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MultiChoice shortlists 11 African startups to pitch to global investors in Dubai

Local tech startups Botlhale AI and Gradesmatch joins 11 startups from across the continent shortlisted by MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme to pitch for international investors in Directly and take their small businesses to the next level.

At a time when unemployment challenges and economic instability are high, not to mention the hard to shake trail of devastation left by the Covid-19 crisis, the viability of medium-sized businesses (SMMEs) in driving South Africa’s economic growth and job creation efforts, as presented in the National Development Plan, can never be more emphasised.

In recognition of the critical role SMMEs play, the MultiChoice Africa Accelerator programme has identified 11 viable startups across nine African countries, in key entrepreneurial skills to pitch to prospective international investors in Dubai. Two of these startups are from South Africa, namely Botlhale AI and Gradesmatch.

“There’s no denying the impact African SMMEs have on job creation and economic growth,” says Fhulufhelo Badugela, MultiChoice Africa CEO. “Through the MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme, our vision is to take that impact and multiply it beyond what our start-up founders ever believed possible. I have no doubt these small businesses will be able to take everything they’ve learned so far to unlock transformative business funding.”

Language Processing (NLP) tools for African languages, Botlhale AI is among 11 African start-ups invited through the Africa Accelerator Programme to pitch to prospective international investors in Dubai.

The programme, which forms part of the MultiChoice Innovation Fund, in collaboration with Dubai-based business incubator Companies Creating Change (C3), technical partner EOH, and Galelo Africa, has been designed as a platform to help grow start-up businesses from across Africa.

The programme specifically targets start-ups and small businesses in the technology sectors of health tech, agritech, fintech, edutech, the circular economy, and creative industries.

“The quality of the submissions this year was high. It confirms our view that Africa has enormous potential. The specific focus on tech industries allows us to showcase the innovation of Africa to the world, but also enables these businesses to develop tech solutions to real societal problems,” continues Badugela.

The first phase of the MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme saw public and private-sector partners in each country nominating businesses or entrepreneurs for the programme. From there, 29 of the start-ups embarked on an intensive virtual training course during December 2022 and in Johannesburg.

The 11 start-ups attended a dedicated boot camp in Lusaka, Zambia to learn more about how to shape their story for international investors, and to get “pitch ready” before their big presentations.

The 11 shortlisted startups selected by a panel of investors for this year’s MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme are as follows:

1. Botlhale AI and Gradesmatch from South Africa

Botlhale AI builds Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools for African languages. Developers and organisations looking to connect with their customers better can integrate any of these tools into their solutions through its APIs.

Gradesmatch helps students (and families) to transition from education to economic opportunity by making the journey as simple as possible.

The company builds the core enabling infrastructure that simplifies the journey from education to economic opportunity.

Through the Gradesmatch platform, learners are taught how to apply at a higher learning institution using mock applications while they are still in Grade 11 so that they can get the right how-to knowledge.

2. Taskmoby from Ethiopia

Taskmoby is the first digital marketplace in Ethiopia that connects customers with qualified home services providers (e.g. plumbers, cleaners, electricians), leveraging a mobile application, SMS/USSD solutions and a dedicated call center.

3. StarNews Mobile from Ivory Coast

StarNewsMobile is a pan-African media-tech company whose mission is to give financial freedom to African creators from the distribution and monetization of their digital content globally.

4. Tendo from Ghana

Tendo is a social commerce platform that enables anyone to sell online with zero capital.

5. Zuri Health from Kenya

Zuri Health is a virtual hospital (Super Health App) providing affordable and accessible healthcare services to patients across Sub-Saharan Africa via mobile app, website, WhatsApp bot and SMS service. 

Through the app, patients can chat and consult with doctors, buy medication from pharmacies, book labs and diagnostic tests and even have a doctor visit them at home.

6.  Dojah Inc and Crop2Cash from Nigeria

Dojah Inc is an end-to-end Identity verification and compliance framework to strengthen confidence, credibility, and compliance across digital businesses.

At Crop2Cash, we have built a digital financial service that allows smallholder farmers anywhere in Nigeria to open a bank account on their feature phones in under 2 minutes, with no internet required.

7. MaTontine from Senegal

MaTontine is a digital financial services platform. 

It digitise traditional, African savings groups to provide access to financial services for financially excluded women in Africa.

8. Tupuca from Angola

Tupuca is an on-demand quick-commerce platform and logistical aggregator of uber-like drivers that allows users to order from multiple vendors and service providers ranging from restaurants, grocery stores, small retailers and courier services.

9. Mighty Finance Solution from Zambia

Mighty Finance Solution provides SMEs in emerging markets with seamless credit and financial solutions using artificial intelligence. The company leverages proprietary credit rating algorithm to pave the way for a unique lending experience and transforming lives through the provision of simple, quick and affordable loans.

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