HiiL Innovating Justice yesterday announced the finalists for the SME Empowerment Challenge East and West Africa, an initiative geared towards finding and strengthening new initiatives that can empower startups and SMEs in the field of justice.
The finalists were selected from a list of 21 startups that were shortlisted for the voting phase of the Challenge. They are:
DIYLaw seeks to make registration and legal processes more accessible, professional and transparent for entrepreneurs seeking to do business in Nigeria by being a one-stop online portal for fulfilling registration and legal needs.
mSME Garage (Uganda)
mSME Garage provides free legal information, guidance and support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Uganda.
BudgIT highlights the challenges of doing business, government policies and data for SMEs in Nigeria with the aid of simple infographics and interactive applications.
ShopOfficer empowers SMEs by enabling them to account for every sale real-time and make this information visible to the right staff.
BitsPlatform, a software tasks platform which provides SMEs with equal access to reliable and skilled IT workers in East-Africa, and offers fair and transparent methods of payment
Atikus' mission is to expand access to credit and democratize opportunity for un(der)served individuals.
Justart: enabling young entrepreneurs quickly set up their businesses and access simplified business and legal information to help their start-up grow, including right choice of legal structure and accounting information.
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Announcing the finalists, Head of Innovating Justice Accelerator Wilfried de Wever congratulated the startups stating that he was encouraged by the enthusiasm of young entrepreneurs who work to improve the local environment for businesses. “The efforts by these entrepreneurs are a key indicator of growth. I am confident that efforts by such entrepreneurs are the correct path for the continent to reach levels of self-sufficiency.”
The SME Empowerment Challenge is an initiative geared towards finding and strengthening new initiatives that can empower startups and SMEs - specifically, innovations that address regulatory hurdles and bureaucratic red tape faced by youth-led startups in East and West Africa.
The eight finalists are expected to pitch their innovation to an audience of justice, technology, government and academia during the upcoming Innovating Justice Boostcamp in Lagos on 29 October. Here, another round of selection will be made and three of the most promising startups will be selected to attend the 6th Annual Innovating Justice Forum on 3-4 December in The Hague, Netherlands. At the Forum, the finalists will compete for seed investments totalling $70,000, acceleration support, access to funding, networks and expert advice.
A detailed list of the 2015 finalists can be found here.
More information about the SME Empowerment Challenge East & West African is available on the official website.
Photo Credit: Charles Vanpraet/ Barcroft