Barclays launches $10k innovation challenge for African entrepreneurs

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Barclays Africa has launched the Supply Chain Challenge, offering young African entrepreneurs the chance to demonstrate supply chain solutions lowering the cost of doing business in a bid to win a US$10,000 cash prize.

Entries for the challenge close on September 18, with the winning team earning the cash prize, and the chance to pitch to a panel of renowned experts in South Africa in November to raise funding for their solution.

Disrupt Africa reported last week Barclays launched Tech Lab Africa, a 13-week accelerator programme aimed at providing 10 fintech and e-health startups with access to business mentors, industry leaders, influencers and experts. The programme will take place in Cape Town, South Africa between September and December this year.

The latest challenge, according to Barclays Africa chief executive of corporate and investment banking Stephen van Coller, will help transform the supply chain transparency and lower the cost of doing business.

“The supply chain, the journey of a product from manufacturer to consumer is often disjointed and inefficient and there is currently a huge amount of interest in finding ways to increase the transparency of provenance, not least of which is the use of blockchain technology,” he said.

“Such technologies have substantial potential in creating transparency about the series of transactions that occur along any supply chain process.”

Barclays Kenya chief executive Jeremy Awori said the bank will embark on several other programmes to promote innovation and drive entrepreneurship.

“We know that innovation will bring efficiencies in business and that is why we take such initiatives seriously to support the youth and the SMEs with targeted banking products. This will only be a step in the journey we want to embark on in creating more business opportunities through innovations,” Awori said.

The challenge will be open to Africa-based individual innovators aged between 18 and 35 in teams and startups who will be expected to propose a solution that creates more transparency between seller and buyer, through the supply chain.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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