Applications have opened for the first Fincluders Startup Challenge to be held outside of Europe, with fintech entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) eligible for the US$15,000 competition.
Organised by the Technical Assistance Facility of the SANAD Fund for MSME, the event is modelled on a first installment of the challenge held in Berlin last year.
It will take place on May 3-4 in Amman, Jordan, and seeks to identify and promote fledgling fintech companies offering products for expanding access to finance in MENA.
The SANAD Technical Assistance Facility will offer finalists a trip to Jordan and accommodation during mentoring sessions conducted by fintech industry experts. Finalists will then present their products and services to a jury of finance industry managers and an audience of investors, regulators, and development finance specialists.
“By bringing the extraordinarily successful Fincluders Startup Challenge to the Middle East and North Africa, SANAD continues to employ the most effective methods available for identifying the best innovations for bolstering micro, small and medium enterprises and fostering economic development and job creation in the region. The training and funding for products and ideas that spread financial inclusion in the region are an investment in the future,” said SANAD board chairman Wolfgang Reuss.
SANAD Technical Assistance Facility committee chairman Ines Ebrecht said the Fincluders Startup Challenge served as a natural extension of SANAD’s technical assistance activities.
“Providing mentors to help guide companies, especially new ones, is integral to our mission, and our capacity-building goals include the creation of platforms for entrepreneurs that provide access to much-needed capital for companies in their infancy. Such funding helps ensure startups can finance the critical phases of their product and business development,” Ebrecht said.