Ecobank launches 2024 fintech challenge

 Ecobank Group CEO Jeremy Awori (left), during the launch of the Fintech Challenge. [Esther Dianah, Standard]

Ecobank has launched the seventh edition of its Fintech (Financial technology) Challenge, an annual competition for early-stage and mature startups across 35 African markets.

The competition, while calling for applications, has invited fintech startups to partner with Ecobank, offering a prize of Sh6.47 million ($50,000) and a chance to scale their solutions across Ecobank’s extensive network spanning 35 African countries.

A McKinsey report shows that fintech start-ups in Africa are still facing challenges such as reaching scale, navigating an uncertain regulatory environment, and managing scarcity of funding.

These challenges are despite the fintech eruption in Africa. The lender said The Ecobank Fintech Challenge, which has inducted up to 60 fintechs since its inception, provides a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to address key challenges by not only offering financial rewards but also by providing Ecobank’s expertise in diversified markets operations.

It can also offer the right solutions to scale across its Pan-African footprint and international presence such as France. Ecobank Group Chief Executive Jeremy Awori said:

“Building partnerships with fintechs is a catalyst for driving financial inclusion in Africa. We prioritise fintechs in our growth, transformation, and returns strategy. We have enhanced this new edition of the Ecobank Fintech Challenge to continue to provide fintech entrepreneurs with a premier platform to showcase groundbreaking solutions while creating unparalleled opportunities for growth and expansion across 35 markets in Africa.”

Last year’s competition attracted 1,490 entries. This year, successful applicants in October 2024, will have the chance to join the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship programme, with the overall winner receiving a cash prize of Sh6.47 million.

Ecobank Fintech Fellows will gain access to opportunities through collaboration with Ecobank and its partners, including multinational product rollout, and service provider partnerships.