CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa is a week-long programme on the theme of financial inclusion that aims to help Fintech companies with the goal of improving financial inclusion across the African continent. It also serves to build bridges for business between Africa and Europe, the organisers say.
This year’s edition covered a range of topics, including business model mapping, scaling strategies, peer due diligence processes, sales strategies, business plan presentation, operational and risk management, funding and capital raising as well as social impact.
15 fintechs from ten countries were selected from some 426 applications to participate in the programme. They included companies from Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda, Cameroon, Senegal, Egypt, Uganda and Mali as well as two fintechs based in Luxembourg and Denmark.
As part of the event, each fintech had to deliver a three-minute pitch, followed by a two-minute question and answer session with a jury, at the LHoFT innovation hub in Luxembourg.
LHoFT Foundation CEO Nasir Zubairi, who was on the jury, said the pitches were some of the best he had seen. “I feel energised and inspired,” Zubairi said. “The programme brought together 12 incredible and impressive entrepreneurs all committed to deliver real impact. Their solutions are excellent, and I am sure many will go on to achieve great things.”
World class mentors
The winner, Hello Tractor, is a pay-as-you-go loan technology finance company that unlocks low risk, lower-cost financing for rural entrepreneurs while de-risking the creditor through tractor investments into pre-booked assets. Chief commercial officer James Goode picked up the prize from Geneviève Hengen, deputy director at the directorate for development cooperation and humanitarian affairs, who was also on the jury.
The combination of peer-to-peer learning through the Catapult cohort, world class mentors and guest speakers, has equipped Hello Tractor with a newfound view.
“Out of an incredibly capable field, it is an honour to win this prestigious award,” said Goode “The combination of peer-to-peer learning through the Catapult cohort, world class mentors and guest speakers, has equipped Hello Tractor with a newfound view.”
Along with Zubairi and Hengen, the jury included CEO of the LHoFT, Patrick Losch, chairman of ADA, Winnie Mwangi, fund manager and investment director at Bamboo Capital Partners, Anne Bastin, executive director at Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg, and Neil Cocker, director and senior partner at Tomorrow Street.
Franz Fayot, minister for development cooperation and humanitarian affairs said he was glad to see that the CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa programme helps transfer knowledge gained from the grand duchy’s innovative finance hub to promising African fintechs. “By leveraging the potential of digitalisation, those dynamic fintechs play an active part in developing innovative solutions that allow the financially excluded to finally lend, insure, save, and transfer money,” Fayot said.