Ecobank, the Pan African bank has announced the launch of the 4th edition of its fintech challenge for African startups. The goal of its challenge is to champion the digitization of the financial services space, by giving these fintechs the opportunity to pitch and promote their innovations. Product innovations will be gathered around a specific set of market pain points, in customer experience (CX), financial inclusion, credit scoring, ecosystem aggregation, internal tools, payments, and any other relevant product categories.
With the growth across the fintech sector, especially this year, many traditional banks are looking at ways of leveraging technology in driving their businesses and solutions. These solutions reduce cost-to-serve, increase the efficiency of transactions, and provide greater security for these financial services. In June, the Central Bank of Nigeria had announced calls for the development of a National FinTech Strategy to generally benefit users of financial services, the financial system, and the nation at large. As Prof. Ndubuisi Ekekwe opines, the fintech sector is experiencing its Cambrian moment, and while there is growth, especially in funding to scale, fintech is still dependent on traditional banking, especially in Nigeria. With a number of digital challenger banks expanding in geographic terms, and in financial valuation, the apprehension of these neobanks buying off the traditional banks, is there.
Ecobank is firming up its commitment to being ready for whatever further disruptions are in the offing and readying itself for the future.
The application period runs from August till the 20th of September, 2021 before successful ideas are shortlisted in mid-October. The shortlisted applicants get to upload their products for sandbox evaluation by early November before the pitch event on the 6th of November, 2021.
Successful startups will be given the opportunity to partner with Ecobank to scale their innovative solutions across Ecobank’s 33-country geographic spread, and to its international market in France. Apart from this benefit of a multinational product roll-out, winners get to secure tantalizing cash prizes, with the top three winning cash prizes worth $15,000, $12,000, and $10,000 respectively, there are a host of other benefits. Some of these include:
- Service provider partnerships.
- Access to Ecobank’s Pan-African banking sandbox.
- Access to partner networks.
- Integration with existing Ecobank digital offerings.
The Ecobank fintech challenge is supported by a number of partners across Africa and globally, namely Nedbank VC, ACCION, Catalyst Fund, and Cellulant. With the successes of past editions of the fintech challenge, Ecobank is confident that this cohort will help them discover highly disruptive and innovative ideas to drive growth in the fintech sector. In 2017, a participant of the fintech cohort, Finance Mobile, developed the Ecobank Investor App which was later launched by Ecobank successfully and rolled out in over 9 markets privy to Ecobank. The app is meant to help translate insights into business opportunities and investment performance metrics that will help investors to make wiser investment decisions. With the dynamic increase in fintech solutions across Africa, this year’s cohort promises to be even more interesting and competitive, as young and innovative minds come together to hack solutions to Africa’s finance challenges.
To get more information on the competition, click here.