UNCDF launches Sierra Leone Fintech Challenge

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The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) initiative has launched the first Sierra Leone Fintech Challenge, offering three startups US$13,000 seed funding and the chance to secure a further US$100,000 in grant or debt funds.

The Sierra Leone Fintech Challenge is launched under a partnership between the UNCDF MM4P, the Bank of Sierra Leone, FSD Africa, UKAID, and USAID, and seeks to support the most promising ideas in the country which have the potential to expand financial inclusion.

Three fintech startups from Sierra Leone will be awarded US$13,000 in seed capital, and support in piloting and testing their products. One youth entrepreneur will also receive backing.

Startups will then pitch their products to two judging panels – a panel of consumers, and one made up of experts from the partner organisations.

Two will be selected to receive up to US$100,000 more in a grant and debt mixed model, and will participate in a year-long supported pilot process.

“The aim is to foster collaboration between regulators, non-traditional market players, licensed financial institutions and other partners to pilot innovative products, services or solutions in a fragile state context,” the organisers said.

“Tech-based innovation has the potential to introduce game-changing ingredients for expanding quality of access and usage of financial services in Sierra Leone, especially to reach those living in rural areas, women, young people, smallholder farmers and marginalized population groups.”

Applications are open here, until July 15.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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