Two Nigerian fintech startups, Wallet, and Secapay, among other nine startups from numerous countries in Africa and beyond, have scaled through to the finals for the 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge. The pan-African group brought this development to the notice of the general public in a statement issued on Wednesday 8th August. This is the second edition of the annual challenge, and it is tailored to be a competition of the Africa-focused technology startups.
The statement also informed that an innovation fair and awards ceremony will be held in honor of the startups on the 30th of August at the global headquarters of Ecobank in Lome, Togo. At this ceremony, the startups will exhibit and pitch their products to a panel for the Ecobank grand fintech prize, after which the top innovator and two runners-up will be awarded. The top three innovators will go home with cash prizes worth USD 10 K, USD 7K, and USD 5K, respectively.
The other nine final startups include Lypa (Kenya), Nala (Tanzania), Litee (Benin Republic) SESO Global (South Africa), InvestED (Sierra Leone) Eversend (France), Virtual Identity (South Africa), MojiPay (Togo) and Awamo (Germany).
According to the statement issued by Ecobank, the bank will enroll all eleven startups to reach the finals into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship, which will run for a six month period during which the fellows will benefit from an opportunity to further explore partnerships with the bank. That will include multinational product roll-out support for the startups that are deemed commercially viable to cultivate their businesses across any of Ecobank’s 33 markets in Africa. There will also be a service provider and ecosystem partner deals for the startups that have deep capabilities to become a product partner within the ecosystem of Ecobank. There will also be technical and mentorship assistance during the six months. The fellows will benefit from the technical support the global network of Ecobank will offer through tech leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches.
The Group Executive for Operations and Technology at Ecobank, Eddy Ogbogu, said that Africa has a prideful history of innovation and that today’s fintech startups are the potential giants of the future.
Ade Ayeyemi, the Group CEO of Ecobank said that at the bank, their “Digital strategy is spectacularly successful and has changed the landscape of African banking, so it goes without saying that Ecobank sees fintech as an essential component for the economic transformation of the continent and the prosperity of its citizens.”
According to him, Ecobank wants to encourage the next generation of fintech entrepreneurs as they will be a driving force in propelling Africa into a globally competitive power in commercial services, enjoying substantially upheaved market share.
In the 2017 edition of this initiative, out of 20 finalists, the winners that emerged were all Nigerian startups. IroFit claimed the grand prize, while Kudi and Paylater came out second and third, respectively.
The Ecobank Fintech Challenge is tailored in collaboration with advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by partners across Africa and the world.