How Fintech empowers startups

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Fintech is empowering startups in Nigeria and other parts of Africa to use technology to provide financial services. This has drawn the attention of the international community to them, DANIEL ESSIET writes.

 

MANY startups are being empowered by Financial technology (Fintech) to provide services to underserved markets, including the financially excluded.

Fintech has driven significant and wide-reaching innovation throughout the finance industry. There are startups providing services such as powering payments, facilitating savings, ensuring financial inclusion for the unbanked and tackling access to credit for small businesses and individuals, among others.

They include big players such as Flutterwave and Paystack. Fintech startups play in a variety of niche spaces.

Experts, such as the convener, Startup South, Uche Aniche, expects the Fintech sector to play a significant role in encouraging innovative change across the economy.

He believes that Nigeria has talented people, innovative entrepreneurs and a vibrant tech scene to to grow as one of the top Fintech destinations in Africa.

In Lagos, the growth has been driven by new startups and technology firms expanding into financial services.

To endorse the progress of the industry,  two Nigerian Fintech initiatives, Esusu and Paddy Cover, have been selected to participate in the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT) boot camp slated for next month, in Luxembourg.

Known as Catapult: Inclusion Africa Fintech boot camp, it is a fully-funded week-long boot camp aimed at building capacities for selected fintech players.

The boot camp, according to LHoFT, is part of its vision to contribute to the development of the Fintech ecosystem.

The initiative, which is sponsored by PWC Luxembourg and Luxembourg Aid and Development, will feature savings platform Esusu and another insurance service portal Paddy Cover as initiatives with Nigerian origin with nine firms chosen from a pool of fintech companies in Africa which applied for the boot camp.

Other fintech startups chosen for the event include CinetPay from Cote d’Ivoire, Dundiza from Tanzania, A-Trader from Tanzania, Exuus from Rwanda, Eversend, owned by a French national but building solutions in Africa, Pezesha from Kenya, People’s Pension Trust from Ghana, SympliFi from the United kingdom but with a presence in Africa, UKheshe from South Africa and the UK.

During the one week training, participants will be exposed to important topics and information.

Some of the areas that will be covered include marketing strategy, business model mapping, Human Resiurce (HR) policy, peer due diligence processes, legal strategy, viability and business plan presentation.

Esusu is the leading financial technology platform helping individuals save money and build credit. Founded in 2016, Esusu is at the forefront of paving a bridge to financial access by providing financial solutions for low-to-middle income consumers.

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The Fintech’s key focus is centred on empowering low income and historically credit-challenged consumers with credit-building.

Paddycover, on the other hand, helps people get insurance service by giving them  various policy options that they can patronise. Paddy cover allows various payment periods on their platform. These options include monthly, weekly and daily plans.

In 2018, LHoFT Foundation selected 14 startups for its bootcamp. The Nigerian digital banking platform for cooperatives, Smart Teller, was among African startups invited to the event.

LHoFT Foundation is a public – private sector initiative that drives technology innovation for Luxembourg’s Financial Services industry, connecting the domestic and international Fintech community to develop solutions that shape the world of tomorrow.

It aims to foster innovation and develop solutions that shape the future of financial services.

The  founding private sector partners are: BGL BNP Paribas, Clearstream (Deutsche Börse Group), BCEE, Deloitte, Foyer Group, KPMG, POST Luxembourg, Six Payment Services, PwC, Société Générale, Telindus (Proximus Group) and Temenos.

The other partners of the initiative are the Ministry of Finance (Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna, is the Chairman of the LHoFT), Ministry of Economy, Ministry of State, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, the City of Luxembourg, the University of Luxembourg and PROFIL – Luxembourg’s financial industry federation.

Luxembourg is the European leader in responsible investment fund assets, accounting for 31per cent of funds and 39per cent of all assets under management, and has an extensive ecosystem of supporting initiatives and institutions The Luxembourg government is committed to the eradication of extreme poverty and support for sustainable development