Over the past decade, mobile phone penetration and mobile banking have revolutionized the financial services sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. Financial products and services have rapidly grown in reach and sophistication, providing a platform that entrepreneurs can leverage to enable access to a broader range of financial services for traditionally underserved and excluded communities. West Africa is part of this positive trend. In Ghana, for instance, non-bank formal financial services have tripled in the last five years and mobile money access is almost at par with access to banking. Nigeria boasts a budding entrepreneurial landscape with one of the most active angel investor communities in Africa. Côte d’Ivoire is the largest market in the WAEMU for mobile transactions, which the IMF reports as having increased by 20 percent between December 2014 and September 2015. That said, growing financial access does not necessarily mean increasing financial health. According to McKinsey and Company, 80% of Sub-Saharan African adults do not use banks or microfinance institutions to save or borrow money . Across Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a lack of savings, credit, and investment solutions that work for women, youth, farmers, small businesses, and other underserved communities.
Village Capital, The MasterCard Foundation, and the DOEN Foundation are seeking to identify and support the next generation of fintech entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa. These entrepreneurs are innovating in financial technology to increase financial health and improve livelihoods for low-income populations. Examples of this type of initiative include:
- Increasing the access, relevance, and affordability of savings, credit, payments, and insurance products through leveraging data analytics, blockchain technology, and digital identity verification;
- Increasing efficiency in supply chains and distribution channels across sectors through better market access, increased price transparency, increased connections to new suppliers, and access to other decision-driving market information; and/or
- Enhancing livelihoods of low-income small business owners through tools for value-chain tracking, smart logistics, business insurance, working-capital loans, and financial management tools to better handle risk and volatility.
- Workshop 1: January 24-27 – Accra
- Workshop 2: February 18-22 – Nairobi
- Workshop 3: April 4-7 – Lagos
At the end of the program, the top two ventures, as selected by their peers in the cohort, will receive an offer of US $50,000 in pre-committed capital investment from VilCap Investments.
Applications are now closed
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much does it cost to apply for the program? A: There is no cost to apply and no program fee for chosen enterprises. Q: Do you take equity up front in order to let companies participate? A: We do not take equity up front for participation. Q: How do you apply? A: You apply by registering and creating a company profile on VC4 Africa. This is a platform that brings together startups and investors. You can read more about them here Q: When is the application deadline? A:The application deadline is September 20th, but early applicants will receive more attention from our judges.