Lagos Bound!

Tony Elumelu, one of Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs, is giving a $100 million boost to entrepreneurship across the continent. The fund’s first cohort of 1000 entrepreneurs, selected from approximately 20,000 applications, was announced on Monday, 23 March (Forbes).

LelapaFund is thrilled to have been selected alongside such a diverse group of change-makers. As a start-up aiming to spur financial inclusion of SMEs in Africa through crowdinvestment, we share the values of the TEEP program: pan-Africanism and job creation through entrepreneurship. Lagos – here we come!

For the full list of Tony Elumelu recipients see: TEEP 1000 Recipients PDF

 

Special invitation to Kenyan TEEP entrepreneurs:

We can’t wait to get to know our fellow Kenyan TEEPers, so we’ve opened a second Nairobi Entrepreneur Meet-up on April 15th to welcome you all. Our monthly meet-ups are fun, informal info sessions on equity crowdfunding held exclusively for entrepreneurs: ask all your questions, grab some pizza and mingle with fellow hustlers. Over 60 entrepreneurs have already signed up for April – see you there too?

A love letter to the African Diaspora

At its first Speed Meet of 2015, Homecoming Revolution welcomes you once again in London on 20-21 March for the largest gathering of international African professionals, recruiters, speakers and media of its kind. It is the place to be if you’re an African seeking prestigious opportunities back home. Get your tickets.

Speed-dating is fun, but we at LelapaFund are already pretty serious about our relationship with the African diaspora.  Forget fancy invitations –

This is a love letter. 

Because, well, the African diaspora deserves a lot more love. Last year Kenyans sent home $1,4bn of their hard-earned cash, and Nigerians regularly send back over $20bn per year. As a group, Africans living abroad will inject over $40bn in 2016. We’re talking about regular people here – not investment banks.

With no incentive schemes, tax breaks or public recognition, sending cash home is pretty much a thankless task. (And that eye-popping cost of money transfer – in 2015, really?) The truth is that the African diaspora is quietly building Africa without anyone taking notice. Financial inclusion, economic development and upliftment are trophies that should be handed over to you – not Norwegian development funds or Bono.

It’s not just a story about money. Africans living in London,  Paris and New York are forging a unique identity (Afro-what?) blending their background, expertise, communities and creativity. While this might seem like a by-product of a relentless struggle of identity and integration, it is the two-way bridge across continents that will transport the global African businesses of tomorrow. With that in mind, let us use this nano-space on the Internet to appreciate the tremendous value of the diaspora.

At LelapaFund, we believe that the diaspora must, and will lead Africa’s growth. No one understands consumer trends and investment risks in Africa better than you. Non-diaspora investors must follow your lead in deciding how and where to build opportunities. Tony Elumelu agrees:

That’s why we’ve built a crowdinvestment platform for you and your friends to invest small amounts together in African companies and products that you want to see in malls and supermarkets back home.

If one in every 10 of you invested $1000 of your savings in local SMEs and start-ups, this most creative, modern layer of the home-grown economy would get a boost of over $3bn. Your potential is enormous.

We’ll be waxing lyrical about you at the Homecoming Revolution in London on 20-21 March and @LelapaFund. It’s a date – see you there!

 

Meet our team in Nairobi, Paris and London !

LelapaFund kicked off 2015 by adding two fresh new brains to its team: Serena Lolo, a Cameroonian student at Sciences Po Paris and Jerry Crossan, an American third culture kid who flew all the way from Boston, MA to settle in Kilimani, the heart of Nairobi’s startup ecosystem.

 

Serena describes herself as young future leader who is passionate about Africa and Finance. She sees LelapaFund as the opportunity to learn more about crowd-investing and African capital markets. But most importantly, she’s excited about grasping the creative mind of Africans expressed through their SMEs and start-ups. When she is not deep into Finance studies, she plays forward position in basketball. She was hired as our Investor Marketing intern.

 

Jerry is in charge of all aspects of SME Finance and onboarding, so if you’re considering equity crowdfunding for your company, he’s your guy! He was introduced to LelapaFund while studying Emerging Markets Finance at Harvard Extension School during his work building quantitative tools used for Global Equities research at Grantham, Mayo & Van Otterloo in Boston. That is how he got on the LelapaFund train and he is excited about the journey. Quoting Jerry: “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to disrupt the current fundraising environment in East Africa & beyond. I’ve had the chance to meet a wide array of exciting Kenyan entrepreneurs over the last few weeks and can’t wait to introduce them to the crowd-investing community.”

 

Come meet us in person!

 

You can meet with Jerry in Nairobi at one of his monthly Entrepreneur Meet-ups or join a weekly webinar (email Jerry at jerry@lelapafund.com with your skype ID and he will add you to the room) where he’ll explain how crowdinvesting works.

 

You can meet with Serena in Paris at the Semaine Africaine at Sciences Po in March (17th to 21st of March 2015)

 

You can meet our CEO, Elizabeth, in London at the Homecoming Revolution Speed Meet Africa in March and get a first-ever demo of our platform – yep, it’s almost ready!

 

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