Safaricom, M-PESA Africa, and Sumitomo Corporation have issued a call for tech startups to join their Spark Accelerator program. The program, spanning three months, offers a comprehensive package of training, mentorship, funding, and go-to-market support to propel early-stage startups towards growth and scalability.
Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom’s CEO, emphasizes the program’s alignment with their ambition to be a purpose-led technology company. Unlike their previous Spark Fund, the restructured accelerator aims to address challenges inhibiting startups’ early-stage growth.
Focusing initially on Fintech and Content startups, the Spark Accelerator adopts an ecosystem-based approach, leveraging experts versed in market dynamics and emerging tech to facilitate continuous innovation.
Sumitomo Corporation, a Fortune 500 global trading and business investment company, expresses its commitment to contributing to the development of the African economy and human resource development through the program.
Participating startups stand to gain access to technical support for developing mini-apps embedded in Safaricom’s M-PESA Super App, allowing them to reach over 4 million users. M-PESA Africa’s Managing Director, Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, emphasizes the vast opportunities for startups to connect with M-PESA’s extensive user base across eight countries.
M-PESA Africa will offer ongoing support beyond the three-month program, providing expertise, market research, insights, and capacity support for startups seeking to expand internationally.
The program concludes with an investor demo day, offering startups the chance to pitch for investment from Safaricom and partner venture capital firms.
iHUB, a subsidiary of Co-Creation Hub, will act as the implementing partner for the Spark Accelerator. The partnership aims to empower startups to shape and scale their enterprises, fostering innovation within digital ecosystems.
Additional support for the program comes from Vodacom and AWS, further enhancing the resources available to startups throughout the accelerator journey.