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Swift announces Innotribe’s African fintech winners

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Cape Town – Swift, the 40-plus global financial services giant, on Thursday announced the names of the three "most promising" young fintech companies in the Innotribe 2017 Startup Challenge. 

Irofit Technologies, Sokowatch and Vugapay will each receive a €10,000 cash prize after winning the challenge for Africa held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Wednesday. They will also get the opportunity to share insights about fintech innovation in Africa with the global financial community during Sibos, Swift's annual global financial services conference, taking place in Toronto from October 16-19. 

Swift, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, provides a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions securely. Innotribe is a Swift initiative that seeks to bridge the gap between startups and innovators and the financial service industry. 

The initiative seeks out products and innovations that could disrupt current business models and create opportunities for new ones. Nigeria's Irofit Technologies (www.irofit.com) provides a mobile point of sale that helps small retailers process card payments in real time, even in settings where internet connection is poor. 

Omoniyi Olawale, co-founder and chief executive, had this to say about being part of the Innotribe event: "Awesome coaches, invaluable feedback, and inspiring fellow-entrepreneurs." Based in Kenya, Sokowatch (https://sokowatch.com/) is a last-mile distribution channel for consumer goods companies to reach small shops through an SMS ordering system. 

Daniel Yu, founder and chief executive, said being coached by some of the most knowledgeable startup investors in Africa and Silicon Valley had been "an invaluable experience in helping us craft our pitch for a global financial audience". The third winner, Rwanda's Vugapay www.vugapay.com helps mobile money merchants get paid across Africa. "I have learnt a lot on perfecting my pitch deck," said Patrick Muhire, co-founder.

"Our partnership with Swift's African Regional Conference (ARC) over the last three years has highlighted how much Swift's community is keen to understand fintech innovation, whether we refer to its latest developments, benefits or the opportunities it can unlock," said Fabian Vandenreydt, global head of securities markets, Innotribe and the Swift Institute at Swift. "It was a real pleasure for us to provide expert mentoring and in-depth industry feedback to the nine participating startups and we wish them all a lot of success in the future."

 Sido Bestani, head of Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Swift, added: "The Innotribe showcase at ARC gives delegates a unique opportunity to tap into the most exciting new fintech businesses on the continent. "This year's finalists are providing real solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the African financial industry, including financial crime compliance, financial inclusion and supply chain finance."

– African News Agency (ANA)
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