Startup Somali is launching an acceleration programme for tech startups looking to become established in Somalia. The tech scene is still in its infancy in the Horn of Africa nation, following years of conflict and civil war, but the country has shown some potential for growth.

Applications for the programme are open, with the deadline set for October.

Founded by 4 entrepreneurs in May 2014, Startup Somali was set up in response to a call from Somalis in the diaspora for an enterprise led recovery effort for the country. The organization’s goal is to help startups and established companies looking to  in the country’s emerging technology industry.

Somalia has seen a return of citizens who fled the country during the civil war that lasted from 1991 to 2009, leaving much of the country devastated. Although the conflict is still ongoing, the country has seen a return to relative stability, which has brought with it some foreign investment and a return to law and order, particularly in the autonomous region of Somaliland in the north.

Startup Somali is looking to establish two hubs by 2017, one in Hargeisa in Somaliland, and another in Mogadishu, the national capital. It has also set a goal of helping 2055 startups become established in Somalia

The Acceleration Programme is Startup Somali’s first campaign, looking to establish a strong community of entrepreneurs in the war-torn country.

The campaign, as Startup Somali explains, is aiming to create sustainable and scalable business ventures that will improve the lives of the people in Somalia. The choice of startups to drive this process lies in the fact that they are agile and able to scale quickly, and with support, the young and technologically talented people who are coming back to create these startups can create jobs for themselves and others.

“There are many young, talented individuals capable of solving real world social and business problems in Somalia, but these young people are not given support and resources to develop their ideas”, Startup Somali added in a statement. “The acceleration programme will help these young tech entrepreneurs turn their ideas into marketable products and services.”

The strategy behind the Startup Somali Acceleration Programme focuses on creating innovative firms that will use technology to transform Somalia over the next few years. This way, they hope to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in the Somali region.

The acceleration programme will also enable investors, entrepreneurs, government officials, innovators and students to gather and discuss their technological ideas and then come up with concepts on how they can bring success to the nation.

The Acceleration Programme is all about connecting Somalia’s startups, helping them to become sustainable, sourcing for funds and investors, and using the funding and create successful tech firms in the region, all of this for the benefit not only of the entrepreneurs but also the country of Somalia.

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Eric Mugendi Author

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