The African FinTech Foundry (AFF), Access Bank’s Financial Technology (FinTech) arm, has stated that its goal is to develop and grow 40 portfolios of successful technology startups in the next four years, each of which will address specific challenges with their solutions while generating significant revenue and creating jobs in Nigeria.
Mr. Daniel Awe, the Head of the African FinTech Foundry, revealed this in Lagos at the pitching of the top 10 startups that graduated from the AFF Accelerator program in 2021.
According to Awe, “In the next four years, we want to have about 40 portfolios of startups who will be addressing specific challenges with their solutions, and making money from the business that will drive job creation and employment for Nigerians and the entire world.
“We plan to further escalate that number such that in the next seven to 10 years, some of them will become a billion dollar worth of FinTech businesses. This is the kind of development that Access Bank is looking at in Nigeria. We may grow our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but we need to create new businesses in order to develop faster as a country and to further grow the Nigerian GDP and the economy.”
While admonishing the top 10 startups from the AFF Accelerator program who pitched their ideas in Lagos, Access Bank’s Executive Director of Business Banking, Chizoma Okoli, stated FinTech would continue to rule the world and would be the way to go.
She recommended the top ten startups to use the AFF Accelerator program to further develop their business ideas, as there are numerous chances available to them.
“Access Bank will help you achieve your dream through support and mentorship, we will be with you always as you grow your business and climb the ladder of success. It is true that businesses fail, but do not be deterred by the number of failures, just be focused and believe in your dreams to succeed. The journey may be rough in the first two to three years, but after the trying and challenging moments, comes success. It is not easy to grow a business to a point of success, but with the right support from Access Bank, you will surely be successful,” Okoli said.
Over 3,000 applications were received for this year’s AFF Accelerator program, which were narrowed down to 357, then further narrowed down to 70, before the top 10 were chosen for pitching and showcasing as the next FinTech companies to receive further mentorship and grow into global fintech companies.
Awe further said: “ We brought all the startups who applied and trained them for 17 weeks before the final selection process to brought out the top ten. We assembled the best of judges from investment companies as well as local and international investors and capitalists to listen to their pitches and make their choice of investments, depending on the solution that appeals to them the most.
“The investors and capitalists are looking for where to invest, and the startups from AFF is a good place to invest their money, to further develop the startups, hence we invited them to the AFF Accelerator programme to listen to the pitches from the top 10 startups. What AFF is doing with the accelerator programme, is to showcase the best of FinTech talents to the whole world as potential startups that could attract investments.”
AFF is a global forum for showcasing potential entrepreneurs. Startups require mentors in their early stages who will not only support their business ideas, but also advise them on how to make revenue and reinvest it back into the company to expand it further, according to Awe.
The startups were able to develop solutions to specific problems in a variety of industries, including financial systems, energy, education, governance, transportation, and restaurants, among others.