2 South African Startups Among Finalists Of 2018 Zambezi Prize For Innovation In Financial inclusion

Ten African Startups have been selected as finalists for the 2018 Zambezi Prize for innovation in Financial Inclusion, and two of the South African startups hails this opportunity. The finalists earn an opportunity to attend an exclusive boot camp to absorb from great leaders. These Startups will join leaders from the Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT), and African tech ecosystems on August 28th and 29th at the 2018 MIT Open Mic Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. The access to this two-day event will include a VIP reception followed by the award ceremony at Strathmore University.

The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT is a hub in collaboration with the MasterCard Foundation for MIT students, faculty, departments and global entrepreneurs who are passionate about entrepreneurship in frontier markets. So far, since its establishment in 2015, the Centre has supported close to 300 entrepreneurs from 26 countries through more than a dozen programs and initiatives. The MIT Innovation Initiative and MIT-Africa encompass the institute’s global priority for collaboration with Africa in areas of education, research, and innovation. They empower future leaders with entrepreneur skills they need to succeed.


Wala is a mobile money solution that uses blockchain technology, founded and directed by Tricia Martinez. Tricia is a serial entrepreneur and behavioral economist who has devoted her life to solving problems for underserved consumers around the world. Her experience ranges from cash transfer solutions in Africa to small business microfinance, to the development of an investment fund for underserved markets. Prior to Wala, she created this platform to allow customers to register for services, manage funds, send money peer-to-peer, buy value-added services, and even transact in person at merchants.

Over 1.2 billion consumers worldwide are underbanked, meaning they have bank accounts or utilize other financial services, but they frequently remove themselves from the financial system because it’s cheaper and easier to operate in cash. Traditional banking models are forcing consumers out of the financial system due to their reliance on expensive legacy systems, unsustainable products, and outdated services. Wala is changing this by making banking easy and accessible.

Wala brings to the market first digital banking platform for underbanked consumers in emerging markets. The platform is driven by efficiency, price, experience, and trust. The Wala digital banking platform sits on top of the bank’s existing infrastructure and provides FREE banking in the form of current and savings accounts to Wala customers. Its technology provides free P2P payments as well as more efficient access to insurance, loans, remittance, and other financial services. Wala is now live in three markets, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.


Emmanuel Luthuli is a Co-Founder of LanteOTC, he previously worked for a South African leading financial services company, where he gained significant exposure to a breadth of business units. LanteOTC is an investment crowdfunding platform that connects Investors with high growth potential Small-Medium Business in Africa. It gives customers the opportunity to invest in a wide range of vetted Small businesses located in South Africa, consequently offering Small Businesses the opportunity to raise the much-needed capital.


You can use LanteOTC to:

  • Invest in vetted Small businesses you believe in
  • Put your money to work alongside professional investors, minimum investment is R5,000
  • Easy access to handpicked businesses in Africa
  • Investment fee is 5%

LanteOTC only lists companies that are already part-backed by professional investors and thus have also taken an active role in evaluating the strength of the deal. LanteOTC is managed by Actuarial Analysts, to offer a wide range of early-stage investment opportunities. Investing in vetted small business has never been seamless and easy.

At the ecosystem level, the Zambezi prize is supported by great regional outreach collaborators and many ambassadors, including the finalists of the 2015 edition. The grand prize winners will be awarded USD 100,000. The two runner-ups will each receive USD 30,000 while the seven remaining finalists will each receive USD 5,000 in cash prizes. In addition, the Legatum Center will award USD 5000 to an African entrepreneur who demonstrated great leadership qualities to unify Africa’s tech ecosystem.