The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity (FRP) has announced the nine startups from seven countries to which it will award over $9 million. These are startups whose projects seek to extend financial inclusion to people living in rural areas, and some of these startups are from Africa.
The nine selected startups were handpicked from over 300 applicants who were vetted through a two-phase competition that ran from June 2017 and to January 2018. Mastercard mission for FRP is to enable startups with innovative and scalable financial products and services help improve access to financial services for the poor living in rural areas of Africa.
There will be two more additional lists of winners of FRP assessed as part of the 3rd and 4th phase of this competition. The list will be announced next year. But for this phase one list, the African startups to make the cut are as follows:
|Apollo Agriculture||Kenya||Gets $1.09 million to put towards helping rural farmers in sub-Saharan Africa get farm inputs and advice on credits.|
|SolarNow||Uganda||They secured $740k to scale its solar-powered energy solutions to people living in rural areas and off-grid.|
|Farmerline||Ghana||This startup leverage on innovative mobile-based technology to provide financial services to people who don’t have traditional bank accounts. They then seek to provide them with information and top-grade farm inputs with the goal of increasing their yields and incomes. They have secured $692k from FRP|
“For African-led venture or entrepreneurs solving problems in their own communities or country. It can be a struggle to attract the right capital and resources to scale. There are daily challenges around perceived risk, ability to execute and proof of traction,” said Alloysius Attah, the founder an CEO of Farmerline.
FRP has expanded to include four more sub-Saharan countries: Zambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The team leader for FRP, Wambui Chege added: “We are excited to add nine more companies to our growing portfolio that is having a positive impact on the lives of millions of people across sub-Saharan Africa. “