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African Impact Accelerator Launched in Cape Town to Support Ocean Economy Innovation

OceanHub Africa: Around the world, ocean-impact accelerators are emerging as societies start to realise the importance of focusing efforts and investments towards healthier oceans.

The vibrant city of Cape Town is well positioned to lead this exciting revolution on the African continent for a number of reasons: it is strategically situated, virtually at the crossroads of three oceans, bustling with marine life and maritime activities; it is home to renowned universities and research centres; and it offers to the innovative entrepreneurs a fertile and dynamic business landscape rich with multicultural and international influences. 

Taking part in this exhilarating new movement, OceanHub Africa launched last week during their Ocean Innovation Africa event, supported by Wesgro, the South African French Embassy, the University of Cape Town and the V&A Waterfront.

Fifty carefully selected stakeholders from various backgrounds including entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, ocean business owners, non-profits and local authorities gathered to co-create the initiative’s roadmap in a bid to shape a future where both humans and oceans can thrive. 

OceanHub Africa is on a mission to inspire and support ocean-minded start-ups with the express aim of nurturing an environmentally conscious and profitable economy that effectively mitigates the effects of global warming as well as the overexploitation and pollution of the oceans.

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Set to begin the program early in the first quarter of 2020, OceanHub Africa will launch with the first cohort of six local start-ups. Leveraging its highly qualified network of stakeholders and facilitators it aims to deliver to the new initiatives the following services: an acceleration program that seeks out sustainable pathways yielding stable profits (ROIs) and avenues for scalable growth throughout Africa; it will provide a physical working space, access to tailored mentorship, business and scientific expertise; access to market leads; hands-on services from corporate partners (including cloud & IT services, engineering and software suite for prototyping and testing, to name but a few) and support along the fundraising journey, from pitching to structuring deals. 

OceanHub Africa is also offering a technology transfer support program that promotes collaboration between researchers and entrepreneurs for science-based innovation.

By partnering with local universities, its objective is to find commercial use of scientific patents through the identification of transferable technologies and the incubation of selected projects. This program will strengthen the pipeline of ocean-minded start-ups and leverage the knowledge that lies within universities and research centres.

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OceanHub Africa, currently hosted by South African venture fund and technology incubator, SAVANT Technologies, will inaugurate its Cape Town headquarters in February 2020. All interested parties wishing to take part in this dynamic revolution are invited to come forward!

Calling all ocean-impact businesses looking for pathways to prosperity, all entrepreneurs seeking an equity-free acceleration program, or any impact investors interested in supporting the Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water. Now is the time to stand up for our oceans…join us!

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Plaqad Raises US$1.5M in Seed Fund, Launches Marketing Platform

Plaqad, a marketing and public relations software start-up, has raised US$1.5 million in seed funding led by its parent company, BlackHouse Media (BHM) and launched a marketing platform that lets brands advance an affordable, data-driven campaign from start to finish.

BHM is an international media and public relations company whose CEO is the founder of both companies.

Plaqad is scheduled to release its automated communications platform, built to help brands, agencies and individuals run end-to-end social and web campaigns.

According to Plaqad, it is the first solution to offer a one-stop shop for all things needed to implement a successful marketing campaign.

“Plaqad levels the playing field, giving SMBs the ability to connect to quality service providers regardless of budget, while also promoting jobs to creatives through its marketplace.”Gbenga Sogbaike – Co-founder and CEO, Plaqad

“Plaqad, a contorted way of spelling the word “placard,” is a protest against the norm, the traditional forms of communication that disenfranchise brands and people from effectively making their voices heard because of budget, location or size,” BHM and Plaqad Founder, Ayeni Adekunle said.

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Plaqad’s initial offering SocialCred’s algorithm measures real influence and minimizes influencer fraud by downplaying traditional metrics like follower count, reach and impressions, focusing instead on engagement rate, audience sentiments (positive, neutral or negative), and the creators’ ratio of original to shared posts within a 30-day window.

Plaqad sits at the intersection of technology, marketing and PR, bringing together the people, the tools, the products and the resources required by businesses to run successful campaigns on a single platform. Plaqad is an emerging global tech brand and Africa’s first-ever end-to-end marketplace and analytics platform.

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