Back in July, Safaricom shareholders approved the company’s proposal to invest in emerging startups in the technology sector through the creation of two new subsidiaries. Following this nod of approval, Safaricom has now launched the Spark Accelerator program in partnership with M-PESA Africa and Sumitomo Corporation.
This new initiative is strategically designed to strengthen promising startups by offering an unparalleled combination of mentorship, financing, and access to markets.
By leveraging the expertise and resources of these three major industry players, the Spark Accelerator aims to provide startups with the comprehensive support they need to thrive.
Spark Accelerator Program: Comprehensive Support for Startups
“We are taking an ecosystem-based approach to provide a platform for bold and visionary founders to grow and scale their businesses,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom.
The Spark Accelerator program is part of an expanding range of startup financing and support programs in Kenya. Other notable initiatives include Pangea Accelerator and StartUpAfrica, which offer valuable guidance to entrepreneurs seeking investment.
However, capital has remained an elusive resource for many startups in the market.
The Spark Accelerator aims to address this gap by delivering financing along with critical knowledge and skills training. Safaricom expressed its commitment to empower the next generation of startup founders in Kenya through this program.
Collaboration with Industry Leaders
M-PESA Africa’s involvement adds significant value, providing startups access to its vast 60 million customer, 3 million business ecosystem. “M-PESA is a massive ecosystem, and we trust this acceleration program will enable startups to create value within this ecosystem,” said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Managing Director of M-PESA Africa.
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Sumitomo Corporation also brings extensive business experience as a Fortune 500 company. “The initiative’s role in driving innovation and expanding digital financial services,” said Katsuya Kashiki, General Manager of Smart Communications Platform Business Division.
Focus on Key Economic Sectors
The Spark Accelerator will focus on transforming industries like e-commerce, insurance and entertainment by supporting startups in these sectors. The program goes beyond capital investment by also facilitating mentorship and technology access for entrepreneurs.
The global startup environment has evolved rapidly, making programs like Spark Accelerator essential for emerging companies. The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, emphasizing the need for innovation and adaptability.
Safaricom’s Commitment to Startup Ecosystem
For Safaricom, the Spark Accelerator represents a strategic shift to enhance startup support beyond purely financial assistance. By providing access to markets, capital and technology, Safaricom positions itself as a catalyst for entrepreneurship in Kenya and Africa.
The program’s launch indicates the company’s commitment to nurturing startups and aligning with the evolving business world.