FinTecHub, a local company that accelerates and trains fintech startups launched the second application for “acceleration program” training on May 25.
The program provides startup’s with required skills, partnerships and access to capital and markets.
With support from Rwanda ICT Chamber, the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the Government of Rwanda and Kigali Innovation City, FinTecHub also supports innovative early-stage companies through a combination of modified technical assistance, access to market and grants.
The FinTechHub also links startups to mentors and other potential partners that can accelerate their business growth.
The application, selection and recruitment looks at the inclusivity of the digital financial solutions the applicants are developing and it aims to create an environment with several services to improve the competitiveness of local startup companies particularly those in the financial technology space.
“We want to support our startups so that they can grow their customer base while facilitating partner mobilization to start those interconnections and collaboration that will help them to thrive,” Alex Ntale, the CEO of ICT Chamber which oversees the acceleration program implementation said.
He added that FinTech will continue to advocate for selected startups in public institutions given available opportunities where the government aims to achieve 80% digital transactions by 2024.
According to FinTech, innovations developed by the first cohort range from a digital platform for informal collective saving schemes including Village Saving and Loans Associations (VSLA), digital wallets, to a tech-based factoring firm that provides tailored working capital solutions to small- and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Some first cohort startups also deal in payments aggregators, which help large and small businesses access digital payment application programming interfaces (APIs) through mobile money, Visa and MasterCard.
“Working with FinTechHub has enabled us to streamline our data with the help of an excellent mentor and to raise some issues to the policymakers with the emphasis we would not have achieved on our own,” Sara Oon, CEO of Benefactors, one of the FinTech startups that participated in the first batch said.
Sara said that being part of a cohort has allowed them to learn from peers and get support and encouragement on the startup journey during a challenging time of COVID-19.
Victoria Munguti, Managing Director of Hepta Pay Ltd, another graduate startup, said the program has helped her company to think of other ways their companies can establish new revenue streams.
“We were trained on investment strategies and investor identification, as well as market penetration strategies for our projects. In addition, FinTechHub helped us a lot in doing in-depth research on retail management systems for the SMEs sector,” Munguti said.
Roselyne Uwamahoro, UNCDF Rwanda Program Coordinator said that the FinTecHub project is part of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) goals to advance Inclusive Digital Economies.
“We are working to nurture a culture of innovation to help fintech in Rwanda develop solutions that are needed by financial markets to adopt the fast-changing dynamics and the evolving needs of customers unleashed by new technologies,” she said.
As the first cohort, five fintech startup companies will be selected and supported for six-month in the program dubbed ‘acceleration program’.