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LATEST TECH NEWS: Google launches initiatives to assist 500,000 small businesses. 3 other things and a trivia you need to know today, September 15, 2020

Google sacks newly formed AI ethics board

These latest stories from the tech space will keep you updated with trends today.

1. Google launches initiatives to assist 500 000 small businesses

In a bid to help businesses recover from the economic challenges of COVID-19, Google has launched multiple initiatives to assist small businesses, job seekers, educational institutions, and vulnerable populations. According to Google, the initiative aims to assist 500,000 small businesses both locally and across the continent. In doing this, the tech company will address the need for funding, training, and services through its tech-based and funding initiative. Speaking on the development, Google noted that part of this initiative includes the creation of a digital hub providing free tools and resources to businesses and individuals.

The initiative will further provide the selected 500,000 small businesses help to get online or improve their digital presence through Google My Business (GMB). By way of improving service delivery and communication, GMB is expected to help businesses connect with millions of users every month. Alistair Mokoena, Google South Africa Country Director explains that the digital hub aims to help small businesses transition online, allowing access to a wider customer reach and overall sales.

2. Kenyan fintech startup Zagace raises $16.7m seed round

After four years seeking investors for funds, Kenyan fintech startup Zagace has announced raising a US$16.7 million seed round. The funding comes on the heels of its plans to expand across the world. Founded by Mubarak Muyika in Kenya in 2013, Zagace provides software packages composed of accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, sales, marketing, stock management and storage. As a platform targeting micro-businesses with 10 employees or less, Zagace’s core product; the Zagace Web Platform has, according to claims, grown into an application store with distribution of products mainly through product APIs, a digital distribution platform and a development platform.

Industry insights revealed that as of December 2019 the startup had over 1.5 million account subscriptions for its different products from 20,000 small business customers in over 30 countries. Speaking on its funding traction, Zagace noted that it began its capital raise in 2016, and now raised US$16.7 million. On its list of investors, Tim Draper-backed DraperDarkFlow, BlackRock Capital, Dubai’s UHT Investments of Dubai, and the San Francisco-based P Management 415 Inc. participated. Meanwhile, the round also saw the participation of a host of other minority shareholders. Following this raiser, the company noted that it is working to scale its platform to more markets in Africa.

Tech Trivia:

Which tech company shares name with an American inventor and engineer?

A. Nokia
B. Tesla
C. Samsung
D. Infinix

Answer: See end of post.

3. Bestseller Foundation launches accelerator for waste-to-value enterprises in East Africa

Bestseller Foundation, a Denmark-based philanthropic organisation, has launched an accelerator programme for waste-to-value enterprises in East Africa. According to the organization, selected enterprises will be part of the Waste to Value Accelerator in East Africa, with the chance to receive technical and financial support of up to US$100,000 in the form of convertible debt, as needed. Intellecap, a partner of Bestseller in the initiative, is expected to manage the accelerator and provide technical assistance to the enterprises over a period of eight months.

Read also: LATEST TECH NEWS: CcHUB launches Music-Tech Innovation Challenge 2020. 2 other things and a trivia you need to know today, September 14, 2020

Since the challenge of climate change and environmental hazard rise, analysts noted that innovative startups have entered into the race of developing alternative solutions for better waste management to catalyse cleaner and more circular economies in the East Africa region. However, since these enterprises face multiple constraints that hamper their growth and scale, with the implications of COVID-19, the organisation via its spokesperson noted that: “We need to be much more circular and efficient in our use of resources and materials” to building a smart city. Jannek Hagen, managing director of Bestseller Foundation added: “We’re making it our problem. Bestseller Foundation is committed to supporting innovative startups working at the frontline to convert waste to value.”

4. S. Africa’s Ozow launches new payments platforms

South African fintech startup Ozow has launched a new offering tagged: “Ozow Revolution”. The new offering rolled out as two new payments platforms and zero-rating data costs to ensure all South Africans can access digital payments. Although Ozow, which rebranded from i-Pay in April 2019 as it entered into serving to assist SMEs with payments, was launched in November 2014 by Thomas Pays, Mitchan Adams and Lyle Eckstein. Speaking on the motivation of launching the starting, its founders noted that they identified a need for an efficient and secure online payment system in the local market.

Company’s database revealed that startup since inception has been funded by Kalon Venture Partners. Ozow Revolution, according to reviews, was the startup’s effort to make digital payments available to everyone and create greater opportunity to participate in the digital economy – especially for historically excluded communities that rely on costly and unsecure cash payments. To this end, the company has introduced two new online payments solutions to its platform for the South African market, Ozapp and Ozow PIN. While Ozapp is a progressive web application (PWA) that enables any customer with a bank account or e-wallet to transact without a card through a QR-code enabled payment; Ozow PIN radically simplifies EFT payments through an easy four-step payment process that can be completed in seconds.

Tech Trivia Answer: Tesla

Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.

Born and raised in the Austrian Empire, Tesla studied engineering and physics in the 1870s without receiving a degree, and gained practical experience in the early 1880s working in telephony and at Continental Edison in the new electric power industry.

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