Ecobank, the pan-African financial services group, has officially opened the call for applications to the 7th edition of its Fintech Challenge. This annual competition invites early-stage and mature fintech startups to partner with Ecobank, offering a grand prize of $50,000 and a chance to scale their solutions across Ecobank’s extensive network spanning 35 African countries.

Despite the fintech eruption on the African continent, a McKinsey report reveals that fintech startups in Africa still face several challenges, such as reaching scale, navigating an uncertain regulatory environment, and managing scarcity of funding.

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The Ecobank Fintech Challenge provides a unique opportunity for fintech entrepreneurs to address these challenges by offering financial rewards, Ecobank’s expertise in diversified market operations, and solutions to scale across its pan-African footprint and international presence, including France.

Driving Financial Inclusion in Africa

“Building partnerships with fintechs is a catalyst for driving financial inclusion in Africa. At Ecobank, we prioritise fintechs in our Growth, Transformation, and Returns strategy,” said Jeremy Awori, Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Group. “We have enhanced this new edition of the Ecobank Fintech Challenge to continue to provide fintech entrepreneurs with a premier platform to showcase groundbreaking solutions while creating unparalleled opportunities for growth and expansion across 35 markets in Africa.”

Last year’s competition attracted 1,490 high-quality entries, underscoring the significance of this pan-African challenge. Successful applicants reaching the Grand Finale and Awards Ceremony in October 2024 will have the chance to join the highly coveted Ecobank Fintech Fellowship programme, with the overall winner receiving a cash prize of $50,000.

Opportunities for Ecobank Fintech Fellows

Ecobank Fintech Fellows will gain access to numerous opportunities through collaboration with Ecobank and its partners, potentially including:

Multinational Product Rollout: An opportunity to integrate their solutions with Ecobank, opening doors to potential product launches within Ecobank’s expansive 35-country Pan-African network.

Service Provider Partnerships: Selected fintechs may become Pan-African service partners within the Bank’s ecosystem.

Access to Ecobank’s Pan-African Banking Sandbox: Fellows will receive exclusive access to Ecobank’s cutting-edge APIs, enabling them to test and develop their products for the Pan-African market.

Priority Access to Ecobank’s Venture Capital Partners: Fellows will have priority access to venture capital partners for funding exploration.

Since its inception, 60 fintech startups have been inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship.

The Ecobank Fintech Challenge is designed in partnership with international advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by various partners. This collaboration ensures a robust platform for fintechs to innovate and scale their solutions across Africa.

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How to Apply

Applications for the 7th Ecobank Fintech Challenge are now open to fintechs and developers from across Africa and global Africa-centred fintechs. Interested parties can learn more about the competition and submit their applications through the official Ecobank Fintech Challenge website.

The deadline for entries is 7 July 2024. Don’t miss this opportunity to showcase your innovative solutions and partner with Ecobank to drive financial inclusion and economic growth across Africa.