eLaunchr – The Crowdfunding Platform for African Startups & Social Enterprises
Since the dawn of the century, there has been very rapid growth across Africa. It is no surprise Africa has become a continent of innovative entrepreneurs, each with their own vision or idea waiting to be realised.
But no idea, no matter how great, can be accomplished without the necessary funding. Due to the strict lending policies set in place in Africa, loans and grants are almost impossible to come by for African start-ups, with no other real option for financial backing. That is where crowdfunding plays a key role.
Founded in 2013, eLaunchr is a crowdfunding company dedicated to raising funding for African start-ups who can’t gain access to funding by traditional means. British-based Nigerian serial entrepreneur, Paschal Amaechi, founded this company with the aim of overcoming this financial drawback faced by African start-ups and social enterprises. His underlying reasoning being “empowering Africa and Africans to take ownership of reaching her potential and contributing more meaningfully to the Global Economy by supporting African Startups and Social Enterprises; while de-emphasizing the dependence on aid in Africa as a means of sustainable development”.
Crowdfunding is the process of collecting funds from the backers (supporters/enthusiasts) of an initiative and using those funds to jumpstart the initiative. This usually occurs over the internet platform. It originated from the idea of crowdsourcing; the process through which an individual reaches a goal by receiving and leveraging many small contributions from a lot of parties. Crowdfunding applies the same idea in collecting funds from small contributions from various parties and uses the total to finance a certain project or venture. The contribution by the individuals as a crowd triggers the crowdfunding process and will determine the ultimate value of the offerings or the results of the process.
Each of the individual contributor will act as an agent of the offering; through selecting and promoting the venture/project that they believe. Hence, can play the role of a donor providing help to social projects, in other cases they can play the role of shareholders by playing an active part in the growth and development of the projects. Each and every person will disseminate information about the project they support using their own online communities thus generating more supporters and promoters.
The end consumer too can be motivated to contribute based on one or more of the following motivations:
- Desire to be part and parcel to the success of start-up’s initiatives (desire for patronage).
- Desire to be part of the community’s social initiatives, (desire for social participation).
- Desire to get payoff from the contributions made to the start-up (desire for investment).
eLaunchr, however, only focuses on start-ups that have significant positive impact on the community as a whole and are commercially sound.
eLaunchr as a crowdfunding platform, however, does much more than raise funding for businesses. They offer start-ups the opportunity for international mentoring, product pre-sales opportunity, networking, and partnership opportunities – especially for the internationally-minded businesses. The services offered by eLaunchr are free until a fund-seeking business on the platform successfully raises set funding amount. Registered in the UK, the company has started its pilot programme in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda.
With access to the vast Africa Diaspora community as well as the global community willing to make a social impact in Africa all that is required is for credible start-ups registered and operating within Africa. In order for these start-up to get access to the seed funding, they must register on the eLaunchr platform and follow through the guidance being given.