Latest Kenyan Spark accelerator by Safaricom, M-Pesa, Sumitomo opens
- Safaricom, M-PESA Africa, and Sumitomo Corporation are opening applications for the Spark Accelerator in Kenya, aimed at supporting early-stage fintech and content startups.
- The initiative was launched by Safaricom in 2014, with the goal of investing in and supporting late-seed and early-growth stage companies in Kenya.
- The first fund invested $175,000 in six Kenyan startups, including Sendy, Lynk, Ajua, Eneza, iProcure, and FarmDrive.
Safaricom, M-PESA Africa, and Sumitomo Corporation have announced the opening of applications for the latest edition of the Spark Accelerator in Kenya. This accelerator program is designed to support early-stage fintech and content startups, providing them with the resources and mentorship needed to accelerate their growth.
The initiative was initially launched by Safaricom in 2014 through the Spark Venture Fund. This fund, with a total value of US$1 million, aimed to invest in and support late-seed and early-growth stage companies operating in Kenya. The goal was to leverage Safaricom's assets to facilitate the scaling of these companies.
The first fund invested an average of $175,000 in six Kenyan startups, including Sendy, Lynk, Ajua, Eneza, iProcure, and FarmDrive. Although a second fund was announced in 2020, details about its progress were limited.
One of the defining trends of Africa’s venture capital landscape in 2022, per a Briter Bridges report, was a notable growth in the early-stage support framework available to startups on the continent, involving angel networks, seed funds, and accelerator programs. Accelerators, incubators, and pitch competitions provide crucial access to capital and mentorship to startups, and the benefits of this in the African startup landscape—which is playing catchup to ecosystems in advanced economies—can’t be overstated, especially in times of economic uncertainty.