African credit scoring startups can win ENGIE pilot projects at Africa Tech Summit Kigali

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African startups with solutions in the credit scoring and financing space will have the chance to secure a testing phase for their technologies with French utility company ENGIE at Africa Tech Summit Kigali in February.

Taking place for the third time on February 4-6, Africa Tech Summit Kigali brings together tech leaders, MNOs, banks, investors, entrepreneurs, governments, trade bodies and media to drive investment and collaboration in the African tech space. 

For the second year, Disrupt Africa has reprised its partnership with Africa Tech Summit Kigali to host the two-day Africa Startup Summit, which will bring stakeholders in the tech startup space from across the continent together in Rwanda to explore the opportunities and challenges within the ecosystem.

As a Gold Sponsor of Africa Tech Summit, French multinational energy utility company ENGIE has opened applications for a pitching challenge on the Startup Summit stage to credit scoring startups with the potential to provide innovative solutions to both existing and future ENGIE customers.

It is ENGIE’s ambition to become a world leader in the zero-carbon transition “as a service” for  its customers. The company is already providing clean decentralised electricity to more than three million people in nine countries, yet is striving towards universal access to electricity through a combination of national grid extension, mini-grids and Solar Home Systems.

The key to this growth is the access to solar products, or productive appliances powered by solar, thus generating revenues for the customer, which can often prove huge barriers, particularly for low income populations. Central to this challenge is the fact that assessment of the payment capacity of potential customers can be a huge risk for the provider, and thus ENGIE is now seeking startups with innovative solutions in the scoring space to address this challenge.

The growth in smartphone penetration and increase in value of mobile money transactions in Sub-Saharan Africa means there is now an increased amount of data available, combining transactions histories and accurate demographic and geographic information with big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies and accurate algorithms. This allows tech startups to build advanced services providing accurate probability scores and data valorisation schemes.

Through its pitch challenge at Africa Tech Summit Kigali, ENGIE is looking for credit scoring solutions to provide proper, accurate, efficient and relevant:

  • Business intelligence to improve and optimise the prospection and acquisition of future customers;
  • Financing schemes for its existing and future customers;
  • Scenarios to valorise customer data that aim to design customer profiles and match offers to customer needs.

As a reward, the prizes will depend on the maturity of the solution. For early-stage ideas, ENGIE is offering US$5,000 in cash funding to help to finance a prototype, or, for more developed solutions, it is offering a testing phase with ENGIE Africa. The winner of the challenge will be able to test the efficiency and viability of their solution in the relevant environment within the ENGIE Africa business framework over a period of six months. Based on the results of the testing phase, the solution shall be integrated within the ENGIE Africa business portfolio for further co-development of the project. Prospective locations for the testing phase are South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Tanzania and Benin.

“ENGIE Africa is very excited to sponsor the Africa Tech Summit 2020 in Rwanda. It is an opportunity to matchmake with African startups and promote innovation in the continent,” said Carole Henry, Head of Innovation and Digital at ENGIE Africa.

Applications for the challenge are open here until January 17, but startups will be selected on a rolling basis, so early applications are advised. Five selected startups will be provided with access to the full three days of content and networking opportunities at Africa Tech Summit Kigali, but will be required to cover their own transport and accommodation expenses.

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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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