Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship

We’re committed to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship around the world. Here are this week’s stories on efforts to do so, including some from groups we are proud to call partners.

Safaricom links app makers with private equity investors” by Okuttah Mark on Business Daily Africa
Our biggest news this week was the launch of the Safaricom Developer Challenge called “AppWizz”. The challenge is designed for early stage mobile technology entrepreneurs working on innovative apps. AppWizz consists of an incubation program and a hackathon, all culminating in the announcement of a 1.5 KSH winner in November. Sean Smith is leading the effort and we’re very excited to get started. The goal of the challenge is to engage the local developer community in Kenya and help Safaricom earn their trust. Applications close June 28, and the incubation for selected teams will begin in August. Stay tuned for more updates, and check out the details of the Challenge and Incubation Stage on

Startups: Apply to Compete for $50,000” on Sustainable America
Our commitment to supporting technology entrepreneurs spans from emerging markets right to our own backyard. Our partner, Village Capital, is launching another accelerator program in Louisville, KY. Village Capital VentureWell Louisville is focused on startups in the agriculture and clean tech sectors. The Village Capital model is designed to allow entrepreneurs to select two winners amongst themselves to each received a $50,000 investment. Applications close on May 20.

Villgro’s SEED Program
Villgro is now accepting applications for its SEED (Social Entrepreneur and Enterprise Development) program. The 8-month program is designed specifically for entrepreneurs serving the Bottom of the Pyramid in India (BoP). Villgro helps enterprises become investment-ready with a sharp business model. Two of our portfolio companies, Simpa Networks and Promethean, have participated in Villgro programs in the past. Applications for SEED close May 17.

Youth entrepreneurs holds the key to growth” by Ashish J. Thakkar on Forum Blog
We enthusiastically support entrepreneurship because of its key role in development. The World Economic Forum pegs the rise in entrepreneurship as a contributing factor to the record-breaking growth expected in Africa between 2011 and 2015. Further, since over half of Africa’s population is younger than 35 years old, engaging youth entrepreneurs has the potential to unlock key development milestones.

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