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MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme set to boost prosperity of African SMME

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At a time when unemployment challenges and economic instability are high, small and medium-sized businesses (SMMEs) are proving to be the engines of economic growth and job creation throughout the African continent.

In recognition of the critical role SMMEs play, MultiChoice launched the MultiChoice Africa Accelerator programme which trained 29 businesses across 9 African countries in key entrepreneurial skills.

As the second leg of the programme, a panel of experts has selected 11 of the most promising small businesses and invited them to pitch to prospective international investors in Dubai.

“There’s no denying the impact African SMMEs have on job creation and economic growth,” says Fhulufhelo Badugela, MultiChoice Africa CEO. “Through the MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme, our vision is to take that impact and multiply it beyond what our start-up founders ever believed possible. I have no doubt these small businesses will be able to take everything they’ve learned so far to unlock transformative business funding.”

The MultiChoice Africa Accelerator programme, the brainchild of the MultiChoice Group and part of the MultiChoice Innovation Fund, in collaboration with Dubai-based business incubator Companies Creating Change (C3), technical partner EOH, and Galelo Africa, has been designed as a platform to help grow start-up businesses from across Africa.

The programme specifically targets start-ups and small businesses in the technology sectors of health tech, agritech, fintech, edutech, the circular economy, and creative industries.

“The quality of the submissions this year was high. It confirms our view that Africa has enormous potential. The specific focus on tech industries allows us to showcase the innovation of Africa to the world, but also enables these businesses to develop tech solutions to real societal problems,” continues Badugela.

The first phase of the MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme saw public and private-sector partners in each country nominating businesses or entrepreneurs for the programme. From there, 29 of the start-ups embarked on an intensive virtual training course during December 2022 and in Johannesburg.

The 11 start-ups attended a dedicated boot camp in Lusaka, Zambia to learn more about how to shape their story for international investors, and to get “pitch ready” before their big presentations.

The 11 start-ups shortlisted to present their business plans to a panel of investors for this year’s MultiChoice Africa Accelerator Programme are:

  1. Tupuca from Angola

Tupuca is an on-demand quick-commerce platform and logistical aggregator of uber-like drivers that allows users to order from multiple vendors and service providers ranging from restaurants, grocery stores, small retailers and courier services.

  1. Taskmoby from Ethiopia

Taskmoby is the first digital marketplace in Ethiopia that connects customers with qualified home services providers (e.g. plumbers, cleaners, electricians), leveraging a mobile application, SMS/USSD solutions and a dedicated call center.

  1. StarNews Mobile from Ivory Coast

StarNews Mobile is a pan-African media-tech company whose mission is to give financial freedom to African creators from the distribution and monetization of their digital content globally.

  1. Tendo from Ghana

Tendo is a social commerce platform that enables anyone to sell online with zero capital. 

  1. Zuri Health from Kenya

Zuri Health is a virtual hospital (Super Health App) providing affordable and accessible healthcare services to patients across Sub-Saharan Africa via mobile app, website, WhatsApp bot and SMS service.

Through the app, patients can chat and consult with doctors, buy medication from pharmacies, book labs and diagnostic tests and even have a doctor visit them at home.

  1. Dojah Inc and Crop2Cash from Nigeria

Dojah Inc is an end-to-end Identity verification and compliance framework to strengthen confidence, credibility, and compliance across digital businesses.

At Crop2Cash, we have built a digital financial service that allows smallholder farmers anywhere in Nigeria to open a bank account on their feature phones in under 2 minutes, with no internet required.

  1. MaTontine from Senegal

MaTontine is a digital financial services platform.

It digitise traditional, African savings groups to provide access to financial services for financially excluded women in Africa.

  1. Botlhale AI and Gradesmatch South Africa

Botlhale AI builds Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools for African languages. Developers and organisations can integrate any of these tools into their solutions through its APIs.

Gradesmatch helps students (and families) to transition from education to economic opportunity by making the journey as simple as possible. The company builds the core enabling infrastructure that simplifies the journey from education to economic opportunity.

  1. Mighty Finance Solution from Zambia

Mighty Finance Solution provides SMEs in emerging markets with seamless credit and financial solutions using artificial intelligence. The company leverages proprietary credit rating algorithm to pave the way for a unique lending experience and transforming lives through the provision of simple, quick and affordable loans.


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Henry Naiho Bags Outstanding ICT Solutions, Innovation and Youth Empowerment Personality of the Year Award

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An IT egghead / expert who has contributed immensely to the development of the sector in Nigeria and beyond has emerged winner of outstanding ICT Solutions, Innovation and Youth Empowerment personality of the year award at this year’s Africa’s Beacon of ICT Merit and Leadership Award.

Henry Nwapali Ndidi Naiho emerged winner of the highly coveted African Beacon of ICT Merit and Leadership award of Outstanding ICT Solutions, Innovation and youth Empowerment Personality of the Year award in recognition of his outstanding contributions, mentorship and innovative support and contributions to the ICT space in Africa and Nigeria by African foremost and leading ICT paper.

The event held on Saturday 25th May at Four Points by Sheraton was themed: “Artificial Intelligence: The Good, The Complex and The Anticipated”.

While receiving the award Naiho said: “l dedicates this award to my family and the teeming youths that sees me as their role model and mentor. ‘’Your believe in me, is your calls and shout outs that fire me up the more. He said excitedly.”

Henry Naiho is an experienced technology business leader with strong IT and Telecommunications technical knowledge, UX/UI and entrepreneurial mindset,; he has over 26years cognate experience in ICT, with  high expertise not limited these areas: Project, Programme & Portfolio Management, Customer and User Operations Management, ICT, Transmission, BSS, Software Development etc., Network Planning, Implementation, Operations & Maintenance, Stakeholder Engagement and Management, Team Build, Performance and Management, Business Processes, Analysis & Analytics.

He had an enviable work stint so far, here are some select positions with organizations, he was the Senior Project Manager (IT), Sasol Plant) South Africa, Group Lead, Technology Transformation & Operations, Userlytics Group, South Africa, Regional Operations Manager  (South Africa & Africa Operations): Stratosat Datacom Pty Ltd, South Africa, Quality Management (Projects & Operations).

He was also at Zain Mobile Limited, West Africa (AKA Airtel Africa) as the Regional Manager, Transmission Network implementation & Operations. Regional Transmission Engineer, (Implementation, Operations & Maintenance): Globacom Limited, Nigeria. Naiho’s diverse academic background in physics, Tech-management and vendor-specific certifications, has equipped him with uncommon expertise to provide cutting-edge solutions to clients across various sectors.

His entrepreneurial spirit, driven by a desire to provide solutions to human needs, empower the youths which he said is fire in his bone, has led him to represent top brands like Ericsson, Huawei, Motorola, and Microsoft.

Through his brand, Naiho offers a range of services, including business processes, human capital development, business research, technology harnessing, and corporate sustainability solutions. He has continuously updated his skills to ensure his brand remains relevant, meeting and exceeding client needs for best satisfaction and experience. Naiho’s achievements are a testament to his dedication and expertise. He has implemented numerous solutions using technology to streamline business processes, improve efficiencies, and effectiveness.

He attributes his success to his ability to be resilient, tunnel vision, flexible, and adaptable, qualities he believes are essential for thriving in the industry.

According to him, “As a Fibre optics engineer, I have published research papers on Fibre optics resilient and solutions for survivability.

“ I have also obtained 5G certifications, demonstrating my commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest technologies.”

He added that his expertise in process improvements, operations management, and technology has made him a sought-after professional in his field.

His Counsel for Youths seeking a career in ICT: Naiho’s advice to youths seeking a career in this field is straightforward: “Pursue your passion, invest in continuous learning, and seek ways for continuous improvements.

“The industry offers opportunities for growth and development, and with dedication and hard work, you can build a successful career like mine.”

As a role model, Naiho’s career trajectory serves as an inspiration to youths, demonstrating that with hard work and determination, they can achieve their goals and build a successful career in the IT, Telecommunications, Quality, and Operations Management industry.

Speaking at a recent press conference, Naiho emphasized that the adoption of innovative technological solutions is no longer optional but essential for businesses seeking to enhance efficiency and maintain a competitive edge.

“Technology offers a plethora of tools designed to optimize business operations, eliminate bottlenecks, and improve overall efficiency,” said Naiho. “Organizations that fail to integrate these tools into their processes risk falling behind their more tech-savvy competitors.”

Naiho highlighted several key areas where technology can significantly impact business processes, including automation, data analytics, and cloud computing.

Automation, he noted, can take over repetitive tasks, freeing up employees to focus on more strategic activities. “By automating routine tasks, businesses can reduce human error, save time, and increase productivity,” he explained.

Data analytics is another crucial area where technology can drive substantial improvements. “Businesses today generate vast amounts of data. Properly analyzing this data can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, operational inefficiencies, and market trends,” Naiho pointed out.

He added that using advanced analytics tools can help businesses make more informed decisions and tailor their strategies to better meet customer needs and expectations.

Naiho also emphasized the importance of cloud computing in streamlining business processes. “Cloud-based solutions offer flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency. They enable businesses to access their data and applications from anywhere, facilitating better collaboration and continuity,” he said.

To maximize the benefits of these technologies, Naiho urged businesses to be adaptable and open to change.

“The key to leveraging technology effectively is to remain flexible and continuously seek ways to improve. This requires a culture that embraces change and encourages innovation,” he stated.

Also, Naiho called on regulatory bodies and the government to support the technological advancement of businesses by creating conducive policies and infrastructure.

“The government and regulators play a crucial role in fostering an environment that supports technological adoption. By engaging with industry stakeholders and aligning policies with technological advancements, they can help businesses thrive,” he remarked.

Naiho’s insights shed light on the imperative for businesses to leverage technology to streamline their operations.

His call to action serves as a timely reminder that embracing technological innovation is critical for achieving operational excellence and long-term success.

With a PhD (in view), Fellow of some prestigious institutions, Post graduate in Business Administration, Strategy, Management and Programme Management, and a B.Sc in Physics garnished with industry specific certifications in SAP, TOGAF Standard 9.2 complete, 5G Technology, Architecture and Protocols, 5G Planning and Design, 5G Open RAN and Private Networks, Design Thinking, User Research, User Experience Management, User Accessibility, Product Management, AWS Solutions Architect , ISO QMS 9001:2015, ISO OHAS 45001: 2018 and lots of other vendor specific (Ericsson, Huawei, Harris etc.).


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Zoho Partners with She Code Africa to Empower and Upskill Women Through Specialised Training on Zoho Creator

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Zoho, a global technology company, is partnering with She Code Africa (SCA), a leading non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering and upskilling African women in tech. With this partnership, Zoho will conduct Train the Trainer sessions for SCA Academy trainers to introduce them to Zoho Creator, the company’s low-code app development platform.

Maryblessing Okolie, Community Manager, She Code Africa (SCA).

These trainers will subsequently train more students, associated with SCA, to build powerful applications using low-code to solve actual business problems.

The upskilling sessions will be provided as part of the ‘Young Creators Program’ (YCP) run by Zoho Creator. As part of the program, Zoho will host 30 female trainers from the SCA Academy and will conduct a three-day in-depth training session about building enterprise-grade applications with low-code technology.

The training will take place at the Zoho office in Lagos, Nigeria. The trainers will also receive free access to the Creator platform for one year, along with training material.

“At Zoho, we believe in supporting local communities by upskilling and hiring local talent, empowering local businesses with our technology, and promoting responsible and sustainable development.

“Our growth strategy, known as transnational localism, embodies these values. In continuation of this commitment to support progress at the grassroots, we are partnering with She Code Africa to equip Nigerian students with critical tech skills,” said Kehinde Ogundare, Country Head, Zoho Nigeria.

“The ‘Young Creators Program’ aims to bridge the technical skill gap and support talent-building for our youth who will be the next generation of leaders and professionals.

“We are glad to partner with Zoho to help our trainers learn the latest advancements in low-code technology, and then pass on the knowledge to our other students,” said Maryblessing Okolie, Community Manager.

Launched globally in 2022, the Young Creators Program is a training program aimed at equipping future business leaders with advanced digital skills and fostering innovation in technology. The program brings value by providing access to Zoho Creator’s powerful platform to help participants build custom applications in a simple and seamless manner without extensive programming knowledge.

Beyond skill development, the program boosts confidence, fosters personal growth, and opens doors to further opportunities in the technology industry. The program has trained more than 2000+ students on Zoho Creator globally, enabling participants to earn program completion certificates and exciting prizes.


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Defend Your Skin Against Climate Change with QNET’s Revolutionary Visage+ Device

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QNET, a global leader in lifestyle and wellness-focused direct selling, proudly celebrates the success of its groundbreaking Physio Radiance Visage+ Facial Device. This state-of-the-art skincare solution leverages four advanced technologies to combat signs of aging and revitalise the skin, directly addressing the rising concerns over climate change’s impact on skin health.

As global temperatures rise and weather patterns become more extreme, our skin faces unprecedented challenges.

According to studies from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), climate change is altering water availability and humidity levels, crucial factors in maintaining skin hydration and health.

These environmental shifts can lead to increased dryness, sensitivity, and premature ageing of the skin.

The Physio Radiance Visage+ offers a powerful defense against these climate-induced skin issues by integrating four distinct technologies

1. Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS): Tightens skin and reduces facial fullness for a more sculpted appearance.

2. Radiofrequency (RF): Stimulates collagen and elastin production, diminishing fine lines and improving firmness.

3. Chromotherapy (Light Therapy): Rejuvenates and repairs skin cells, enhancing overall skin appearance.

4. Galvanic Technology: Deeply purifies and hydrates the skin for a radiant complexion.

Trevor Kuna, Chief of Marketing at QNET, highlights the transformative benefits and timely significance of the Physio Radiance Visage+: “In today’s rapidly changing climate, skincare isn’t just about beauty—it’s about protection and resilience.

“The Physio Radiance Visage+ represents a significant leap forward in addressing both the visible signs of aging and the invisible threats posed by environmental stressors.

“By harnessing four cutting-edge technologies in one device, we’re empowering users to take control of their skin health.

“It’s not just a beauty tool; it’s a shield against the skin-damaging effects of climate change, offering personalized care that adapts to individual needs and environmental conditions.

“With the Visage+, we’re redefining skincare for the modern age, ensuring that radiant, healthy skin is achievable for everyone, regardless of external challenges.”

Climate change has been linked to increased UV radiation exposure, air pollution, and extreme temperature fluctuations, all of which can accelerate skin ageing and damage. The Physio Radiance Visage+ is designed to counteract these effects, offering a comprehensive solution to maintain skin health in the face of environmental challenges.

Its portable design and customisable settings make it an ideal addition to any skincare routine, allowing users to combat environmental stressors and maintain healthy, vibrant skin wherever they go.

By incorporating the Physio Radiance Visage+ into their daily regimen, users can take proactive steps to protect and nurture their skin against the ongoing impacts of climate change.

 


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