The African Fintech Foundry, an initiative of Access Bank, will continue to promote Nigerian startups to attract new investors, its Head, Daniel Awe, has said.
He stated this when the company organised an event where startups presented their business ideas before a panel, which included bankers, tech experts, startups experts and investors.
Awe said the initiative runs an Accelerator Programme, which helps young and budding business enterprises form and nurture promising startups.
He listed some companies that have gone through the Accelerator Programme.
“We have Paystack Payment Limited, which is a company of about $200 million. For some reasons, Paystack started with Access Bank before they got to where they are. We have Flutterwave, which is valued at about $300 million,” he said.
He continued: “It is an environment where we pick an idea, where we pick startups and put them in an Accelerator Programme of about 17 weeks, depending on what model they want to run and teach them how to run a successful business.
“We had 306 entries and shortlisted them to 70, and to 30. Unfortunately, we are not going to take all of them because we may only accommodate 10 or 15 for the Accelerator Programme. We are looking at programmes to support the others from the 306 entries. We are not going to drop them. We are giving them ideas and feedback. This programme is going to be continuous. We will be doing it twice a year. We will probably do another one before the end of the year,” he said.
Head of Retail Products, Access Bank, Robert Giles said what the AFF and Access Bank are doing is different from what other banks are looking at and that the target is seeing great companies springing out of the programme.
He said, “What we are doing here is different from other banks. Those that have just made their presentations today will surely be successful business people in the future. We are interested in helping startups build successful and sustainable businesses that will employ people and help the economy.
“We are not only looking at financial companies, some are looking at solving agriculture and medical problems, some are looking at solving housing problems and education problems. So, it is beyond financial problems. We are looking for companies that will solve real problems”.
Oluwaseun Babatunde of Rentgage, one of the companies that made presentations at the event, said the intention of the company was to create a company that will help people in the country and Africa as a continent to be able to afford ideal housing units.
“We are coming with a financial solution. Instead of people finding it hard to get ideal housing units, we will help get affordable housing units where they will pay not annually but at piecemeal and at their convenience with a negligible interest”, Babatunde said.
Love Udoma of Farm Delite, who also made a presentation, said her company, a networking platform for agriculturists, “connects all the players in the agricultural value chain from production to distribution to consumption. So, you can trace what you eat right from the farmer to your table. You can trace the condition it was planted”.