Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI) explored the startup ecosystem of Nigeria with the aim of enhancing it and found five (5) remarkable companies solving Africa’s most relevant problems in the Agritech, Healthtech, and Cleantech industries. In partnership with Ventures Park, ONDI and JICA spotted businesses that are building sustainable changes in the startup ecosystem and actively contributing to the growth and wellness of the continent.
In the early stages of the Next Innovation with Japan (NINJA), cohort 2, a call for application campaign that lasted four weeks was launched to search out startups that are actively bridging the gap in the cleantech, agritech, and health tech sectors. At the end of this phase, about 1100 applications were received and the search for true treasures began.
After a critical and well-structured selection phase ended, 30 startups successfully made it to the semi-final and, with further screening, 5 finalists emerged as finalists. These startups were featured at the virtual conference in partnership with NIKKEI that took place in Japan. They pitched excellently to an audience of over 5000, and it was a remarkable moment for them.
While they awaited the official launch of the accelerator program, communications and cohort bonding were initiated for easy relationship flow during the program. The 3 months NINJA accelerator program officially launched Thursday, August 4th 2022 with an orientation session facilitated by the programs manager of Venture Park - Ajibike Jimoh, with the support of Nao Fuwa of JICA, Yakubu Musa of NITDA, and their team members.
Folake Owodunni, co-founder and CEO of Emergency Response Africa was also present to share her experience and how the last cohort was beneficial to her company with the new members to prepare them for the journey ahead.
Meet the NINJA cohort 2
Of the five startups selected, three are from Nigeria and one from Kenya and Uganda each. Per sector, only one was a fintech while two agritech and two healthtech startups were selected. The name of the startups are: eCOBbA, Kitovu, Alabaster, Eight Medical and Wekebere.
eCOBbA is a platform for the world's unbanked and underserved communities that leverages community savings and lending groups to drive industrialization. Their team operates a B2B2C model with primary consumers being in the informal sector, women, youth, improvised communities, and SMEs in the agro value chains.
Kitovu is a platform for farmers to sell their harvests effortlessly and at better prices through access to higher-value markets. Farmers can also decide to store their produce in Kitovu’s storage infrastructure so as to earn more through market price appreciation.
The Alabaster team is mitigating the problem of food waste with cold technology and data analysis. They are a group of vibrant youth that seeks to reduce the post-harvest loss for fruit farmers and increase the bottom line for the average farmer.
Eight Medical (HealthTech)
Eight medical is a network of pre-hospital care professionals that provide urgent and emergency care when it matters most. They work round the clock to ensure you and your loved ones can get access to proper care in your time of need.
Wekebere is designing the future of prenatal care with technologies to help mothers and babies. The team has a proven track record of developing the most advanced patient monitoring solutions in the fields of neurology and cardiovascular disease. They are further supported by top medical advisors throughout Uganda who have direct experience in dealing with high-risk pregnancies in underserved communities and provide doctors with tools and information to better predict and manage pregnancy outcomes.
This article was provided by Agnes Adebiyi, Community Manager & Communications Associate at Ventures Park.
Contact her via: agnes[at]venturespark.com