Airtel Ghana has shortlisted five startups which are competing for cash prizes and valuable legal, management and financial services through Airtel’s Catapult Your Business Competition.

They are: African Baby Center,  a Multifunctional website and social media platform which serves as a reference point for advice on fertility, pregnancy and baby care relevant to user’s unique environment and needs, Afrocentric bamboo bikes – a company that seeks to add value to native bamboo to address the transportation needs of rural dwellers and also produce bamboo bike frames for the international export markets and Wanjo, which makes juices from indigenous wild crops.

The rest are; Trash Cash, a mobile app & USSD platform that monetises separated recyclables from houses and monitors the collection process through independent collection points across the country and Ohema Ohene, a fashion e-commerce organisation.
Platform for young women

A release from Airtel said “The competition presents a platform for young women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to pitch a business idea for seed funding and mentorship”. 

It said a total of 10 startup companies led by young women entrepreneurs dazzled a live audience made up of Airtel staff and a panel of judges with live demonstrations of their products which ranged from making of bamboo bikes, converting trash to cash, making delicious fruit juices and chocolate and fashionable clothing from African prints and selling online.

“These 10 companies were selected by the Screening Committee from the hundreds of startups from across Ghana who applied. The field of 10 were narrowed down to the top five companies. The five semi – finalists will move to the final round and have a chance of winning large cash prizes as well as be taken through a well-planned SME programme that will equip them with the essential tools, knowledge and strategic planning advice to build their organisational capacity and position their startups to be investor friendly”, it said.   

The release said to win, a business idea had to be both innovative, executable and fell within the STEM criteria.

The release quoted Ms Winnifred Selby, a semi-finalist who started her business of producing bamboo bikes at the age of 15 years as saying that, “In order to make your business successful, you really need to think about how you’re going to execute — how the customer is going to experience it. If you need suppliers, where are you going to get them from? The more you think about these things the more successful you will become.”

The Head of Corporate Communications and External Affairs of Airtel Ghana, Mr Donald Gwira, said, “As individuals advance through the Airtel Catapult your Business Competition, they are exposed to a rigorous, multi-phase business development and planning process with deliverables due at each round. In addition to funding, winners gain valuable feedback from judges and expand their business network with entrepreneurs and prospective investors.”

It said “From bamboo bikes to making cash out of trash, this year’s semi-finalists represent a variety of industries proudly owned and led by women.”