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?

Crowdinvesting gets France’s “salut“

The past two months here at LelapaFund have flown by, and it’s great to blog from Nairobi again with the team in one place. We hope you enjoyed our first LelapaLetter. The next one will focus on an important part of our mission: bringing crowdinvesting legislation to Africa.

In the meantime, here’s a 2 minute recap on the new regulatory framework under which we’ll be kicking off.

France’s financial markets regulators, the AMF and ACPR, unveiled their official position on crowdinvesting at CrowdTuesday last month in Paris and rules came into force on 1 October. As a French-African platform, we’ve been studying the new framework and working out how it balances shareholder protection with easier access to finance for startups and small businesses. Overall, we think France has done a great job. Bravo!

In contrast with the current U.S. regulations, France does not distinguish between accredited and unaccredited investors. This means anyone can invest on a French platform, regardless of their wealth or experience. The onus of investor protection is thus shifted to the platform, which has to comply with a host of strict transparency rules covering risks, due diligence, investment offering material, and fee structure, as well as ensure that an investor’s profile corresponds to the proposed investment.

Getting the regulator’s approval is a hefty procedure for platforms which now have the choice of two new accreditations, the CIP (participative investments advisor) or PSI (investment services provider). The latter allows for more complex deal structures and requires regulatory minimum capital. Both require significant management experience in finance.

The message is clear: anyone can invest, but only on the very best platforms. Oh là là!

We couldn’t agree more.

Safari Njema LelapaFund

As Libby‘s journey in Nairobi is coming to an end (I’m still around and will keep running on the roads of Kilimani for 2 days – lucky guy), we start looking back at our achievements over the past couple of days.

This trip to NBO has been a giant step for the LelapaFund team. We successfully held our first meetings as a team, which involved raising awareness on our endeavor to bring access to capital to African small businesses through cross-border crowd-investing.

Not only did the various engagements go very well, but we also managed not to kill each other (…). A South African and a Cameroonian couldn’t get along better. The LelapaTeam has a strong focus on collaboration and we always keep an open spirit.

For us, these two values (collaboration and openness) are also the core forces underlying the crowd-investing movement that we hope will emerge in Africa.

Stay tuned.

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Libby & Bobok – LelapaTeam

Welcome to Silicon Savannah

LelapaFund team is in Nairobi! As we embark on our journey to crowd-invest Africa, it felt natural for us to make a first stop at the African Mecca of technology and innovation, Nairobi’s iHub. As we’re stepping into the building we bump into Erik Hersman, co-founder of mobile app Ushahidi, founder of BRCK – a backup generator for the internet, and co-founder of Savannah Fund. A very nice chat with him revealed some of BRCK’s recent production delays (we’re looking forward to receiving ours!). Now we’re heading to the 3rd floor for our meeting with Mr Mbwana Alliy, Savannah Fund‘s Managing Partner and fountain of wisdom for all things tech in Africa.

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