Ten companies from Southern Africa have been recognized for their innovative approaches to closing the financial access gap for underprivileged people as part of a World Bank-sponsored challenge.
The World Bank funded Southern Africa Innovation Bridge Portal ecosystem development efforts included the Fintech Challenge, which sought out novel and effective applications for the newest advancements in fintech through crowdsourcing.
The program aims to offer low-cost and suitable lending options for SMEs as well as de-risking and savings products for the low- and middle-income market. At a recent awards ceremony, ten startups from Southern Africa received a total of US$5,000 each to help them prepare their companies for financing.
Six of the winning firms, including abela, Bento Technologies, Fintr, Moya Money, Sum1 Investments, and Thumeza, are based in South Africa. Chaperone and Prime Capital are both from Lesotho, and Ipachi Capital and FundRoof are both from Botswana.
According to Marie Francoise Marie-Nellie, World Bank Country Director for Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa, “the region’s most innovative and impactful fintech companies unveiled their solutions to enable greater financial access to the poor after an eight-week investment readiness program that included masterclasses and mentoring.” Ten of the participating startups’ fifteen received funding. These companies are willing to continue working with potential investors and are prepared for investment.