Barclays Kenya has partnered coding school Moringa and VC firm Nest to open its Product Lab in Nairobi, an agile product development programme that will provide local developers with access to resources assisting them in launching and scaling fintech businesses.
Barclays – which has already launched a health and fintech accelerator in Cape Town and the US$10,000 Supply Chain Challenge – said this is the first of several initiatives it will be rolling out in Kenya as part of its global innovation drive Rise, which is focused on accelerating new technologies in the financial industry.
“Our innovation initiatives in Africa are a hugely important part of our aim to create a network of strong innovators across the globe – connecting and co-creating together to create the future of financial services,” said Lubaina Manji, director of Barclays’ Open Innovation Programme.
As part of the arranagement, Moringa School will offer training on design thinking and user research while Nest will manage the programme and provide mentorship.
“The launch of this program attests to our commitment as a company to invest in youth-focused initiatives that accelerate access to new innovations in the industry,” Barclays Kenya marketing and corporate relations director Caroline Ndung’u said.
In the initial phase, which kicks off on October 19, the Product Lab will work with local developers, who will be taken through a 10-week training programme and tasked to come up with superior innovative solutions.
Barclays will provide the local developers with access to resources available in its Global Rise Innovation Hubs across the world, as well mentorship from the Barclays global open innovation teams in London, Manchester, New York and other planned locations in the Middle East, Africa and India. Applications are open now until October 2.
“Throughout the entire programme, each developer will be tasked to conduct market research, user research, building product prototypes and pitch their solutions in front of Barclay’s senior executives and program partners,” Ndung’u said.
“We’re very excited about the Barclays Product Lab as it gives developers unbridled access to executives, developers and resources in one of the leading banks in the world. It’s a great environment for developers to grow their skills among other talented peers and gain the experience and network to succeed,” said Moringa School chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder Audrey Cheng.
The developers will be based in Barclays’ innovation space within the bank’s headquarters. Besides the in-depth training and mentorship, the best solution to come out of the program will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and the developer will get a chance to continue working with Barclays on the innovation.