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African crowdfunding platforms like Nigeria’s Funda Solva tackle lack of trust, understanding

December 22, 2014  »  Business4 Comments

In 2012, we commented on the lack of African projects on popular crowdfunding platforms Indiegogo and Kickstarter. A year later, we found a few dozen African projects to help improve ICT access and/or literacy. Many were successfully funded.

African crowdfunding platforms are starting to appear but they are facing limited engagement.

JumpStart Africa is the first crowdfunding platform to revolutionize the way the world supports Africa by backing innovative projects developed by African entrepreneurs. Simply put, JumpStart Africa is Africa’s Kickstarter. The site has yet to go live or fund a project.

Akabbo, also new crowdfunding project, launched in Uganda just months ago. Three projects are currently listed on the site but none have been funded yet.

Funda Solva, based in Nigeria, also launched within the past few months. We were fortunate to have a few moments to interview Andrew Ole who is in charge of business development for the site. He discusses the potential for successful crowdfunding in Nigeria and how sites can build trust with the public.

What are the challenges facing crowdfunding in Africa and how can Funda Solva overcome them?

The major challenges facing crowdfunding in Nigeria and Africa are trust and a proper understanding of the relatively new concept of crowdfunding. Contributors are reluctant to support projects in Africa because of a lack of trust, to combat this, Funda Solva is working hard to ensure that we verify and follow up on successfully funded projects to increase trust and safety. To further build trust, Funda Solva uses PayPal as the official payment gateway to protect contributors. We plan to improve an understanding of the crowdfunding concept by encouraging people to put up their projects, garner support and become successful entrepreneurs/project creators who are a part of Africa’s development.

We see the solar Nigeria project raised double its goal amount in September. What was your strategy for raising so much money so quickly? And how did you secure $5,000 from a single donor? How is the project faring now that it’s been two months along?

The Solar Nigeria project was the first project on our platform and a project we were very passionate about. The Solar Nigeria project was funded by the Funda Solva team as an example to future project creators about the potential of crowdfunding. The project is still in its developing stages right now and should start sales and distribution in the coming months.

Have there been other successful projects in the last two months?

No. Being relatively new we are hopeful that there would be more successfully funded projects on the platform soon. Right now, one project has received a contribution of $50 from a contributor in Canada. We are using social media to create awareness and encourage more donations from around the world.

We also encourage innovative Africans in all industries (art, music, movies, fashion, technology, etc) to upload their projects and they too can be successful, we aren’t just a charity based crowdfunding platform.

How is PayPal working for the site – is it helping with trust and donations?

Yes, PayPal is very helpful in building trust and donations. International users of PayPal can contribute easily to any project. However, PayPal is still relatively new in Nigeria and African; and has only been in Nigeria for a few months. We believe PayPal’s reputation of secure payments would promote trust and donations in the future as it remains our official and only payment gateway.