STEM Me In (STEMeIn), a firm supporting African technology based startups with mentorship and initial investment has concluded this year’s 12-week competitive training program with two participating entrepreneurs making it for the US$25,000 equity Investment.
The move is to revive, support and transform the interest of technology based startup entrepreneurs that have lost hope in their quest to seek for funds to invest in their businesses.
The founder and Chief Executive Officer of STEMeIn, Kwabena Boakye-Yiadom says, it is very frustrating for startups to go through a lot of stress in setting up their business, stating that some even end up giving up.
According to him, the need to create an enabling environment for technology driven startups has become necessary to help channel the ideas of young entrepreneurs in Africa into a successful business, a situation which propels, STEMeIn to provide the necessary support and training for such entrepreneurs.
Mr. Boakye-Yiadom noted how technology is very key in driving business growth in Africa, adding that the narrative about employment is changing, and a lot of people now prefer to setting up their own businesses, rather than waiting on other companies to employ them.
“When I come home and we are having a chat, you can see that the conversation is changing now. I am finding less of my classmates talking about ‘I want to go and work for the government’ and more of them want to branch out on their own to go and start a business of their own”, he stated.
He added that making good infrastructures available for entrepreneurs is one of the steps that can accelerate business growth.
Highlighting some measures taken by STEMeIn to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to build their confidence in pitching for business opportunities, he said 12 weeks of competitive training is done to assess the strength and weaknesses of about 20-30 selected entrepreneurs.
This is done to make these entrepreneurs meet the standards set by investors. The training is done with support from coaches that are well endowed with the intricacies in business startups. This same period is used to evaluate their businesses rigorously to identify its ability to meet investors’ demand.
Going forward, he said STEMeIn will continue to provide support to technology based startups, stating that the firm is adequately prepared to meet the future demands from startups. He added that plans are underway to increase the number of participants in the competition.
STEMeIn’s contributions since two years of its inception does not end at supporting startups with funds but goes beyond to help startups address challenges that the business faces during its growth.
Mr. Boakye-Yiadom stressed on continuous support that is granted to the winners aside the initial fund that is provided.
“As problem comes up, we come in to find out what the cause is. We continue to connect them to CEO’s that are interested in what they are doing then they begin to have conversations. So if there are grant opportunities, we point them out to them,” he said.
CEO for Skooqs, Dami Soyombo one of the finalist in this year’s competition sharing her experience about the competition said “the STEMeIn new venture program provided me and my company with essential skills to build a scalable Edtech product. It was a huge turning point for me as a female founder as it provided me with access to mentorship and learning materials. In the space of 3 months, we have been able to move our product from the Ideation stage to having an MVP and our first set of customers,”