Five Zambian Fintech startups have been selected for the first FinTech4U cohort out of the 35 that submitted applications.
The five are part of the first cohort which will receive funding – up to $3000 – to pilot and improve their products for the Zambian market and beyond. They will also receive technical assistance and support from BongoHive, UNCDF and regulators such as Bank of Zambia, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Zambia Information Technology and Communication Authority.
The startups will graduate from the program in April and include:
SafePay Zambia offering a platform that protects subscribers through prepayment (savings) and pooling of resources (insurance) for access to good quality healthcare.
Digital PayGo offering a shared platform for mobile merchant payment systems (QR code) and agent banking. The shared platform will provide shared agent banking and QR code solutions with an open API technology for faster integrations and other back end processing capabilities.
Aretech offering a service called Bwino that gives clients access to medical schemes and credit for healthcare.
EduPay offering a service that provides access to affordable, flexible and convenient credit known as Edu-Loans that are conveniently managed either from a mobile phone or computer.
Virtual Space offering Mangwee Payments that is a safe and secure electronic wallet service, available in many parts of Zambia through a network of outlets and agents.
“We received an astounding number of applications and were blown away by the incredible work happening across the country,” said John Zgambo, FinTech4U Project Manager at BongoHive.
“The number and variety in the applications reaffirmed my belief that Africa is the new ground zero with innovation and technology. Zambian FinTechs are thinking of innovative ways to provide services and products which are able to address the needs of normally marginalised Zambians — rural population, women, youth e.t.c., and it’s very exciting,” said Kilyelani Kanjo, UNCDF Digital Financial Services Expert.
The FinTech4U Accelerator Programme was initiated in response to a series of challenges that fintechs and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) face when entering the market. These challenges vary from a lack of opportunity to test-pilot their innovations with a reputable partner to fine-tune their product for the market; to limited ability to connect and partner with more established DFS entities and providers; to limited ability to navigate the regulatory gaps to ensure their product can successfully hit the market, and a lack of understanding of the real challenges customers face thus producing products that are not aligned with market needs.
By working with these FinTechs, UNCDF and BongoHive aim to bring a more developed suite of digital financial products to the market and improve the services available to Zambian customers in urban and rural locations. Strengthening the five FinTechs in the Accelerator Programme will contribute to a stronger infrastructure to support the digital economy and improve the livelihoods and opportunities for Zambians.
“As a start-up with huge ambitions, taking part in the accelerator programme presents a unique learning opportunity. The hands-on interaction and expert advice from the best in the industry will offer rare first-hand information that would help Digital PayGo fully launch in 2020. The Digital PayGo team is very excited to have been selected and looks forward to exchanging ideas that will drive a Digital Zambia,” said Esther Kanduza of Digital Paygo.