The saying ‘Alive with possibility’ is thrown around quite a bit on South African shores and there are other variations of this elsewhere on the continent. Africa is undoubtedly proving to be the next frontier for investment and entrepreneurship of all kinds. It’s a small wonder then that a Crowdfunding app won the annual ‘Apps4Africa’ cash prize.
The $10,000 prize, sponsored by the US State Department and the World Bank is awarded to the three most innovative and useful projects developed in and for Africa, with the possibility of additional funds if initial targets are met. One of the winners, Ghanaian-based ‘SliceBiz’ created a service that will help make Crowdfunding more popular throughout the continent.
How it works
The 30-second pitches of prospective fundees will be displayed for potential backers, as is the standard for existing Crowdfunders. The difference here is that backers will hear pitches over their mobiles and if they’re impressed, transfer capital via mobile as well. Founder William Edem Senyo, a Ghanaian businessman with a background in banking, social work and non-profit’s, saw the potential for on-line projects like Kickstarter and GoFundMe to make it big in Africa where entrepreneurship is often the only way to generate an income. Senyo explained, “Hundreds of start-up founders can’t access credit from banks and other financial institutions” and SliceBiz cuts through this to directly the source of the funding requested which is between $250 and $100,000 depending on the investor. Small amounts can be transferred by mobile but larger sums can still be paid through traditional means if necessary.
One other significant difference in their model is that fund recipient’s will give up a stake of their business for the capital, much like what you will see happening on TV’s ‘Dragon’s Den’ and SliceBiz monetizes by asking for equity from any business that manages to raise capital through the service. A major hurdle will be getting Ghana’s financial regulator to approve the model but hopefully with attention growing around the ‘Apps4Africa’ winner this should be just a matter of time.