Invest Africa: A micro-venture capital platform for African entrepreneurs

Invest Africa: A micro-venture capital platform for African entrepreneurs

GhanaEast Orange, United States
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Invest Africa is a micro-investment or micro venture capital platform dedicated to helping micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in Africa get the funding they need to expand, grow and create jobs.Invest Africa was started because while entrepreneurs sometimes receive start-up capital through micro-credit, these businesses often struggle to find funding to allow them to expand, grow and create jobs

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The establishment of viable, thriving businesses is a crucial weapon in the fight against poverty in African communities. While micro-credit provides some of those without access to bank and financial services the initial funding to launch businesses, many struggle to find the support they need to sustain and grow their enterprises. Invest Africa aims to cater to the “missing middle” of finance and serve organizations caught in the gap between microfinance and traditional banking. With traditional banks serving the higher end of the market and microfinance institutions (MFIs) serving the poorest of the poor, there is a gap in the global financial services industry where entrepreneurs and their MSEs have little or no access to capital.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

To resolve this issue, Invest Africa offers financing to existing MSEs in need of capital to expand. By providing the entrepreneurs behind these enterprises with expansion capital, they can grow their business and create new jobs. Our micro venture capital platform intends to go beyond the scope of micro-credit financing as well as traditional international investor/entrepreneur relationships. By matching targeted investors with the most promising entrepreneurs and these entrepreneurs with leading organizations and institutions in microfinance, we anticipate measurable success of the Invest Africa initiative within the first year of implementation.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Invest Africa aims to cater to the “missing middle” of finance and support African MSEs caught in the gap between microfinance and traditional banking by allowing individuals, corporations and consulting/investment firms around the world to make investments in these MSEs via a micro venture capital platform that matches promising African entrepreneurs with investors and local microfinance institutions, investments firms or NGOs. Invest Africa levies a fee of 10% on the total funds received through fundraising campaigns. At the end of the investment term, the online investors receive back their original investment plus a return on investment corresponding to the interest rates repaid by the entrepreneurs. As an extra incentive to investors, Invest Africa offers a rewards platform, designed to reward investors and to incentivize our investor referral program and various other special offers, such as lotteries. An online coaching program to strengthen the connection between investors and entrepreneurs. Our online coaching program is a way to open up a line of communication between investors and entrepreneurs as well as strengthen the path to a successful investment and enterprise. In addition, Invest Africa has implemented an affiliate marketing program in the form of an online shop whereby site visitors may purchase African and/or sustainable products from a selection of online merchants, some of which are managed by African entrepreneurs. Invest Africa plans to develop an SMS-based accounting mobile to allow entrepreneurs to report their sales,expenses and operations figures
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Invest Africa's key advantages vs. competitors: - Africa focus: Invest Africa is entirely dedicated to Africa, a continent with increasing economic potential. This focus on Africa allows us to target the African Diaspora community and thus permits a targeted communication strategy. - Micro-investments vs. micro-credit: Invest Africa offers online investors a return on their investments. - Rewards platform: Invest Africa offers a rewards platform designed to reward investors with consumer goods. - Coaching Program: Invest Africa offers a coaching program that allows investors the opportunity to provide consulting and advisory services to the business or businesses in which they have invested.
Team

Founding Story

Raised in Ivory Coast and France, Sandra Ntsonde founded Invest Africa during the summer 2011 after witnessing the difficulty to access expansion capital during her frequent trips to Benin (West Africa) where she is originally from.
About You
Organization:
Invest Africa
About You
First Name

Sandra

Last Name

Ntsonde

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Invest Africa

Organization Country

, NJ, East Orange

Country where this project is creating social impact
Age of Innovator

18-34

Gender of Innovator

Female

How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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Innovation
How long have you been in operation?

Operating for less than a year

Social Impact
What solution(s) does your initiative address to help emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and thrive in underserved communities? (select all applicable)

Access to financing, Access to talent, Access to technology, Access to economic opportunity.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Invest Africa has established contracted partnerships with local institutions in the following countries: Benin, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria. As of today, Invest Africa raised $1360 via its online platform and plans to finance an agro-processing plant in Ghana.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

As an online platform, Invest Africa will be accessible to anyone with Internet access. The platform and the team members are bilingual (English and French) which will enable Invest Africa to develop in the USA, Europe and Africa and gain millions of users over the years. If successful, Invest Africa could expand its activities in all the African regions by increasing the number local partners/entrepreneurs and set up an office in Africa.Invest Africa will track its impact through program performance indicators (total value of investments, number of enterprises who received investments, number of hours of coaching program provided...) and social and economic indicators (number of jobs created, number of local service providers who better meet entrepreneurial demand)

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Lack of repayment: While the extremely high repayment rates among microfinance clients are encouraging, there are still potential circumstances which could lead to an investor‘s loss of all or part of his/her money. These include: political unrest, currency fluctuation, natural disasters, business failure, institutional bankruptcy or fraud, etc. Invest Africa aims to circumvent these challenges as best we can with the selective choosing of our field partners and areas of operation. Lack of adequate capital
Another challenge is the difficulty to raise funds to provide funding to the entrepreneurs. The balance the risk of failure, Invest Africa plans on using various sources of funding: individuals (online investments, fundraising events), corporations (sponsorships, investments).

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Reach 1000 online investors and provide $50000 funding to African entrepreneurs

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Improve the website and register the Crowdfunding platform with SEC

Task 2

Increase number of partnerships with local partners and select projects.

Task 3

Implement an online marketing strategy to recruit targeted visitors

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Reach 10 000 online investors and provide $500 000 funding to African entrepreneurs

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Build strategic partnerships with organizations and corporations to increase recognition and visibility

Task 2

Create a foundation to increase fundraising options and manage the coaching an Fellowship programs.

Task 3

Build a full-time management team

Sustainability
Tell us about your partnerships

Invest Africa needs to create a network of reliable local partners in all the countries we operate. These local partners are microfinance institutions, NGOs or small consulting/investments firms. Their role is to identify and select the businesses, process the money transfers and implement a monitoring and reporting system with each business. Invest Africa has established contracted partnerships with local institutions in the following countries: Benin (Alidé), Ghana (VPWA), Mali (Fiinco Africa group), Nigeria (MICS).

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list