19 AUGUST, 2021


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On Tuesday, Twitter announced that its users can now flag and report certain information as misleading. Looks like the right step and a more sustainable way to keep its 353 million monthly users in check from misinformation. 

In today’s edition:

  • Meet Regina Honu
  • Egyptian transportation startup Schoolz raises pre-seed round
  • Shoprite launches AI-powered store
  • The Nigerian Startup Bill

The Ghanaian software developer teaching thousands of girls to code

The morning of the day Honu resigned from her job, she didn’t know it would happen. She was used to a certain comfortable life,

“I told my friends that I wanted to resign and they were like no, it’s a bad idea, don’t be stupid. Bonus is coming. I just had that feeling that if I didn’t do it that day. I won’t have the courage to do that again.”

So she took the jump, resigned, bought a computer and desktop to start training kids. 

It’s been almost ten years since she made that decision and it’s clear she made the right decision. Soronko Academy has trained over 20,000 young people in Ghana and Burkina Faso and connected about 5,000 of them to job opportunities.

But the road to starting Soronko Academy was paved with many obstacles and difficult decisions.

Before then, she had worked at two major banks in Ghana as the only woman in the IT department, participated in a reality show, and even almost joined Microsoft.

Once, she got everyone promoted in her department.

It’s not what you think. While sharing an awkward interview experience with a colleague, she found out that she was at a lower grade and was the lowest paid.

“I was the lowest-paid, not because I was female but because I didn’t know how to negotiate. They don’t tell women on the continent how to negotiate, you don’t ask for more. While growing up, you take what you’re given, smile, and say thank you. There’s nothing like asking for more. That’s insolent behaviour.”

Armed with this information, she requested to be promoted to a particular grade or she’d resign. Her request was granted but ironically, her colleagues were also promoted to make it seem like a general department-wide promotion. Ouch!

In this article about Regina Honu, she talks about growing up in Ghana, spending a year in Norway, her time at Ashesi University, and even her love life.


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Schoolz, an Egyptian student transportation startup, raises a 6-figure pre-seed round

Currently, in Egyptian cities Cairo and Giza, there are about two million students in private and international schools who collectively spend over EGP 16 billion ($1.06 billion) annually. 

This large demographic is the target market for Schoolz, an Egyptian student transportation platform, which has secured a six-figure US dollar pre-seed round to grow into the commercial world and deliver SaaS solutions to Saudi Arabian and Egyptian businesses.

How it works: Schoolz was founded in 2020 by Hosni Ahmed, Abdel Monsef Ismail, and Ayman Hamza, to aid the safe and comfortable transportation of students.

To streamline the student transportation process, the startup utilizes modern technologies, qualified drivers, supervisors in every vehicle, live cameras, and notifications. 

It is now planning a move into providing the services for schools, after raising a six-figure US dollar pre-seed funding round from investors from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.


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Shoprite launches AI-powered store

“We like to say we want the mind of a startup but the soul of a grocer. Our ambition is to make grocery shopping more affordable.”

Yesterday, Shoprite Group announced the launch of Checkers Rush, a pilot Artificial Intelligence-powered store that has no cashiers or checkout counters in Cape Town. Customers just enter the store, pick up the goods they want, and walk out without needing to swipe a card.

Sounds like an Amazon Go store?

Yes, it does and Neil Schreuder, Shoprite’s Chief Strategy Officer, acknowledged that in an interview. Amazon first opened a similiar type of store (Amazon Go) to its employees as a beta in its Seattle home market in late 2016, and then went on to open the store to the public in January 2018. 

At Shoprite, the concept store is the brainchild of Shoprite Group’s new division, ShopriteX, which uses data science to “enhance customer experiences”. The division was also responsible for the popular Sixty60 online shopping app, which delivers products ordered within 60 minutes.

Why Checkers Rush?

Shoprite felt it was about time to do things differently since the pandemic has changed the way we work and live. Schreuder mentioned it has 20 million South Africans swiping their cards at different Shoprite locations at the rate of 450 swipes per second. All this activity means the retail giant has almost a petabyte (1 million gigabytes) of data to work with.

Can I visit this store?

At the moment, this pilot store is only open to employees as Shoprite is still training the system. It has only 40 products and will scale as soon as the system gets better.

They hope customers will get to visit sometime in the near future as they’re confident in the system.

Will it work with an area with high crime rate?

That’s a valid concern but for now, the focus is making the system work well. After that they’ll implement appropriate security measures to reduce the risks of crime happening.

Zoom out:

Last year, the continent’s biggest retailer reported a $5.5 billion revenue (+4.7%) and $270 million net profit (+18.3%), despite experiencing a 16.7% decline in customers visits due to the pandemic. As part of measures to remain profitable, it announced that it’s discontinuing its business operations in Nigeria. 

With Checkers Rush, it’s good to see the team experimenting and looking for ways to improve efficiency in retail.


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Startup Réseau, an accelerator based in India, has launched applications for the Wazo Challenge East Africa, which provides mentorship, technology credits, and funding to selected startups.

The Wazo Challenge East Africa is open to startups that are leveraging technology and building innovative and scalable solutions across financial services, healthcare, agriculture, energy, and education. It is aimed at 18-to-30-year-old entrepreneurs from 19 countries across the UN-designated Eastern Africa region.

Interested? Apply here

The African Telecommunications Union has extended the deadline for submission of entries to the ATU Africa Innovation Challenge 2021, to 31st August 2021

The winner will receive $10,000 and the winning practice will be crowned the 2021 ATU Best Ecosystem Practice in Africa Enabling Youth ICT Innovation.

Interested? Learn more


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On the 16th of August 2021, The Presidency and members of the Nigerian tech startup ecosystem held a Ministry, Department or Agency (MDA) consultation session to review the proposed draft of the Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB).

The NSB is being designed with the hope to harness the potentials of Nigeria’s digital economy through co-created regulations. 

The session was attended by Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami and the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari among other key stakeholders.

The Minister spoke about the formation of a council that will consist of Federal Government representatives and other stakeholders in the startup community, for continuous engagement on both sides.

You can learn more about the outcome of the session here.

Visit the NSB website and follow progress on the bill on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn. For partnerships and inquiries, send an email to hello@startupbill.ng.


Written by – Daniel Adeyemi

Edited by – Timi Odueso


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