Building on the success of the 2018 and 2020 editions of CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa, the third edition of this unique programme concerning fintech startup development has officially commenced. The programme, which is expected to close on the 27th of May with a final digital pitching event, opened to the public in front of a top-notch jury, investors, and audience members.
Kosta Peric, Deputy Director for the Financial Services for the Poor initiative at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, provided an opening talk to the event.
Developed by the LHoFT Foundation, the programme targets companies focused on financial inclusion in Africa, aiming to build bridges between Africa and Europe, highlighting their initiatives and very much aligned with the sustainability goals of Luxembourg’s finance centre. In keeping with the times, and with public health guidelines, this edition will be entirely digital.
CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign & European Affairs – Directorate for Development and Humanitarian Affairs, and supported by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion as well as key strategic partners such as ADA, InFine, University of Luxembourg, LuxFlag, Innpact, LuxAfrica, ACRC, MicroInsurance Network, KAP Innovation in Frontier Markets, LMDF, SPTF, UABA, UN University Center for Policy Research, the European Investment Bank and Compellio.
Focusing this year on investment readiness, the 14 ventures will be supported by investors operating in Africa such as Bamboo Partners, TLG Capital, ZedCrest Capital, Rising Tide Africa, Outlierz, Angaza Capital, Anza Capital, Baobab Group, Beyond Capital, Advans, CRE VC, DRK Foundation, AfricInvest, Triodos Capital, Sherpa Africa Partners, and others.
CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa will once again leverage Luxembourg’s Inclusive finance and fintech ecosystems, as well as LHoFT partners, to support the selected firms in developing their businesses and achieving their inclusion goals, creating synergies between them, partners, sponsors, investors, microfinance institutions (MFI) and public financial institutions (PFIs).
CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa will provide a tailor-made programme with intensive mentoring, coaching, peer-to-peer learning, and dedicated workshops for the selected fintech startups. The programme will include sessions on business model mapping, investment readiness, funding and capital raising, social impact, scaling strategy, building teams, operational management, and pitch development. The 2018 and 2020 Catapult Alumni will join the new cohort, delivering sessions and providing mentorship – leveraging their own experience from the ground.
“Innovative fintech solutions have the potential to lead to improved accessibility of inclusive financial services, especially in isolated areas, and to reduce costs for clients of financial service providers,” comments Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy and Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs. “Digitalisation can at the same time simplify the access to knowledge, education, and the labour market, as well as improve communication. The Luxembourgish civil society and private sectors have developed a wide array of expertise in microfinance and in Fintech, which can, through Catapult, be put at the benefit of young fintech entrepreneurs in Africa.”
Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT added “It is very exciting to see such incredible firms engaging with the CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa programme. We are humbled to have received such strong interest to be part of the bootcamp from firms tackling the key issue of inclusion, and also to see the enthusiasm from the domestic and international ecosystem, including alumni of the bootcamp, to be part of this initiative and make a positive impact.”