This feature is an outcome of infoDev, a multi-donor program administered by the World Bank Group, with a focus on entrepreneurs in developing economies. This piece was originally published on February 22, 2016.
NAIROBI, Kenya — Global incubator 1776 announced the five winning teams of the Africa Challenge Cup, a regional pitching competition for startups that seek to solve the world’s greatest challenges in education, energy, health, agriculture, transportation, and smart cities. The winning teams will compete for $175,000 in cash prizes and up to $1 million in investments next June at the Challenge Cup Global Finals in Washington, D.C.
The Africa Challenge Cup was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in partnership with Nairobi Garage and iHub. Thirty teams were selected to participate in the regional finals through local competitions held across the continent—in Accra, Addis Ababa, Casablanca, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, and Pretoria—with the support of regional partners and the World Bank’s network of Climate Innovation Centers.
Each startup had two minutes to pitch their product and market strategy, followed by one minute of questions from a panel of judges. The winning teams come from Ghana, Kenya, and Morocco, and represent the education, health, and finance sectors.
- GoMobile (Morocco) helps people who cannot read connect to the Internet through mobile platforms that feature voice communication.
- Hakeeme (Morocco) is a wearable device that monitors the health of manual laborers and provides anonymized reports of working conditions to government agencies.
- Moldiag (Morocco) produces affordable diagnostic kits that can detect diseases and viral infections.
- Moringa School (Kenya) teaches students to become world-class web and mobile developers.
- Zeepay (Ghana) is an app that allows users to pay for goods and services with a mobile money wallet.
The Moroccan teams were selected and trained by the World Bank’s Morocco Climate Innovation Center, which cohosted the local competition in Casablanca. Evan Burfield, cofounder of 1776, also provided business incubator management training to Climate Innovation Center staff members from Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Morocco, and Ghana.
“Africa is increasingly home to so many inspiring entrepreneurs who are building high-growth startups to bring solutions to some of our world’s biggest challenges,” said Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776.
“I’m so pleased that we can give these extraordinary companies an opportunity to present their vision on the global stage and connect to the resources and relationships they need to be successful.”
The African startups will join teams selected from 50 cities around the world at the Challenge Cup Global Finals in June 2016. For more information about the Global Finals, read an interview with Strauss Energy, a Kenya Climate Innovation Center client and finalist in the 2015 competition.