Visa Launches FinTech Accelerator Program in Africa
Over the years, Visa has shown a willingness to work with FinTech startups in various ways. This includes programs such as its Fast Track initiative, as well as its accelerator. On that note, the company is now launching a new accelerator — and one far outside of the United States.
This week, Visa announced that it would be launching a Visa Africa FinTech Accelerator program focused on mentoring startups and helping them grow. According to the company, the program will include up to 40 startups per year and help support them through expertise, connections, technology, and investment funding. FinTechs from throughout the continent can apply to participate in the three-month accelerator via two application phases each year. The first of these will begin next month. Additionally, finalists from the Visa Everywhere Initiative competition Africa country editions this year will be invited to join the program.
The launch of this accelerator is part of Visa’s recently-announced initiative to invest $1 billion in Africa’s digital transformation. Beyond that, the company notes that it has 10 offices across Africa and supports payments in all 54 countries on the continent.
What they’re saying:
Announcing the program and offering some insight into why Visa is focusing efforts on Africa, the company’s executive chairman Alfred F. Kelly Jr. stated, “Africa has one of the most exciting and admired FinTech ecosystems in the world, bringing outstanding entrepreneurial talent to a young digital-first population that is growing fast.” He added, “Our new FinTech Accelerator will bring expertise, connections, and investment to Africa’s best fintech start-ups so they can grow at scale.”
Additionally, Visa’s Head of Partnerships, Products and Solutions for Central Europe, Middle East and Africa Otto Williams said, “Africa’s FinTech community is at the forefront of payments innovation and connecting more of the unbanked with access to the digital economy. Visa has been working with this innovative community to create new programs and solutions to help fintechs scale, while giving access to Visa’s technology and partner ecosystem. Through the new Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator, we are looking forward to working with more brilliant entrepreneurs and companies to shape the future of money.”
Admittedly, for as much as I’ve come to know about the FinTech sector here in the U.S., I’ve rarely researched international startups. Therefore, on a personal level, I look forward to following this accelerator program and seeing how companies in Africa are furthering the FinTech mission.