From 24 to 28 October 2022, representatives of thirteen fintechs traveled to Luxembourg to take part in the latest edition of CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa, an accelerator programme focused on financial inclusion, developed by the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT).
The winner’s award was announced and presented to James Goode, Chief Commercial Officer of Hello Tractor, by Geneviève Hengen, Deputy Director at the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs.
On the evening of 28th October, the programme participants each had to deliver a three-minute pitch, which was followed by a two-minute question and answer session with the jury, at the LHoFT innovation hub in Luxembourg.
The jury was composed of Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT, Patrick Losch, Chairman of ADA (Appui au développement autonome), Geneviève Hengen, Deputy Director at the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of Luxembourg’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Winnie Mwangi, Fund Manager and Investment Director at Bamboo Capital Partners, Anne Bastin, Executive Director at Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg (InFiNe), and Neil Cocker, Director and Senior Partner at Tomorrow Street.
“Out of an incredibly capable field, it is an honor to win this prestigious award. The combination of peer-topeer learning through the Catapult cohort, world class mentors and guest speakers, has equipped Hello Tractor with a newfound view.” Jamie GOODE, CCO of Hello Tractor.
CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa is a week-long programme on the theme of financial inclusion. The “bootcamp” is organised and delivered by the LHoFT Foundation and supported by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Directorate for Development and Humanitarian Affairs, alongside many key strategic partners from the finance and microfinance industry.
CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa has accelerated more than 60 companies from over 20 countries since its launch. This year, there were a total of 426 applications from which 15 fintechs from ten countries were selected for the one-week programme. This edition featured 24 sessions and the involvement of 22 experts and 27 mentors.
Building on local expertise and aligned with the sustainability goals of Luxembourg’s finance centre,
CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa aims to help Fintech companies with the goal of improving financial inclusion across the African continent. Critically, the programme serves to build bridges for business between Africa and Europe.
After the week of intensive workshops, mentoring, training and networking, the Fintechs participating in the programme were celebrated by a full house of the Luxembourg financial services and Fintech ecosystem at a very special Fintech Friday, LHoFT’s popular monthly meetup.
Luxembourg’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and patron of the
programme, Franz Fayot, delivered a speech via video message during which he thanked the LHoFT for having set up and developed CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa and congratulated this edition’s participants.
Minister Fayot highlighted the value of the programme in helping the selected fintechs to “increase their impact […] through tailored training with key stakeholders from [Luxembourg’s] ecosystem“. He added that the selected fintechs “illustrate how the financial inclusion sector has managed to deploy technology in an extraordinary way, often promoting financial services relevant to local needs“. He also stressed that “it is crucial that fintech innovation acts in a responsible way”
The programme was supported by key strategic partners such as LFF (Luxembourg For Finance), ADA (Appui au Développement Autonome), InFine.lu, LMDF (Luxembourg Microfinance and Development Fund), SPTF (Social Performance Task Force), LuxDev, Bloc Smart Africa Fund, BPF (Business Partnership Facility), AFI (Alliance for Financial Inclusion), EIB (European Investment Bank), Bamboo Capital Partners, ACRC (Africa Cybersecurity Resource Centre), Double Feather Partners, Compellio, Amarante Consulting/Avrio, Africa Business Tour and BPC Banking Solutions.
The CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa programme covered a range of topics, including business model mapping, scaling strategies, peer due diligence processes, sales strategies, business plan presentation, operational and risk management, funding and capital raising as well as social impact.
Mr. Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT Foundation, commented: “I feel energised and inspired. The pitches from the participants were some of the best I have seen over the years. The programme brought together 12 incredible and impressive entrepreneurs all committed to deliver real impact. Their solutions are excellent, and I am sure many will go on to achieve great things; hopefully the Catapult: Inclusion Africa will be a memorable contributor to their success. We are thankful for the commitment of the Luxembourg community who helped make this programme a success. I am extremely grateful to all our sponsors and partners.”
Mr. Franz Fayot, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, added: “Luxembourg is recognized internationally for its innovative finance hub, including the inclusive finance sector. Luxembourg’s distinct ecosystem, which includes the public and private sector, as well as actors from the civil society, facilitates the exchange of expertise and experience. I am glad to see that the CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa programme helps transferring this knowledge to promising African fintechs. By leveraging the potential of digitalisation, those dynamic fintechs play an active part in developing innovative solutions that allow the financially excluded to finally lend, insure, save, and transfer money.”
The 12 Fintech startups who pitched last Friday for the final of the 2022 edition of CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa were:
AFRICRED’s mission is to provide digital finance solutions (adapted blockchain-based technology adapted loans to grow loan portfolios) to microfinance, insurance institutions, and banks on a revenue-sharing model.
Agrix Tech is an Agri-FinTech company helping small-scale farmers to transition from subsistence farming to commercial farming and maximize their profit.
ChapChap Africa provides financial digital tools to MSMEs in Africa by enabling informal entrepreneurs to add new business lines by extending financial services to low-income people, digitize their bookkeeping, and build a verifiable digital credit profile.
ComGrow has created a core-banking system specifically for informal finance mechanisms, allowing users to keep a record of all those participating, what groups they are part of, how much and when they transact and any other data input relative to each user on the platform.
About a billion people in Africa are priced out of healthcare services and health insurance relief. DanAid is a micro-health insurance providing them near real time access to money for their care through their mobile.
Hello Tractor is a pay-as-you-go loan technology finance company that unlocks low risk, lower-cost financing for rural entrepreneurs while de-risking the creditor through tractor investments into pre-booked assets.
Kayko’s Mobile App helps small businesses simplify their financial management to access financial services conveniently.
Nkwa is a digital piggybank that lets its users plan, save and invest their money.
Proxalys is a start-up digitizing informal credit sales transactions and developing a credit scoring model based on community trust. They have three main offers: Proxalys marketplace – ProBoutik and ProCash.
Radava Mercantile provides an agricultural commodity exchange market, alternative financing, and postharvest technologies to smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
Servichain uses blockchain benefits to propose digital and financial services efficiently.
Yalla Solutions is a digital financial services platform that democratizes access to financial services to the masses using digital-first, user-friendly experience in the form of a card + Super App.