CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa

Pezesha, a Kenyan fintech startup has been named winner of the CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa Program 2020 powered by The Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoft). The CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa Program was held recently in Luxembourg.

Founded by Mrs Hilda Moraa Morara, Pazesha is a holistic Digital Financial Performance & Infrastructure for Underserved MSMEs in Africa. Offering lending, financial education, and debt counseling to borrowers, plus a proprietary credit scoring System to vet MSMEs without a credit history, de-risking lending to SMEs.

Pezesha received €3,000 prize money, free membership at the LHoFT, and, thanks to the ADA, an entry, a stand, and full accommodation to attend the “Assises de la Coopération Luxembourgeoise” in May 2020.

CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa is a week-long bootcamp on the theme of financial inclusion. The bootcamp is organised and delivered by the LHoFT Foundation and supported by the Ministry of Foreign & European Affairs, Directorate for Development and Humanitarian Affairs, the European Investment Bank (EIB) alongside many key strategic partners from the finance and microfinance industry.

The CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa bootcamp covered a range of topics, including business model mapping, scaling strategies, peer due diligence processes, sales strategies, business plan presentation, operational and risk management, funding and capital raising as well as social impact.

The bootcamp culminated with a final pitch session and networking event, gathering the Luxembourg Microfinance, Financial Services and Fintech Community at the LHoFT’s  Fintech Friday on 6th March. The 13 companies delivered their final pitches, leveraging the input they had received from the program partners, experts, and mentors over the course of the week-long Bootcamp.

The jury, composed of Mrs. Laura Foschi, Executive Director at ADA, Mr. Thomas Lammar, Directorate for Development and Humanitarian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign & European Affairs, Mr. Benjamin Deransart, Founder of KAP Innovation in Frontier, Mrs. Hilda Damas Kasembe, Risk and Compliance Officer at PayPal EMEA, and Mr Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT, listened to passionate pitches from all the finalists and declared Mrs. Hilda Moraa Morara as “Best Catapulter”.

Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT Foundation, commented: “I feel energised and inspired. The pitches from the participants were some of the best I have seen over the years. The program brought together 13 incredible and impressive entrepreneurs all committed to delivering real impact.

“Their solutions are excellent and I am sure many will go on to achieve great things; hopefully the Catapult: Inclusion Africa will be a memorable contributor to their success. We are thankful for the commitment of the Luxembourg community who helped make this program a success. I am extremely grateful to all our sponsors and partners.”

Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy and Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, added: “Luxembourg is a global hotspot for innovation in the financial sector, including the microfinance sector.

“Our distinct ecosystem, which includes the public and private sector, as well as actors from the civil society, facilitates the exchange of expertise and experience. I’m glad to see that fintechs, which leverage the potential of digitalisation, have become active parts of this ecosystem. Progress would not happen as fast without the innovative solutions developed by dynamic fintech startups, which allow the financially excluded to finally lend, insure, save, and transfer money.”

Musa Suleiman
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