In 2015, SPRING launched its inaugural programme in East Africa, focused on supporting startups improving the lives of adolescent girls living in poverty. 18 startups were selected to join the first cohort, receiving an average of US$80,000 each. A second programme was conducted in Asia.
For the third edition of the programme, SPRING has returned to East Africa, with 19 startups from five countries in the region forming the new cohort.
Six startups join the programme from Kenya: Cherehani Kenya – which provides asset financing for sewing machines; agricultural energy product producer Ecofuels Kenya; clean lighting provider GravityLight; Illuminum Greenhouses – with its solar powered irrigation systems for greenhouses; fintech provider Mode; and mobile money and smart metering for gas company Paygo.
Four startups hail from Tanzania: ICT solutions for schools provider ACTT; healthcare insurance provider Microhealth Initiative; maternal health education Totohealth Tanzania; and Ubongo – with its educational videos for children.
From Rwanda four startups also join the cohort: school information platform Academic Bridge; remote digital healthcare app Babyl; e-commerce platform for women’s healthcare products Kasha; and Resonate, providing public speaking training for women and girls.
Solar power low-income populations provider Barefoot Power and motorcycle taxi network SafeBoda represent Uganda; while primary school learning solution Accelerated, and HelloDoctor – a tech platform for accessing healthcare services – come from Ethiopia.
Sustainable beekeeping network Honey Care Africa operates across the region.
The startups have already taken part in an initial bootcamp focused on prototyping products and services relevant to the girl-focused target of the accelerator; while the next four months will be spent on research and development, including testing with users, as well as further design workshops.
The participants in September join a second two-week bootcamp to refine prototypes, business models and branding; and look at the startups’ investment readiness; whereafter the programme culminates in an investor event.