SUPPORTING YOUNG DIGITAL INNOVATORS IN IMPROVING ACCESS TO FINANCIAL SERVICES IN THE SADC REGION
mHub on Monday the 15th of June 2020 announced the four winners for the SADC Innovation Challenge. SADC Innovation Challenge is implemented by FinMark Trust which provides the opportunity for young innovators to develop their capacity with particular focus on digital and technological Innovation selected within four thematic areas of: Access to basic services; Women and Savings; Small Micro Medium Enterprises (SMME); and Financing and Financial Digital Identity. Innovation is a key contributor to enhanced economic development, growth, employment creation and alleviation of poverty. mHub has worked with a group of 44 entrepreneurs from Malawi and Botswana to refine their business models and compete on a regional level at the SADC Innovation Challenge Regional Pitch Competition.
FinMark Trust’s played a catalytic role in driving innovation across the SADC region by providing a platform that enables young innovators to develop their capacity. FinMark Trust believes that investing in innovation is an absolute and fundamental shift in the SADC region’s traditional business model by promoting financial inclusion and regional financial integration.
For the past four months mHub has conducted virtual trainings using Zoom and other interactive platforms for the idea stage entrepreneurs across the two countries of Malawi and Botswana. Upon completion of their online training the participants underwent a virtual pitch competition which announced the Malawi regional representatives the past Monday. The winners were selected from four thematic areas and will be proceeding to the regional finals.
At the SADC Innovation Challenge Regional finals, Malawi will be represented by the following young innovators:
The first representative is, Digital Know Your Customer (KYC) MW a company that is in the Digital Financial Identity thematic area. Founded by Bahat Phiri a student at University of Malawi, The Polytechnic. The company provides a platform for local retail banks to accurately collect and verify customer information with ease, compressing the tedious exercise into a streamlined process that can be done online. The platform is targeting busy individuals and/or those stationed internationally and many others who would like to undergo the process remotely. The company offers numerous time savings for bank customers and cost savings for banks.
The second representative is Kairos Micro finance founded by Victor Custom in the thematic area of SMME Financing. The innovator plans to link underserved population especially those with low incomes, disabled, technologically challenged and those in remotest areas to banks and network providers. The country has seen a wide range of innovative products out of the Finance sector however a majority of the population still remains underserved.
Their solution is to provide a Digital platform for local monetary groups that digitalizes the organization, helps them keep records, eases access to loans, and increases profits to both local monetary groups.
The third winner is Ananias Zulu of Light Technologies in the Women and Savings Thematic area. They developed Bank M’nkhonde/ village Bank system to help low-income people access loans. The target group are individuals struggle to access loans from banking and financial institutions due to high interest rates and collateral. The app features a simplified platform that is User friendly and can be used with individuals with low levels of literacy. The app will be responsible for balance updates, current profit of investment updates, reminders of outstanding loans, deliver messages, keep and calculate fund accumulation and amount to be shared to each member and their respective loans and interests. The app acts as a database to facilitate all transactions.
The final representative is, Online Clinic Yathu – OCLIYA, a company co-founded by Emmanuel Chatina. The companies’ tech driven solution is accessing health care services using technology. Malawi, just like many African countries, suffers from the greatest health care challenge which is access. Malawi has insufficient doctors and other medical personnel. OCLIYA provides a solution to this problem by enabling access to online consultations with a with few clicks. Patients find doctors easily using their platform which provides a web-based and mobile app extension. This innovation falls under access to basic services as it is a solution that is essential in our communities.