Somaliland: Creating Space for Budding Entrepreneurs to incubate and Accelerate Innovations @ Guul Group

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Somtel introduces its 4G LTE Mobile WIFI internet service to tech savvy Somaliland youths at the Hargeisa International Book Fair 2015

Somalilandsun – Guul Group a locally owned business facilitation firm based in Hargeisa and London aspires to tap into the $360m a year from Tech Start-ups with the aim to create a unique space for Somaliland youth entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas, as well as share skills while providing a platform for playing a role in incubating and accelerating innovations & business ideas in Somaliland

Innovation and technology filled the void left by the absence of formal banking infrastructure In Somaliland, through mobile money platforms such as Zaad and E-Dahab up until the launch of Dahabshiil International Bank and Salaam Bank.

In February 2014 estimates of mobile phone ownership among adults in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is estimated to be 66 percent. For many people, mobile phones are more than a communication tool; they are a technology platform that provides access to other services and experiences such as money transfer, entertainment, and education. As a consequence, tech entrepreneurs have seized this opportunity to provide tools and applications relevant to Africa. The rise of such start-ups has attracted foreign venture capitalists (FVCs) from outside Africa.

In 2010 Ismail Ahmed founded WorldRemit, an online service that allows users to send money internationally via a PC or phone. Today, more than 250,000 transactions flow through the system every month. This has further been developed following an investment of £40 million from Accel Partners, a venture and growth equity firm.

Somaliland should take a leaf out of neighbouring Nairobi’s innovation hubs for the technology community; where technologists, investors and tech companies meet. Kenya’s fast growing IT sector, dubbed Silicon Savannah, already accounts for 5% of the country’s GDP. Its technology exports have soared from $16 million to $360 million in the last decade. Much of these exports are born in tech hubs and incubators such as Ihub.

Such start-up hubs in Somaliland would allow talent to combine entrepreneurship with technology whilst providing an environment where the youth are focused on solving local problems through local solutions. Entrepreneurs in Somaliland are now creating technology that is improving the lives of the underserved; inventions that improve access to energy, increase agriculture productivity, financial inclusion, education and health. Somaliland is becoming a nation of entrepreneurs and the government needs to encourage and commit to home-grown start-ups, specifically the youth for it can create jobs therefore reduce migration.

With the successful launch of Somcable and the era of digital age could give young entrepreneurs the opportunity to create new businesses and reduce the staggering un-employment rate. There are already existing software companies creating hospital management systems, e-government solutions, online trade directories, web and graphic design companies as well as online learning solutions such as Somali Baro.

Guul Group aims to create a unique space for youth entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas, as well as share skills while providing a platform for playing a role in incubating and accelerating innovations & business ideas in Somaliland. We’d like to attract the likes of Google, Oracle, Intel, IBM, Nokia, Samsung, and Microsoft, (Bill Gates has already applauded Telesom’s Zaad services), to set up research labs or to support tech hubs.

Guul Group’s entrepreneurship and business facilities are already supporting entrepreneurs and investors to turn ideas into successful businesses, through a range of activities which include access to company resources, expertise and 6 fully equipped offices in the heart of Hargeisa. Tawakal Livestock Company has received $0.5 milion matching funding from African Enterprise Challenge Fund to employ 120 and benefiting 2000 households in Somaliland. Pontus Marine PLC was in its infancy in 2013 when the Group was contracted to facilitate the $5 million investment opportunity; this fisheries company is now fully operational ; this fisheries company is now fully operational.

For information: http://guulgroup.com/business-facilitation.html 

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