Somalia's Innovate Ventures graduates the 2nd cohort of startups

Somalia's Innovate Ventures has graduated the second cohort of 10 startups from Somaliland and Somalia from their accelerator program. The 10 startups were selected from a group of 400 applications that were received for the 2017 program.

The Innovate Ventures accelerator program was launched in partnership with VC4A, Telesom and the Work in Progress! Alliance.

Innovate Ventures 2nd cohort graduation in Somalia
Somali Accelerator graduates another cohort of startups and gives $30,000 in investment at the Demo Day in Hargeisa.

"The success of this year's accelerator programme is down to years of groundwork in the region and lessons learned. We are committed to helping the region produce more technology-driven businesses that resolve business challenges in the region and tap into untapped markets," said Warda Dirir, Co-Founder at Innovate Ventures.

The seed investment given to the startups doubled from $15,000 in 2016 to $30,000.

On Sunday, 29 October 2017 Demo Day took place, which was the culmination of a 6-month programme to find startups who could create value, jobs and had the potential to scale. The event saw more than 300 participants attend along with media, entrepreneurs, and investors. Each team pitched their startup to a panel comprising of entrepreneurs, executives and business owners.

First place went to Bilan Baby, a startup that sells baby furniture, accessories and baby clothing as well as maternity products. Bilan Baby received $7,000 in seed investment. Second place went to SAMS, an AgriTech marketplace for farmers and buyers and Almijet, a digital printing company who received $5,000 each. Finally, Brandkii, an online marketing, and advertising startup received $3,000. Further investment was provided to Muraadso, an e-commerce startup, and last year’s winners; they received $10,000.

The Innovate Accelerator is a 12-week programme intended to support and fund the next wave of Somali startups. Mentorship and training were provided by domain experts and entrepreneurs and four startups from the programme received $30,000 in investment from Innovate Ventures Fund.

According to the organizers, more applicants and larger investments are expected next year, giving the burgeoning Somali tech startup scene further support.

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