INNOVATION

Fintechs battle to find solution for co-operative societies

The challenge is supported by the International Finance Corporation

In Summary
  • This, as mid-table saving schemes race against time to shift the digital bandwagon.
  • Winners will get a cash reward of up to Sh5 million
Co-op Bank’s Head of Digital Experience & Innovation Russel Akuom, Amina Saidi of Co-operatives Banking and Agri-Value Chain Manager Vera Nyaboke prepare for the virtual demo event where winners of the on-going Akili Kali Innovation Challenge will be selected
Co-op Bank’s Head of Digital Experience & Innovation Russel Akuom, Amina Saidi of Co-operatives Banking and Agri-Value Chain Manager Vera Nyaboke prepare for the virtual demo event where winners of the on-going Akili Kali Innovation Challenge will be selected
Image: COURTESY

Five financial technology (Fintech) firms have been shortlisted to participate in Co-operative Bank’s Akili Kali Innovation Challenge.

The challenge aims at finding the best financial solutions for the lender’s 20 million co-operative societies.

This, as mid-table saving schemes race against time to shift the digital bandwagon.

A panel of evaluators from a list of 500-odd applicants selected the firms, Awamo 360 Kenya, Herufi Technologies, Jamborow Ltd, Smart Matatu and Chamasoft Ltd.

Winners will get a cash reward of up to Sh5 million and an opportunity to integrate and launch their innovation with Co-operative Bank.

The challenge, which is supported by the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private investment arm, will enable the bank to identify and partner with innovators who can rapidly develop solutions to build value for co-operatives and enable them to service their members’ demands more efficiently.

“The new innovations will also give co-operatives a competitive edge and strengthen their resilience in the rapidly changing financial landscape in Kenya, particularly in light of the myriad challenges occasioned by Covid-19,” the lender said in a statement.

A virtual demo event will be held to select one or more winners after five weeks of a co-development and co-design programme supported by a dedicated team from the bank and nominated co-operatives.

Vincent Marangu, the bank’s director for Co-operatives Banking, the growth trends of co-operatives in Kenya presents a great opportunity to offer valuable services to members.

“The Akili Kali Challenge is a call for passionate innovators to collaborate with Co-operative Bank of Kenya in building the next generation of financial solutions beneficial to the Co-operative movement and its membership of over 20 million Kenyans,” Marangu said.

The Co-operative movement in Kenya is the largest in Africa and among the top 10 globally, with over 22,000 registered Co-operatives and over Sh600billion in savings.

They play a major role in all the key sectors of the economy including education, agriculture, housing and transport. It employs more than 500,000 people besides providing opportunities for self-employment to many more.