More youth from the Northern Province are turning to innovative startups under the initiative of Yarl IT Hub (YIT), originally set up in 2013.

They are made competitive via the Yarl Geek Challenge Accelerator which runs for six months for a selected cohort of early-stage startups twice a year. 

During these six months, the startups will be offered training, mentoring, seed funding, and networking opportunities. In doing so, the accelerator aims to help its entrepreneurs generate revenue, acquire the skills needed to build a startup, expand their networks, and to be investor-ready. 

When initial applications were called, the Yarl IT Hub received over 15 applications. Following an initial filtering, the shortlisted startups were called for an interview. Finally, six startups were accepted into the first cohort of the Yarl Geek Challenge Accelerator program. These six startups are namely Cookoo Eats, Olai Shop, HEUX STUDIO, Chicke, Treety and Thoory Store.

The Accelerator program officially kicked off in mid-2020 and over a six-month period, the startups were paired with mentors whom they had regular interactions with. At the end of this, a demo day was held where the startups pitched their businesses. 

The event saw 50 investors and well-wishers from several countries. With its first cohort having graduated from the program, the YGC Accelerator has already kicked off its second cohort with nine startups now going through the program.

YIT says over the years talented youth from the Northern Province have been entering the local IT industry. To realise the underlying potential for this part of the island to be the next Silicon Valley, the YIT was formed. 

YIT was initiated with the goal of inspiring, supporting, and fostering the upcoming generation in the north in the fields of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. In their own words, “Its operations are carried out by the community, for the community”, on an entirely not for profit basis. They aspire to empower over 10,000 students with digital education and provide at least 1,000 of them with jobs in the field of tech. 

Historically, the Yarl Geek Challenge has been a gateway for its participants into the startup ecosystem, offering the participants mentoring, networking opportunities with industry leaders, and additional resources. The competition allows them to learn the basics of generating revenue and necessary entrepreneurial skills for success. Now with the launch of the Yarl Geek Challenge Accelerator, the initiative aims to offer everything young entrepreneurs need to rightly accelerate the growth of their enterprise. 

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