The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has announced that it’s partnering with financial technology innovation initiative, Innotribe, to host the financial tech startup challenge for the first time in South Africa, during the 22nd annual African Regional Conference happening in May this year.

The financial tech startup challenge, which has been hosted in various countries around the world since 2011, introduces entrepreneurs to highly qualified financial service experts, angel investors, venture capitalists and global leaders in the financial tech sector.

Fifteen startups from across Africa will converge in Cape Town to present their pitches to potential investors. At the end of the pitching session, five top finalists will be voted for, and will go on to compete in the international startup challenge alongside contestants from London, Singapore and New York in October.

“ARC is already a unique event for the financial industry, creating a collaborative space where participants can gather to share experiences and look for solutions to common challenges,” says  Christian Sarafidis, SWIFT head of Western Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“Bringing the Innotribe Startup Challenge to the African community is an exciting step, meaning SWIFT Innotribe can help to support and nurture the new technologies that are going to play a big role in the future of the financial industry across the continent.”

You can apply for the SWIFT startup challenge on the Innotribe website, applications close on 22nd February and semi-finalists will be announced in April.

“Every year the bar gets higher with many impressive applications from startups coming from across the globe,” says Fabian Vandenreydt, head of markets management, Innotribe, and the SWIFT Institute. “We are eager to see what the 2015 applicants have to offer, and look forward to giving them that much needed exposure to financial institutions.”