Norrsken has announced twenty (20) startups will participate in its 2022 Norrsken Impact Accelerator, an accelerator program designed to find the world’s most promising early-stage impact startups and help them scale.
All of the participating startups including Uganda’s Fintech startup, Emata Uganda, were selected via an open application process, and have been evaluated against the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and ranked based on the magnitude and depth of their potential impact. Unintended and potentially harmful side-effects of success were also taken into consideration, according to Norrsken. Only startups that can successfully demonstrate that impact is an integral part of their business model have been admitted for entry into the program.
“We are very excited to be selected as one of Norrsken’s 20 startups this year taking part in their Impact Accelerator,” Bram van den Bosch, CEO and co-founder of Emata told PC Tech Magazine. “Norrsken is one of the most exciting and knowledgeable accelerators globally and arguably the one with the strongest focus on Africa,” he added. “We look forward to harnessing every ounce of experience we can as we are continuing to scale up our operations in Uganda, and preparing for our East African expansion.”
The 2022 batch was selected by an expert team that includes Norrsken Foundation CEO Erik Engellau Nilsson, Capital T founding partner Janneke Niessen, Lazada co-founder Christopher Brinkeborn Beselin, Kry co-founder Fredrik Jung-Abbou, Brilliant Minds co-founder Ash Pournouri and Walerud Ventures founder Jane Walerud. The Norrsken Impact Accelerator is also supported by the Norrsken VC and Africa investment teams.
Beyond acceptance to the program itself, including an 8-week growth sprint at Norrsken House in Stockholm and mentorship from a roster of over 110 entrepreneurs, investors, and unicorn founders, with all startups set to receive USD$125,000 (approx. UGX465.4 million) upfront pre-seed or seed investment from the Norrsken Foundation.
“Our Accelerator brings together over 100 extraordinary individuals who channel their knowledge, experience and network to pave the way for early-stage, up-and-coming impact tech startups,” Funda Sezgi, Norrsken Impact Accelerator Co-Founder & Managing Director, said in a statement received by PC Tech Magazine.
Sezgi noted that Norrsken will only want to work with companies/startups that are solving real, urgent and important problems — “problems that matter.” “We believe that all of the startups in our 2022 cohort are doing exactly this [sloving problems that matter], and we’re so excited to be part of their growth journeys from here.”
Emata is an innovative financial inclusion company that uses technology to bring affordable digital loans to farmers. The startup is the first agricultural lender in Uganda to automate the entire loan process: data collection and credit scoring to loan disbursement. This allows Emata to deliver loans to the smallest and most remote farmers (even without a smartphone) with lending amounts that start at UGX100,000 (approx. USD$26).
This innovation is much needed as financial institutions across Africa are struggling to lend to smallholder farmers. Because of this farmers are often forced to resort to informal moneylenders that charge exorbitant interest rates that are too high for farmers to make productive investments in their farms. As a result, farmers struggle to achieve prosperity, and Uganda’s vast agricultural potential remains underdeveloped.
Emata has been developed through continuous interaction with farmers and cooperatives —this has ensured that important functionalities such as offline capabilities are built into the platform. In addition to this, advanced financial technology, innovative credit scoring models and automation of most manual processes will give farmers easy access to affordable loans.
Emata has received multiple recognition globally because of its innovation. They won the Best Newcomer in Africa Award at the Global Startup Awards, emerged as winners at the 2021 CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa, recognized at the 2021 Fintech Abu Dhabi Festival, and Mastermind Competition in Luxembourg, to mention a few.
Emata continues to improve its innovation and work with more and more farmers across Africa.