This is a guest post from Samantha English, Jump Start Africa Communications Ambassador.
A lofty goal, but it’s one to which Ahmed Zrikem has dedicated his life’s work.
Over the last 60 years, developed countries around the world have donated more than $1 trillion to aid the development of society in Africa. Without a doubt, the majority of that aid has been pocketed by corruption, and as a result over half of Africa’s population lives in unimaginable poverty.
“Real per-capita income is lower in Africa today than it was in the 1970s, and more than 50% of the population — over 350 million people — live on less than $1 per day; a figure that has nearly doubled in two decades,” explains Zrikem. “Unmonitored assistance has encouraged corruption in Africa for decades.”
Zrikem’s crowdfunding platform, JumpStartAfrica.com, will jump start Africa’s start-up scene, delivering funding and resources directly to Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs, so they can build their own better world. Jump Start Africa is currently in development, and Zrikem and his team are raising funding through Indiegogo.
Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, JumpStart Africa will not stop at simply helping entrepreneurs access funding necessary to bring their visions to life, Zrikem and his team will also provide tools to help entrepreneurs succeed after their projects receive funding.
“Entrepreneurs that promote their projects via Jump Start Africa will have access to how-to guides, counseling and mentorship for the entrepreneurs,” Zrikem explained. “We want our visionaries to have all the information they will need to help ensure their business enjoys sustainable growth. Our passion is empowering Africa’s brightest minds, and that goes beyond simply funding projects. We want to give entrepreneurs the confidence and support they will need to operate and grow their businesses.”
Jump Start Africa has partnered with incubators and innovation centers to identify promising candidates. Zrikem and his team have identified four innovators that will debut with the launch of the site:
Rose Twines, dreams of providing every home in Uganda with an Eco-Stove. This stove – powered by smoke-free, reusable rocks – allows families to cook, light their homes and charge a mobile phone without electricity. Jump Start Africa will allow Twines to bring her dream to fruition, and help thousands of African families in the process.
One out of every five deaths in children under the age of five, is attributed to water-related disease. Professor Cloete and his team at Stellenbosch University have developed a water filter that is designed to fit in the neck of most standard-size water bottles. So far, Professor Cloete hasn’t found a bacteria his filter doesn’t kill. The team has created a working prototype, but they need funding to commercialize it so billions of African adults and children access to clean, safe drinking water.
Jump Start Africa will also help Adam Camenzuli realize his dream of commercializing an affordable solar light to replace kerosene lights so many African families use to light their homes. Kerosene is a highly flammable and toxic gas, responsible for over one million deaths each year, according to the World Health Organization. Camenzuli’s solar light replaces kerosene, offering African families a safe and affordable alternative source of light and energy.
Moses Gichanga has invented a drone that flies for up to two hours at a time. This drone has been proven to effectively deter poaching, and preserve Africa’s wildlife population. In fact, the United States uses Gichanga’s drone to monitor its borders. He now needs funding to launch his business operations, targeted at monitoring Africa’s wildlife reserves.
From clean drinking water and safer lighting options, to affordable energy and wildlife preservation, Jump Start Africa is destined to revolutionize Africa’s economy. But Ahmed Zrikem is interested in much more than the platform’s economic impact.
“We truly want to empower African entrepreneurs,” Zrikem said. “We want to give these promising individuals the tools they need to deliver themselves from the strongholds of poverty, and create a bright, promising future. We firmly believe this is the most effective way to Jump Start Africa.”
Join forces with supporters around the world to empower Africa’s brightest minds by helping Jump Start Africa reach its funding goal at: indiegogo.com/projects/jumpstart-africa/x/3869675.