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Boost for start-ups in Somalia as Premier Bank announces $1m fund

Storyline:Business, National News

Premier Bank has announced a $1 million fund to support tech startups in Somalia in a move that could see young entrepreneurs make a reality their dreams.

The Bank’s chairman Jibril Mohamed said Thursday at the closing ceremony of the Mogadishu Technology Summit his bank would inject the one million dollar fund into the start-ups sector to boost innovation and inspire young entrepreneurs in the country.

According to iRise Hub which is the founder of the Summit, the fund will be managed by the Premier Bank and that details regarding the investment will be worked out soon.

iRise Hub co- founder Abdihakim Aynte told Goobjoog News the fund will be a major leap for start-ups and Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs) in Somalia.

“This (fund) will catalyze and give the startups and SMEs the much needed seed investment, and will have major impact on the economic development of the country as it will create employment opportunities,” said Aynte.

As a partner with Premier Bank, Aynte added, IRise, ‘will a play role in incubating and supporting startups and SMEs until they qualify for the investment. ‘

“Our role here is to prepare and provide all the support the startups needs to qualify for this fund.”

Mogadishu Technology Summit director and co-founder of iRise says the Summit was instrumental in providing the platform for start-ups and innovators in Somalia to present their talent and creativity. “The most important aspect of this Summit was to provide innovators with the forum to show-case their talent; it gave them the space to demonstrate their creative talent and products,” said Ismail.

Ismail lauded the contribution of Premier Bank noting the fund will bridge the gap and challenges faced by many young innovators in Somalia. “Access to finance is the single-most challenge start-ups face in Somalia. Banks are risk calculators and it’s difficult to invest in ideas,” said Ismail. “The announcement by Premier Bank is a big step and we believe other banks will follow suit in supporting young people.”

A total of 42 tech companies, with 80% of them being start-ups converged in Mogadishu from October 23-25 to show case their finest and engage towards building synergies and providing opportunities for the general public to learn more about their products.

The technology summit which is the first ever in the country proved the existence of vibrant local capacity and talent among Somali youth. Speaking during the Summit, Programme Coordinator for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Somalia, Marc Boyd lauded Somali youth’s entrepreneurial spirit.

“Somali youth have the capacity and courage to be entrepeneurs. They are the Somali future. We can’t wait to see this happen,” said Boyd.