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Finance tech firms in contest for Sh5m innovation award

By Standard Reporter | November 14th 2020
(L-R) Co-op Bank’s Head of Digital Experience and Innovation Russel Akuom, Amina Saidi of Co-operatives Banking and Agri-Value Chain Manager Vera Nyaboke prepare for the virtual demo event where winners of the on-going Akili Kali Innovation challenge will be selected.

Five financial technology (Fintech) firms have been shortlisted to participate in Co-operative Bank’s Akili Kali Innovation Challenge.

The challenge aims at finding the best financial solutions for the lender’s 20 million co-operative societies.

The firms, Awamo 360 Kenya, Herufi Technologies, Jamborow Ltd, Smart Matatu and Chamasoft Ltd were selected by a panel of evaluators from a list of 500-odd applicants.

Winners will get a cash reward of up to Sh5 million and an opportunity to integrate and launch their innovation with Co-operative Bank.

The challenge, which is supported by the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private investment arm, will enable the bank to identify and partner with innovators who can rapidly develop solutions to build value for co-operatives and enable them to service their members’ demands more efficiently.

“The new innovations will also give co-operatives a competitive edge and strengthen their resilience in the rapidly changing financial landscape in Kenya, particularly in light of the myriad challenges occasioned by Covid-19,” said the bank in a statement.

A virtual demo event will be held to select one or more winners after five weeks of a co-development and co-design programme supported by a dedicated team from the bank and nominated co-operatives.

During the rollout of the innovation challenge in July, Cooperative Bank Director of Co-operatives Banking Vincent Marangu said that the growth trends of co-operatives in Kenya indicate a great opportunity for co-operatives to offer valuable services to members.

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