According to the United Nations Development Program, unemployment in Somalia is rated one of the highest in the world. The unemployment rate for youth aged 14 to 29 is 67 percent—one of the highest rates in the world; women lose out more, with unemployment rates at 74%, compared to men at 61%. 40% of youths are actively looking for work, while 21% are neither working nor in school.
This new startup however, led by Mohamed Abdilahi Dahir, is just one of the many ways that entrepreneurs in the country are starting to turn the stats around. Their new project, EPocket connects mobile money users to international online banks, enabling users in the country to shop, pay their subscriptions and tuition fees online.
The team was selected to participate in the Innovate accelerator programme which received over 160 applications from Somali tech startups. The selection was based on the quality of their application, how much traction they have had, the quality of the team and the viability of the product.
Dahir’s project was selected alongside others like Guri Yagleel, an online rental and property management program; Hargeisa Daily, a media management software and Xasuus Reeb, an online wedding and event planning service. After an extensive 10 week training, the top three ventures will receive equity funding of up to $15,000.