In the era of digitally-enabled payments and the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the role that innovators can play in solving real economic challenges identified in vulnerable communities can not be overlooked.
The SADC innovation challenge which has been designed to discover and incubate promising start-ups working on solutions that impact financial inclusion in the SADC region, sponsored by Finmark Trust and curated by HYBR Group.
The event will be an opportunity for these pre-seed ventures to present their digital solutions to an audience of investors, corporate partners, government, the media as well as other interested members of the general public.
The Virtual Demo Day will be live broadcast on Thursday February 25, will mark the culmination of a multi-stage year-long innovation challenge which started in February 2020; 24 start-ups from 7 countries completed the initial phase with 8-10 teams selected per country. And eventually, four winners (one in each of thematic areas of financial inclusion) emerged from this process.
Over the course of the challenge, young innovators from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia were tasked with developing innovations that addressed four key challenges; namely SMME Financing, Digital Financial Identity, Women and Savings, and Access to Basic Services.
These challenges represent practical community problems and participants were encouraged to leverage data and data analytics to design scalable solutions.
Speaking about the intentions of creating the challenge, Dumisani Dube, Head of Innovation at FinMark Trust explained that:
“The SADC Innovation and Investment Challenge was designed to support local innovative entrepreneurs within the SADC region to build relevant solutions to financial inclusion challenges identified through our research as work as FMT.”
Three ventures prepared to showcase their innovative, digital solutions at the Virtual Demo Day as part of the #SADCInnovation and Investment Challenge.
The three ventures represents diverse sectors within the area of financial inclusion:
Digital Diamond based out of Botswana provides a RegTech solution aimed at addressing problematic issues delaying the KYC process for institutions.
MoneyChaps provides peer to peer lending services that provide higher value for receivers while increasing ROI for lenders.
PhemaAgri provides end to end services for farmers in Tanzania in an effort to de-risk the value chains.
Speaking about his experience as part of the innovation challenge, Botswana-based founder of Moneychaps, Thabiso Mabaka, said:
“SADC innovation challenge has been an eye opener in many aspects. It has really helped me to think more deeply about my idea as I build it into a fully fledged solution and business. From here there is no turning back, I am more energized and confident.”
The final events of the Innovation challenge will include a Corporate Innovation Session, to hold on February, Tuesday 23 at 3pm SAST, as well as the Virtual Demo Day, on February, Thursday 25, from 4pm SAST.
More details on the SADC innovation challenge can be found here.
About Finmark Trust
FinMark Trust is an independent non-profit trust with the purpose of Making financial markets work for the poor, by promoting financial inclusion and regional financial integration. We pursue our core objective of making financial markets work for the poor through two principal programmes.
The first happens through the creation and analysis of financial services demand side data to provide in-depth insights on both served and unserved consumers across the developing world. The second is through systematic financial sector inclusion and deepening programmes to overcome regulatory, supplier, and other market level barriers hampering the effective provision of services.
HYBR is a Pan African Innovation advisory firm and a growth platform for African impact scale-ups. We work with entrepreneurs, multinational corporations, governments, non-profits, academia and investors to scale solutions.
We scale good and beautiful solutions that solve big problems and drive sustainable impact (people, profit and planet). We focus on diverse sectors to improve access to food, education, healthcare, finance and infrastructure for millions of underserved communities in Africa.
We leverage the intersection of technology, business and humanities to solve problems aligned to Africa’s future and the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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