In a recent fintech challenge, ten start-ups from southern Africa secured funding from the World Bank for their innovative solutions aimed at bridging the gap in financial access for underserved communities. The challenge was part of the Southern Africa Innovation Bridge Portal initiative, supported by the World Bank, which sought to leverage the latest fintech innovations to address financial inclusion challenges.
The initiative, led by South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, in partnership with the Department of Small Business Development, aims to create a digital platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and matchmaking among ecosystem actors in several countries in the region.
The selected start-ups, including Abela, Bento Technologies, Fintr, Moya Money, Sum1 Investments, Thumeza, Chaperone, FundRoof, Ipachi Capital, and Prime Capital, received $5,000 each to prepare their businesses for investment.
The World Bank emphasized that the primary objective of the fintech challenge is to provide underserved entrepreneurs with access to markets, business networks, and investment opportunities. The participating start-ups underwent an investment readiness program, which included masterclasses and mentoring, to enhance their engagement with potential investors and increase their chances of securing capital.
Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank country director for the region, highlighted the achievements of the fintech companies, stating that their solutions have the potential to significantly enhance financial access for the poor. She expressed the start-ups’ eagerness to further engage with interested investors and expand their operations.
The fintech challenge received funding from Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, which aims to promote fintech in partnership with the World Bank and explore untapped opportunities in South Africa’s robust financial services sector.
With the support of the World Bank and other stakeholders, these innovative start-ups are well-positioned to drive positive change and improve financial inclusion in the region by leveraging the power of fintech solutions.