In the first few years after independence in many African countries bright students in the country’s rural areas would call for a fundraiser to help them move to the next level of education. People around the village would then give both monetary and non-monetary items that could be sold later and add to the sums raised to educate the village elites.
This culture was also used to help the sick in the community and assist in many other social aid situations. But over the years and with a lot of misuse and unscrupulous persons taking advantage of community’s benevolence, the fundraising culture fizzled out.
With the advent of technology crowdfunding, which utilizes the same concept of collecting money from several small sources to finance a project or business, has taken root once again on the continent. Several crowdfunding sites have come up to assist African startups raise funds to jump starting their businesses to the next level.
In this article we highlight the top 12 crowdfunding websites helping African startups and entrepreneurs raise much needed funding for their ventures.
Jumpstart Africa is a US-based crowdfunding portal that seeks to help African Entrepreneurs access startup funds. It aims to link African entrepreneurs with good business ideas, to people that see how these ideas can succeed and revolutionize the way the rest of the world supports Africa by backing innovative projects developed by African entrepreneurs. It is a rewards-based platform, which hopes in the long term to eventually add an equity component to its business and develop into an incubator with a co-working spaces in across Africa.
Thundafund was created in 2013 by two South African social entrepreneurs, with the intention of driving innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa, by encouraging the public to back individuals with great ideas. As much as $350,000 was raise by entrepreneurs on the platform in its first 18 months. Thundafund supports its entrepreneurs, allows only financially viable ideas to go live on the site. This explains why over 70 percent of the 150 projects (10 percent of the applications) listed on the site got funded.
LelapaFund is a French-based platform targeting Africans living abroad, who want to invest in or support projects on the continent. The platform seek to encourage Africans to invest in African projects through crowd-investing that enables the African Diaspora to invest their capital and skills back home. Co-founder Elizabeth Howard says it is viewed by investors as a cost-efficient and less risky way of getting involved in African projects.
M-Changa is a crowdfunding platform for mobiles developed by a Kenyan entrepreneur. It allows users to create crowdfunding campaigns and collects donations via SMS or online. The platform is committed to social impact and personal fundraising.
It is a Ghanaian startup that targets accredited angel investors with micro-investments from wider the community to give projects credibility. It also partners with global impact investors to help start-ups achieve funding to scale-up across Africa. Investors can fund via mobile payments, bank accounts, or credit cards.
Startme is a crowd funding platform helping entrepreneurs raise funds for social and creative projects in South Africa by encourages the funder to “be part of the next great invention, artistic masterpiece, or entrepreneurial effort – and be rewarded!”. They mostly support creatives, and non-profits.
StartCrunch is a Nigerian crowd funding website that seeks to source resources, services, idea and content from a local and foreign organizations to support single projects in the West African country.
Shekra, derived from the Arabic phrase “Sharek Fekra” that means “share an idea”, is a private investor network in Egypt. The platform works by asking its network of investors to offer small amounts of capital in order to fund a startup or a specific project, thus mitigating investment risk. Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, which ask the public to fund projects, Shekra relies on a closed network of wealthy investors.
Nigerian-based Funda Solva uses online payment paltform PayPal as its sole payment gateway. This, it says, opens up funding to the whole world, and taps into PayPal’s trustworthy reputation, building credibility for the site and each project. It accepts contributions as small as $1.
FundFind was one of the frontrunners in the South African crowdfunding revolution and wanted to be south Africa’s Kickstarter. It rose from the founders foundation to get funding for his own project. It is open to all form of organizations from charities to small businesses to creatives.