Applications are open to the 2018 edition of the Zambezi Prize for Innovation in Financial Inclusion, with 10 finalists to share US$200,000 in prize money.
Hosted by the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, the Zambezi Prize aims to discover Africa’s most promising and innovative early-stage startups promoting financial inclusion on the continent.
The prize is open to startups addressing any of the nine financial inclusion challenges covered by the contest: low financial literacy; limited access to financial institutions; low and unpredictable income; proof of identity; distrust in financial services; difficulty in meeting unforeseen shock; limited commercial viability; complex and costly partnership agreements; and limited financial infrastructure.
Applicants will be judged on their ability to solve one of these challenges; their current and potential impact on the local ecosystem; the scale of their innovation; and the feasibility of the solution.
The grand prize winner will be awarded US$100,000, while two runners-up will each receive up to US$30,000.
The top three winners will also be invited to attend the Zambezi bootcamp during the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) gala in Boston, and will be fast-tracked to the global grand prize with up to US$1 million available.
The 10 finalists of the Zambezi Prize will all receive up to US$5,000 in cash prizes, as well as VIP tickets to the Zambezi Award ceremony, access to a range of activities and media opportunities, and introductions to the MIT Legatum network of investors and mentors.
Applications are open here, until June.