This October The Fintech Times celebrates partnerships and collaborations, as part of this we speak with Mahmood Ahmadu, from Innovate 1 Pay, about the company and his professional journey, through the perspective of partnerships.
With an MBA from Nassarawa University, Mahmood Ahmadu invested in his first successful company in the early 80’s, and emerged as a bright star among earlier pioneers in GSM technology in northern Nigeria. He launched SW Global in 2002, having secured a loan from The International Finance Corporation, under the global digital bridge initiatives. In 2010, Online Integrated Solutions Ltd commenced operations in the UK, eventually expanding into the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India, China, USA, Malaysia and several African nations.
2012 saw Mr Ahmadu launch the pioneering African fintech company Innovate 1 Pay, which offers a comprehensive suite of online payment solutions, including retail and wholesale mobile remittances, mobile money and currency card payments. Mr Ahmadu’s business interests currently span across more than thirty countries and ten timezones, all around the globe. A proponent of transformative digitisation, he aims to empower underserved individuals, communities and institutions with e-services and Fintech, to drive systemic innovation and growth. Mr Ahmadu was recently chosen as one of three outstanding African entrepreneurs to be conferred the Forbes Best of Africa Awards 2020, in recognition of his longstanding and diverse philanthropic initiatives.
Describe your company’s journey, from its inception to the present?
We established Innovate 1 Pay in 2012, as a fintech and payment services provider that would provide an array of online payment solutions in Africa. Our services included retail and wholesale mobile remittances, mobile money and currency card payments, which soon led to Innovate 1 Pay emerging as the largest financial services provider of its kind, in Nigeria. The company has rapidly established its footprint to currently operating in 24 different nations, and trading in over 60. Our online wallet accepts Visa, MasterCard, Internet Banking, debit and credit cards – in addition to offering customers the ability to store an available balance, for easy and secure e-payments. Innovate 1 Pay also offers our customers a payment gateway, which enables quick and easy foreign currency transfers, as well as offering multiple touchpoints that are integrated with a large network of banks, payment processors, mobile money operators etc.
How have partnerships and collaborations played a role in this journey?
There is a rapidly growing demand for Fintech solutions, to facilitate an innovative, secure, and practical way to attain financial inclusion – in both developing nations as well as larger economies. Partnerships have played a big role in achieving these outcomes, whether through support from governments, in the form of policies and guidelines, or in the form of private sector investments and mergers. Since its inception, Innovate 1 Pay has been part of several such collaborations, which have significantly enhanced financial inclusion in rural and remote areas, leading to an enhanced quality of life for financially underserved individuals and communities.
How have your partnerships with your consumers, and understanding their needs, helped Innovate 1 Pay grow?
Consumers are at the epicentre of the growth of Innovate 1 Pay. Our primary motivation, as a business, is providing services that cater to the needs of our customers. What motivates the entire Innovate 1 Pay team is a vision centred on democratising user-friendly and tech-empowered financial services. The feedback and support we receive from our clients allow us to strategise the expansion and evolution of our offerings. At Innovate 1 Pay we are firm believers in constantly upgrading our systems and never compromising on quality. As a business, we believe this is a journey we can only undertake successfully by partnering with our customers, as their needs evolve.
What advice and recommendations do you want to give future businesses in the region looking to grow?
My advice to emerging entrepreneurs in the region would be to take a holistic view of how their business fits in with their community and the world at large. As innovators and business people, we sometimes get so involved with the specifics of our services and products, that we forget to see them in the context of the outside world. Ventures that are rooted in their surroundings, responsive to their ecosystem and empathetic to their customers, tend to make a mark and achieve growth that lasts. This is all about partnering with your target audience, and the industry you are part of, to create positives for all stakeholders.