Usually, startup events in Ghana have lots of buzz about them weeks, sometimes months before the event comes off. It was just about 2 weeks ago since news about the Case Foundation Pitch for Accra event came up. However, the hall was booked to capacity, with an overflow outside the hall.
The event started with an intro from 3 of Accra’s co-working spaces/innovation hubs, Impact Hub Accra, iSpace and the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. The various reps came to introduce their respective hubs, and what they stand for.
“Today marks the celebration of the entire ecosystem transitioning from a local hub to a internationally-recognised impact hub” – William Senyo
“iSpace has a mission of connecting people with entrepreneurship in their blood.” Akua Baning.
“With 14 companies in the incubator, MEST is becoming a household name in the entrepreneurship space in Ghana” – Daisy Chung MEST
Following that, the CEO of Chase Foundation, talked about how they want to “invest and pick on ideas which can change the world.” That was followed by an hour-long discussion on how impact investments are changing all around Africa. On the panel were Jean Case, Steve Case and Eric Osiakwan, investor, and founder of African ISP’s Association.
With the panel discussion and fireside chat on African startups and impact investments, the discussion continued, focusing on how more emphasis is being placed on impact investments worldwide. A point was made about how most African startups build products which solve major societal and infrastructural issues as compared to the influx of convenience apps which flood the first-world startup markets. A Q n A session quickly followed.
Ghana has been a sweet spot for similar startup events like Hack For Big Choices, SeedStars Accra, etc. What we’ve been missing so far, though, is to host DEMO Africa, and I’m sure that will happen soon.
After a few minutes of break, the pitches began. 9 startups had been selected to pitch, all vying for the rewarding $25000 cash prize. The following is the order of the startups which pitched at last Monday’s Case Foundation event in Accra.
- Alfie Designs helps provide quality African couture designs at affordable prices for businesses and individuals in and outside Africa.
- Asoriba helps streamline all church management activities to ensure effective communication, easier management and accountable administration.
- Flippy Campus provides the “Ultimate Campus Experience” for students by providing a messaging platform to keep students abreast of information from school authorities and student groups.
- ContraPac is a skin product which helps to prevent mosquitoes. It’s made from carefully selected African spices.
- PharmSee helps locals find pharmacies in their neigbourhoods. Its aim is to help combat several acute cases which rise out of inaccessibility to pharmacies during health conditions.
- BitSoko is a payment platform which helps to send payments via bitcoins by loading cash or bitcoins onto a bitsoko wallet.
- Farmerline provides “improved information access and communication channels for smallholder farmers and agricultural workers.”
- EgoTickets is a complete event ticketing application which handles the entire event management process, powered by African payment systems for African countries.
- Wanjo Foods is a juice manufacturing company which makes wellness beverages, syrups, drinks, spices, etc. and sources its healthy ingredients from local farmers across Ghana. Its real impact comes from the fact that she’s contributing to growing women farmers across Ghana.
— Case Foundation (@CaseFoundation) July 27, 2015
Case foundation was founded by Steve Case, founder of AOL and has been keen on investments which contribute to society in an impactful way. Reading back on that on the Case Foundation website, it was no surprise that Wanjo Foods won the $25000 prize. It’s great to have non-tech ideas also have that kind of traction and investments.
I was excited about the participation of both guests and startups at the event yesterday. It will be great to know your thoughts and comments about it. Share them in the comments box below.
Related: Hub Accra is hiring a Director of Digital Innovation. Interested or know someone?
Also published on Medium.