e-Commerce firm Appletree in drive to get one million African traders online

e-Commerce firm Appletree in drive to get one million African traders online
Nigel Daura, Managing Director, Appletree Digital Commerce

E-Commerce company Appletree Digital Commerce has launched the ‘Taking One Million African Traders Online’ movement (TOMATO), to unlock entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth across Africa.

“We came across some alarming statistics which inspired us to think differently about how we could provide practical solutions to help young Africans to realise their entrepreneurial potential,” said Nigel Daura, Managing Director of Appletree Digital Commerce.

According to the African Development Bank’s – The High 5 Jobs for Youth in Africa paper, of the 1.2 billion people living in Africa, 420 million are youths aged between 15 and 35. The continent’s youth population is projected to double and to be over 850 million by 2050. In addition it is projected that 10 – 12 million youth enter the workforce each year.

While the existing business models cannot sustain the projected growth in Africa’s young population, the internet offers a vast number of opportunities which can be gainfully exploited. There are only 3 million formal jobs created annually – showing the need to teach Young Africans to think entrepreneurially and take firm and deliberate steps to support small businesses.

According to the World Bank in its Exploring the Relationship between Broadband and Economic Growth paper, growth follows the internet, and studies reveal that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita growth is 2.7 to 3.9 percent higher after the introduction of broadband. In developing nations, a 10-percentage point increase in broadband reach, translates to a 1.35 % increase in GDP. Where it doesn’t create whole new businesses, broadband connectivity can lower costs and increase returns.

In response to this; Appletree Digital Commerce has partnered with technical partners that are market leaders in their sectors from around the world to create a digital ecosystem with which they aim to Take at least One Million African Traders (SME Retailers) Online.

They estimate that for an SME to setup an e-commerce solution that will actually deliver results it will cost about $5000. Most African SME’s cannot afford that; so it is in that light that they have set an ambitious goal to raise $5 billion, within the next 10 years to allow them to give 1 million African SME’s $5000 grants in the form of e-commerce solutions.

As a first step, AppleTree, with the co-operation of Zimbabwean individuals and businesses that support the vision, have put together “The Africa’s Best Jobs Crowdfund Prize Draw”, whose goal is to raise $263 Million while at the same time creating opportunities for 38 lucky individuals which will be life changing.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) in partnership with the European Commission have indicated that  the African e-commerce market could benefit by around $14.5 billion if the number of women selling on online platforms achieves parity with men. Through additional training and financial support for female sellers; the sector would expand.

“It is to try and plug some of these challenges and offer solutions that TOMATO has come into being today,” said Daura.

The grand prize is made up of the following:

  • Fully Furnished Home in the Exclusive Section of Harare’s #1 Postcode
  • An 11 Bedroomed Guest Lodge with Restaurants + $250,000 working capital
  • Brand New Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
  • Brand New Toyota Hilux Xtra Cab
  • Low Mileage Yellow Lamborghini Gallardo

There are 37 milestones prizes:

  • Brand New Fully Furnished Apartment in an Upmarket Cluster Development
  • Brand New Toyota Hilux Xtra Cab
  • $25000 Salary for a year working for Appletree Digital Commerce learning about E-commerce
  • $25000 Capital to setup own e-commerce business

For every $20 contributed to the Crowdfund the contributor will be rewarded with 4 MP3’s Hit Songs by Local Artists Tafadzwa, Mwenje Mathole and Masa Caroleen + an Entry into the Draw. 

For more information on the initiative, African entrepreneurs can vist the TOMATO website.