Ghana-based startup AgroCenta has been named the winner of the first Fincluders Startup Challenge Amman competition for innovative fintech startups with products that can expand financial inclusion in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Organised by the Technical Assistance Facility of the MENA impact investor SANAD Fund for MSMEs and Oasis500, the competition attracted around 50 entrants from 18 countries.
AgroCenta, which provides an online trade hub connecting farmers and buyers, real-time payments with mobile money technologies, and an on-demand logistics service, was named the overall winner, taking home a cash prize of US$20,000.
“The Fincluders Startup Challenge has been an eye opener for us, helping startups accelerate by giving them the opportunity to network and meet potential investors and partners,” said AgroCenta chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder Francis Obirikorang.
Second place and a cash prize of US$10,000 went to liwwa, a marketplace lender to SMEs in Jordan, while third place and US$5,000 went to United Arab Emirates-based Democrance, a micro-insurance provider for low-income populations.
“We are both elated and humbled by the interest in the Fincluders Startup Challenge here in Amman. The finalists proved their skills and determination during the pitching round of the competition, and we are confident these fledgling businesses can contribute to spreading access to finance in the region, which is also a main goal of our fund,” said SANAD board chair Dr Daniela Beckmann.