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MIT, MasterCard list Nigeria's RecyclePoints for innovation prize

09 Aug 2018, 12:58 pm
Financial Nigeria
MIT, MasterCard list Nigeria's RecyclePoints for innovation prize

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The aim of the Zambezi Prize for Innovation in Financial Inclusion is to discover and celebrate startups that are solving Africa’s financial inclusion challenges.

L: Mazi Alison Ukonu, Co-Founder and CEO, RecyclePoints with officials of the Nigerian Stock Exchange during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the collection and recycling of waste materials generated at the NSE’s offices earlier in 2018

The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in collaboration with Mastercard Foundation has listed Nigeria’s RecyclePoints, a waste recycling and social benefit venture, and other nine African startups as finalists of the 2018 Zambezi Prize for Innovation in Financial Inclusion. Launched in 2015, the aim of the MIT Zambezi Prize is to discover and celebrate startups that are solving Africa’s financial inclusion challenges.

The other nine African startups selected for the 2018 edition of the Zambezi Prize are: Apollo Agriculture (Kenya); Bidhaa Sasa (Kenya); FarmDrive (Kenya); Tulaa (Kenya); Farmerline (Ghana); OZE (Ghana); LanteOTC (South Africa); Wala (South Africa); and MaTontine (Senegal).

“We are pleased to welcome the 2018 finalists into the MIT Zambezi family”, said Georgina Campbell Flatter, the Executive Director of the MIT Legatum Center. “They represent some of the world’s most innovative change agents.”

The finalists will join MIT and African tech ecosystem leaders at the MIT Open Mic Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya on August 28 and 29. The event will be followed by an award ceremony at the Strathmore University, where the $100,000 grand prize will be awarded to the first position, and $30,000 each will be awarded to the two runners-up. The remaining seven finalists will each receive $5,000 cash prize.

Additionally, the Legatum Center will also award $5,000 to the African entrepreneur that has demonstrated great leadership qualities in the unification of Africa’s tech ecosystem. All finalists will also participate in cohort-building and mentoring activities with MIT leaders and Zambezi Alumni.

According to the statement by the Legatum Center, the Zambezi Prize and Open Mic Africa tour are pivotal to the African strategy of the Legatum Center – a global vision to leverage MIT’s ecosystem to improve lives through principled entrepreneurial leadership. And the Legatum Center’s African strategy is a core component of the MIT-Africa initiative which encompasses the institute’s global priority for collaboration with the continent.

The winners will be invited to the Zambezi boot camp at the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) gala in Boston on November 5 – 9, 2018. Thereafter, they will progress to compete for the IIC global grand prize, where the winner can get up to $1 million in funding.  The IIC event is part of the MIT initiative on the digital economy.

Global Programs Manager of the MIT Legatum Center, Ali Diallo, stated that the finalists have shown strong leadership and innovation in the way they are solving financial inclusion challenges.

Kenya’s Umati Capital was the grand prize winner of the maiden edition in 2015.

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