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Nigerian fintech IroFit, others win SWIFT’s Startup Challenge for Africa

18 May 2017, 12:31 pm
Financial Nigeria
Nigerian fintech IroFit, others win SWIFT’s Startup Challenge for Africa

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Nigerian startup, IroFit; Kenya-based Sokowatch; and VugaPay, a Rwandan money transfer app, are winners of the 2017 Startup Challenge for Africa.

Winners of the 2017 Startup Challenge for Africa, IroFit, Sokowatch, and VugaPay, displaying their invitation to Sibos

Nigerian startup, IroFit, along with Sokowatch and VugaPay – based in Kenya and Rwanda, respectively – have been declared the winners of the 2017 Startup Challenge for Africa competition organized by Innotribe – the innovation arm of SWIFT, the leading provider of secure financial messaging services. The companies were selected as the three most promising African fintech companies on Wednesday during the ongoing African Regional Conference (ARC) holding in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, from May 16-18.  

Earlier this month, Innotribe announced it had selected 10 startups from Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon and Rwanda because of their potential to provide important innovation to the financial industry in Africa. Three startups were selected from Nigeria and South Africa, while one startup each was selected from the other four countries.

IroFit, which helps small businesses process mobile/ card payments even when there’s no internet connection, received 10,000 EUR cash prize. The other two winners were also awarded the same cash prize each. The three companies have been invited to Sibos, SWIFT’s annual global financial services conference, to be held in Toronto, Canada, from 16-19 October, 2017.

The Kenya-based Sokowatch provides last-mile delivery services for over 5,000 consumer goods companies across Nairobi to help them increase sales. VugaPay is a Rwandan money transfer app that enables users to send and receive money without sharing their financial information. VugaPay is currently available in more than nine countries.

The startups received coaching and mentorship from established tech entrepreneurs, following which they made pitches to the audience on their innovative products to demonstrate how they could support the economic development of the continent.

“The Innotribe showcase at ARC gives delegates a unique opportunity to tap into the most exciting new fintech businesses on the continent,” said Sido Bestani, Head of Middle East, Turkey and Africa at SWIFT. “This year’s finalists are providing real solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the African financial industry including financial crime compliance, financial inclusion and supply chain finance.”

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