MIT Legatum Center selects the 10 Startups for the 2018 Zambezi Prize

MIT Legatum Center and Mastercard Foundation have selected the 10 finalist startups that will compete for the 2018 Zambezi Prize for Innovation in Financial Inclusion. “We are pleased to welcome the 2018 finalists into the MIT Zambezi family”, reads the press release from MIT's Legatum Center.

The prize, targeting financial inclusion entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa, was initiated in 2015 to unearth Africa’s "most promising and innovative" early-stage startups.

Also read: Pan-African Edtech incubator, Injini, reveals the second cohort

The list is dominated by Kenyan startups that total up to four: Apollo Agriculture, Bidhaa Sasa, FarmDrive, and Tulaa. An outstanding intersection between all these is their focus on rural agri-business development.

The others are Farmerline (Ghana), LanteOTC (South Africa), 2017 Seedstars winner MaTontine (Senegal), OZE (Ghana), RecyclePoints (Nigeria), and Wala (South Africa).

These will meet up with stakeholders from MIT and tech ecosystems at the MIT Open Mic Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya scheduled for August 28th and 29th.

The event will include awarding the Grand Prize Winner $100,000, the two runners-up $30,000, while the seven remaining finalists will each receive $5,000 in cash prizes.

Read Also: Ugandan startups can now apply to pitch at Seedstars Kampala

Withal, the entrepreneur who demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities will receive a $5,000 prize from the Legatum Center. All finalists will receive mentorship from "MIT leaders and Zambezi alumni companies" during the event.

Some of the past Zambezi Prize finalists include Tugende who emerged third in 2015. It currently has at least 150 employees and has served over 12,000 customers.

Tugende, a lease-to-own startup, recently closed funding in form of a $5 million loan from OPIC to scale both within Uganda and the East African region. Other winners have included KifiyaPlusPeopleMFS AfricaChamasoftNomaniniFirstAccess, AgriLife, MChanga, and mJara.

The Grand Prize Winner, Umati Capital received funding from Accion Venture Lab, Blue Haven Initiative, and Lundin Foundation.

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