#SMEEmpowerment: Shopofficer-Kenya, Msme Garage-Uganda, DIYlaw-Nigeria; Finalists 2015 HiiL Innovating Justice’s SME Empowerment Innovation Challenge East & West Africa
Three of the semi-finalists for the SME Empowerment Innovation Challenge East & West Africa inched closer to the $70,000 seed funding after being named the finalists at the Innovating Justice Boostcamp Lagos 2015.
ShopOfficer-Kenya, mSME Garage-Uganda and DIYlaw-Nigeria were among the seven startups drawn from East and West Africa pitching their innovations in Lagos during the Innovating Justice Boostcamp.
Making the announcement, head of HiiL’s Innovating Justice Accelerator Wilfried de Wever, emphasised the need to have more innovations applied across various sectors to ease the setting up and running of businesses, especially for SMEs:
“What we have seen today is a combination of determination to bring change and promote transparency in running businesses; I am confident that these technology products will enable the business environment to be a free and just space for the economic empowerment of the continent.”
The Innovating Justice Boostcamp Lagos was geared towards finding solutions and encouraging the implementation of initiatives that can empower startups and SMEs, specifically innovations that address regulatory hurdles and bureaucratic red tape faced by youth-led startups across Africa.
Congratulating the finalists, Dr Sam Muller, CEO of HiiL, commented:
“I am deeply enjoying myself and feel so humbled. This group of finalists are amazing in many ways, especially because they are at the forefront of a new justice innovation movement that is starting. They are a new creed: justice entrepreneurs. The group will grow and in that way we’ll make justice systems more fit for purpose, putting users and the problems they face – like SMEs – at the heart.”
His sentiments were echoed by Hilary Pennington, VP, Ford Foundation’s Education, Creativity, and Free expression Program, who emphasised that Africa entrepreneurship space is being driven by the young entrepreneurs with technology being the core pillar.
The three finalists will be invited to the Innovating Justice Forum on 3-4 December in The Hague, Netherlands.
At the Forum, the finalists will compete for seed investments of $70,000, acceleration support and access to funding, networks and expert advice.