The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation just announced the finalists of the 2018 edition of the Zambezi Prize for Innovation in Financial Inclusion. The prestigious competition, awarding a total of $200,000 in prizes, was established in 2015 to discover Africa’s most promising and innovative early-stage startups that promote and advance financial inclusion on the continent.

The selected companies are:

The finalists will join leaders from the MIT and African tech ecosystems on August 28th and 29th at the 2018 MIT Open Mic Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.

The two-day event will include a VIP reception followed by the award ceremony at Strathmore University where the Grand Prize Winner will be awarded $100,000. Two runners-up will each receive $30,000 while the seven remaining finalists will each receive $5,000 in cash prizes. Additionally, the Legatum Center will award $5,000 to an African entrepreneur who demonstrated great leadership qualities to unify Africa’s tech ecosystem. All finalists will participate in cohort-building and mentoring activities with MIT leaders and Zambezi alumni companies during the event.

The winners will be invited to attend the Zambezi boot camp during the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) gala on the MIT campus in Boston on November 5th-9th, 2018. They also will be fast-tracked to the IIC global grand prize with up to $1 million available in funding for the winner. The IIC event is part of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and, along with the MIT Legatum Center’s initiatives, exemplifies MIT’s global commitment to the future of work.

Past Zambezi finalists have included Kifiya, PlusPeople, MFS Africa, Tugende, Chamasoft, Nomanini, FirstAccess, AgriLife, MChanga, and mJara. The Grand Prize Winner, Umati Capital received funding from Accion Venture Lab, Blue Haven Initiative, and Lundin Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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