Crowdfunding coming to Africa

African startups were rewarded for coming up with innovative technological solution to local challenges.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

An innovative mobile and web crowdfunding platform to help African startup companies attract middle class investors, not just wealthy individuals, won funding of its own to jumpstart the business venture.

SliceBiz was one of three $10,000 winners of the Apps4Africa business challenge, a competition funded by the United States State Department and the World Bank, that offers African innovators cash awards for developing solutions to local problems using technology.

The Ghana-based business, SliceBiz, seeks to bring the idea of popular crowdfunding sites, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, to Africa, but with a twist. As BBC explains, entrepreneurs will provide 30-second video pitches to potential investors. Investors can then give between $250 and $100,000, and smaller investments can be made using a mobile phone. Also, investors will receive a stake in the business instead of the swag that other sites offer funders.

"Startups/Small businesses in many ways constitute the backbone of the African economy, yet they continue to face challenges, one of the largest of which is access to finance," SliceBiz says on its website. "Thousands of young African startup founders can’t access credit from banks and other financial institutions. Without this much needed capital injection, the growth trajectory of most startups is slow and flat."

The other two award recipients were Uganda-based Ffene -- a low-cost business management platform -- and the Prowork a Nigerian firm that provides mobile business collaboration solutions.

This is the third year Apps4Africa has given out funding to business innovators. You can see previous recipients of the award here.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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