FMoCDENigeria kick starts job and wealth creation programme by adopting 130 farmers on National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA). pic.twitter.com/Z4cWdrlQgs
— NITDA Nigeria (@NITDANigeria) June 29, 2020
The target of the programme is to adopt farmers in 774 LGAs across the country, open the platform to all agriculture ecosystem players with access to information, facilitate and improve productivity, reduce the cost of production, and facilitate access to local and international markets.
With all of this in place, it is expected that the farmers will be able to build sustainable business models and digital business opportunities that will create not less than 6 million well-paying jobs in the next 10 years.
“NAVSA Platform is aimed at digitalising agriculture to drive Digital Economy, as part of President Buhari’s agenda to leverage on technology and innovation to revolutionise the agriculture value chain,” the statement read.
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Among other things, the farmers will be empowered with a digital platform, smart devices (tablets), connectivity for data and calls, Digital agripreneurship skills, and enrolment with telecom operators and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for identification.
All of these will be given to them at the end of the programme, which will last from July 1 to July 13, 2020.
Business owners will now get CAC certificate with TIN
This will also allow them to easily request loans and credit facilities from financial institutions.
As part of the Ease Of Doing Business Initiative, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) will now work with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to issue Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) along with the Certificate of Incorporation.
This will save companies and small business owners the troubles of applying separately to the FIRS for their Tax Identification Numbers.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on Monday, June 29, and seen by Nairametrics.
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The statement reads in part “Certificates of Incorporation of companies registered under part A of the CAMA will henceforth carry Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) issued by the FIRS”.
With this development, companies and business owners can now proceed to open a corporate account upon receiving their Certificate of Incorporation, rather than waiting another week or more for the issuance of Tax Identification Numbers.
This also allows them to easily request loans and credit facilities from financial institutions and dispenses the need to visit the FIRS office.
For the revenue collection agency, the development is set to improve the accuracy of its database of registered businesses operating in the country and can aid it to widen its revenue net.
How FG plans to support Women-owned MSMEs to recover from the pandemic
The impact of the on pandemic micro, small and medium enterprises has been quite massive.
The Federal Government of Nigeria is set to roll out palliatives to assist women-owned medium and small businesses (MSME’s) recover from the impact of the pandemic.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, in Abuja during the virtual E-launch of the National Survey on the impact of COVID-19 on women-owned businesses in Nigeria, monitored by NAN.
According to Tallen, the survey captured trends and patterns of the losses caused by the pandemic on women-owned businesses, and will now guide the government’s move to revive the affected businesses.
The impact of the pandemic on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) has been quite massive, and resulted in unforeseen losses for business owners, she noted.
“We are all currently experiencing the effects, which have crippled the supply chain of businesses, with dire consequences on MSMEs, where the majority of women’s owned businesses are situated,” she said.
She noted that the government had commenced the implementation of the findings of the survey, through the ongoing UN Women Assisted Palliative Distribution Project, targeted at poor women in 17 states of the federation.
In addition, the ministry of women affairs is also set to scale-up some projects for women in National Empowerment Fund (NaWEF), Government Empowerment and Enterprise Programme (GEEP) and the Business Development Fund for Women (BUDFOW).
Other areas include the ECOWAS and Access Bank 50 Million Women Speak Platform Project (50MWSPP), the Trust Fund agreement with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to implement the HP-LIFE entrepreneurship and job creation project.
Tallen said further that the ministry would also engage with the Nigeria for Women Project (NFWP), and conduct a mapping of state-level interventions on COVID-19.
She also encouraged policymakers, development partners, and donor agencies to adopt the report’s recommendation for the immediate and post COVID-19 responses for women entrepreneurs.
“The Ministry is engaging with States, relevant government institutions, NGOs, business groups, PWDs cooperative societies, elderly cooperative groups, and women-focused groups to achieve this.
“I want to encourage our partners to not only stop here but let us together again look at the possibility of conducting a follow-up survey to track the progress of women entrepreneurs recovery.
The survey was conducted by NACCIMA and SME.NG, and it contained recommendations in retooling policies to address both immediate and post COVID-19 strategies as well as the way forward.