AFRICAN industrialist Adam Molai has launched a US$1m fund to provide entrepreneurs with capital to kick-start or expand their enterprises, in a massive boost for start-up businesses in Africa.
The JUA (sunrise in KiSwahili) Kickstarter Fund will provide successful applicants with funds to launch or grow their businesses – as well as mentoring and guidance.
The entire application process is electronic and funds are expected to be disbursed to successful applicants within 12 weeks of their shortlisting, in a first for Africa.
While SMMEs are indispensable for Africa’s economic recovery from Covid-19 devastation, raising start-up capital is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs on the Continent, with banks requiring collateral that most of them do not have, studies show.
Another big challenge is the absence of mentoring. Molai, who has successfully started several enterprises across Africa and whose TRT Investments had US$125m of assets under management as of end 2019, said a desire to inspire the continent’s entrepreneurial generation was behind the creation of the fund.
“Without entrepreneurs, economies cannot grow and countries cannot advance. But African entrepreneurs unfortunately do not get the support they need to thrive for a myriad of reasons. Yet Africa is full of enterprising people.
“Wherever there is adversity, there is opportunity. Africa is rife with adversity, wherever you turn business prospects are in abundance.
Entrepreneurs provide solutions to societal challenges, whilst creating space for the advancement of their communities.
I feel that Africa is so much more open and it is full of so much more opportunity than you would find elsewhere. I want to do everything in my power to ensure that this potential is cultivated and unleashed.”
Molai said the inspiration to create the JUA FUND was to highlight the importance of African businesspeople, demonstrating their confidence in the talent and entrepreneurial capacity within Africa.
“When people see Africans investing in our own environment, they feel more confident to invest alongside us. Confidence breeds confidence. And I am nothing if not confident in the future of Africa and in what we can collectively achieve,” he said.
Molai said one of the critical differentiators of the fund would be how fast money was disbursed to successful applicants.