Mastercard Start Path intiative is open to fintech and tech start-ups from Africa and across the world in a move expected to raise support for them to shape commerce by rethink banking and payments.

Applications for the next six-month virtual programme will be accepted until Tuesday August 1, 2017 at https://www.startpath.com and the programme is open to start-ups with a solution live in market, have an established and experienced team, are targeting sizeable market opportunity, demonstrable advantage over competitors and have recently secured Seed or Series A investments.

The six-month virtual programme will give selected start-ups operational support, mentorship and access to a global network of Mastercard experts, access to Mastercard customers and partners, and the ability to innovate on top of Mastercard solutions.

According to Amy Neale, Vice President, Mastercard Start Path,“African fintech start-ups are bringing fresh thinking to an increasingly connected commerce industry that relies on enhancing customer choice and experience to survive in the competitive and fast-paced digital age.”

Amy added that focus is being placed on Africa to ensure the continent is well represented, with start-ups from all corners of Africa encouraged to submit their application.

To date, one African start-up has been selected to the programme and has since partnered with Mastercard to introduce a game-changing e-commerce solution for developing markets plagued by cash: NetPlus benefited from knowledge-sharing and mentorship sessions in New York, London and Singapore where NetPlus met with other start-ups and Mastercard customers.

Building on the experience, NetPlus then partnered with Mastercard to develop an e-commerce solution that overcomes the challenge of payments still being made in cash at the point of delivery by allowing customers to pre-authorise the payment when placing their order online – with payment only being released once the customer has confirmed their satisfaction on delivery. This has advantages for both merchants and customers.

“The NetPlus and Mastercard collaboration to launch a groundbreaking e-commerce solution proves that there is world-class talent on the continent and that start-ups are contributing significantly to the development of Africa – with programmes like Start Path serving as a springboard to greater growth by enabling these companies to receive exposure they wouldn’t otherwise get,” concludes Neale.