The Catapult: Inclusion Africa is an initiative that is run by the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT) Foundation and aims at advancing financial inclusion and empowering groups that “have been left behind by the traditional system”. The program is open to all sorts of fintech startups starting from those that offer financial services for rural farmers, point of sale technology for underbanked merchants, to specialised insurance products.
2022’s Edition saw 10 African Fintech startups being chosen for the Cohort and among them were two Zimbabwean firms, eAgro and VIRL Rural & Social Financial Services. The former uses data analytics, mobile phones, alternative data and machine learning to close the “critical gap that prevents financial institutions from lending to creditworthy smallholder farmers”. On eAgro’s website, it says that they provide creditworthiness reports and low-cost solutions for their partners.
The latter, VIRL (Viability, Integrity Reliability and Long-Lasting Relationships) was established in 2010 and provides rural financing for vulnerable women and the youth. The company hopes that this creates employment locally and curbs migration. According to its website, VIRL operates in Zimbabwe and has a network of branches and satellites.
“The business started with a low capital base but with a big life changing idea. In order to grow the business , VIRL has worked with developmental partners working in ZImbabwe rural communities. VIRL collaborated through the introduction of micro credit in their programming.”VIRL
The other startups selected for CATAPULT were:
– Social Lender (Nigeria), helps with financing for the unbanked
– MamaMoni (Nigeria), offers microloans for low-income female entrepreneurs
– Halal Payment (Nigeria), a digital payments platform
– eMaisha Pay (Uganda) is a mobile-based credit score platform for SMEs
– International Airtime Top Up (Uganda), airtime, money transfers, cash-pickup solutions provider.
– Motito (Ghana), an interest-free credit provider
– Akiba Digital (South Africa), an alternative scoring platform for small businesses.
– Damansah (Ivory Coast), a credit scoring facility that matched lenders to small businesses.
“We are excited to deliver our Catapult programme in Dubai, working with incredible local partners such as the DIFC and Fintech Hive as well as our key Luxembourg sponsor, The Directorate for Development and Humanitarian Aid.
We have an incredible lineup of participants picked from over 130 applications, and we look forward to working with them and learning about their businesses.
This is a great demonstration of international collaboration between the UAE and Luxembourg, and we believe all mentors and stakeholders involved will benefit from the ecosystems coming together through the Catapult programme,”Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT. (via Disrupt Africa)
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