The Africa FinTech Foundry (AFF), an initiative of Access Bank Plc, has commenced its accelerator programme that aims to empower emerging start-ups with mentorship and business advisory services.
As part of the initiative, the bank has committed N10 million in cash to the top three finalists.
The accelerator programme was opened last month and received 306 entries and after rigorous assessments, 30 participants were shortlisted, the Head of the Africa Fintech Foundry, Mr. Daniel Awe, said while addressing a press conference.
These finalists were further screened by the Head of the Africa Fintech Foundry, Mr. Daniel Awe; Group Head, Emerging Businesses, Access Bank, Mrs. Ayodele Olojede; and Vice President, Investments MBO Capital, and Fintech Consultant, Mr. Oshone Ikazobor, in a bid to narrow it down to 10 to 15 finalists.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Awe said the AFF was committed to empowering start-ups with resources and to ensure start-ups are equipped to scale their businesses.
He said, “If a start-up has an idea and you throw it into a market of 42 million customers, the acceleration is going to be faster. So, it is using the entire ecosystem of our group to build the future of the country.”
“In the next 10 years, these guys coming here we see them becoming a unicorn worth over $100 million and a season is coming where would see these start-ups becoming the next drivers of our economy.”
Speaking on funding available to the start-ups, he added, “Funding is based on ideas and what would be required to move the idea forward. We have a commitment of about N10 million. After they come into the accelerator programme, there are a top-three but the other ones are going to be exposed to investors.
“This initiative would have a direct impact on the economy because it is targeted at the medium scale businesses and these are the businesses that can change economies in terms of reducing employment rate and socioeconomic levels.”
Also speaking at the event, the Head, Retail Product Insight and Capabilities, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Rob Giles said, “We are looking for companies with ideas that can solve real-world problems and where we are different from venture capital firms is we offer an environment where start-ups can be supported, nurtured, advised and get access to people who are further ahead on their journey like mentors.
“We have seen three companies that can go all the way and our job is to make sure they stay the course and structure their foundations from the very beginning that would allow them to scale.”