Registering your Start up; a peep into the 2 day mini accelerator for our pilot class

July 30, 2018

We used the Berlin Room at Metta Nairobi
At the beginning of the year, we ran a 3 day pilot accelerator where, among other things, the participants got to define the problems in the mental health space in Africa that they’d like to solve and picked out one idea that they would test for viability. They had 5 months to research, define their projects, develop their customers/audience and test for viability. 

By the end of May, most of them had successfully tested their ideas and gotten some lessons that helped in determining which direction they would like to go with their projects. They were also curious about the options they had with regards to registering their start ups, how to raise seed money to farther test their ideas and how to create content for their work. 

Because The Mental Health Academy’s (TMHA) core business is to provide skills, resources and community to early stage mental health service providers in Africa so that they can make an impact in the space and make a living from their work, we curated a mini accelerator (3 hours for 2 days) for them to get those questions answered by experts within our network. As usual, Metta Nairobi, offered their amazing space.

#tmhabysitawa 's 2 day mini #accelerator (additional learning) for the January 2018 Class kicked off this afternoon. -- When I hosted the first accelerator for this group at the end of January this year, the fellows just had rough ideas of how they'd like to make an impact in the #mentalhealth space in Africa and didn't know how to go about gives me so much joy to see how far they have come in the 5 months we have worked together. --- Special shout out to all the facilitators who will be sharing their time and skills with my fellows during this 2 day mini accelerator and to @wearemettanbo for always opening your doors to us. -- Visit to learn more about the program whose vision is to develop the next generation of #mentalhealth champions in Africa by providing them with skills, resources and community. --- #weaccelerateAfrica #mentalhealthinAfrica #mentalhealthstartups #SitawaWafula #ConsultantLife #MentalHealthConsultant
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So what registration options does a mental health startup have? 
Registration options for a mental health start up are more or less the same as those of any other start up. The structure ones opts for depends on what the intentions of the start up are. 

There are two main ways to go - for profit and nonprofit - each with its own limitations and advantages. 

For profit options include; 

Sole Proprietor (One person show) 
  • Easy to open and operate - owner makes all decisions there and then 
  • The person is the business therefore assumes all liability ie your personal assets are sort of the business assets incase of any claims 
  • Succession might be tricky especially if one does not have well laid structures and succession plan 
  • Registration is done at registrars and involves getting a business name and checking for its availability, paying for registration and using your PIN to file returns. 
Partnership (Two to Fifty people)
  • Two or more people (upto 50) come together and contribute towards the capital (their contribution determines their shares) 
  • Just like the sole proprietor, the owners/partners assume liability 
  • Decision making might take a little longer, unless assigned to specific partners
  • Registration is done at registrars and involves coming up with a partnership deed spelling out among other things shares and operations/decision making processes as well as share divisions and buyouts 
 Company Limited by Liability (LTD)
  • Needs directors - You can be a sole director 
  • Unlike a sole proprietorship and partnership, the people ie directors are separate from the business therefore all liabilities are limited to company 
  • Hard to get grants as the money might be subjected to taxation 
  • Registration is done at registrars and involves coming up with articles of association spelling out among other things shares 
Not for profit options include;

Self help group (Suitable for small groups in a village coming together to improve their village) 
  • Limited on how much donation/grants you can get 
  •  Sometimes limited on how far your work can go (village/district) 
  • Registration is done at chief’s office and involves coming up with a group constitution and signed membership list 
Community Based Organizations (CBOs) - A step up from self help group 
  • Limited on how much donation/grants you can get 
  • Sometimes limited on how far your work can go (scope a little wider than self help group) 
  • Registration is done at the constituency office and involves coming up with a group constitution and signed membership list 
Company limited by Guarantee/Trust/Foundation 
  • Just like a company limited by liability only difference is it can accept grants and it cannot take out profit ie profits not divided amongst shareholders but instead brought back to organization 
Non Governmental Organization (NGO) - Older sibling to CBO 
  • Not limited on how much donation/grants and scope of work 
  • Can take upto 12 months to register after filing in the NGO board paperwork. 

 *This information applies to most countries in Africa, the names of the different structures and requirements might differ slightly. 
*Before registering, get the proper information on the various equivalents in your country as well as costs and also have a lawyer at hand for the drafting. 
* Also note that it is possible to move from one structure to another as the startup grows and has better understanding of its customers/audience and their needs and how best to serve them.

The other things they learned during the mini-accelerator include crowdfunding - read this previously done post Crowdfunding 101 for early stage start ups -  and content creation. As a follow up to the mini-accelerator, the fellows decided to come up with a joint project that will be announced as soon as all the back end logistics are done which puts the lessons from the mini accelerator into practice.

PS::: Beside our January/Pilot Class and our June Class, we also work with individuals and organized groups. If you would like to know how, use the contact form on our website and you will get a free consultation call through which we will figure out what your needs are and how to support you as you make impact in the mental health space in Africa and earn from your work.

I leave you with Orezi, one of our ‘individual/private students’ from Nigeria. 

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