International banking services corporation Barclays has today revealed Rise, an incubator programme that the bank says will help African startups and businesses scale.

More often than not, the same principles that apply in other parts of the world will not apply in an African context. The lack of fast and ubiquitous internet connectivity, for instance, still has the ability to kill African startups, something their contemporaries in the US don’t have to deal with.

Barclays believes it has taken this into account, and claims it is able to leapfrog businesses past ever-ageing infrastructure, right into the relevant global marketplace.

While the idea of scaling startups has always been at the forefront of the Barclays vision, the launch of Rise makes this all the more possible as Chief information officer at Barclays Africa, Ashley Veasey explains.

“The financial services industry is undergoing a paradigm shift and new tech startups are challenging traditional business models,” said Veasey in a statement. “This is possible, in principle, because advances in technology are enabling bright minds to develop solutions that compete with the best of those developed by big corporates. We aim to partner and collaborate at the forefront of this change.”

The Rise programme currently has innovation hubs in London, Manchester, New York and there will be a new innovation hub opening in Cape Town in December.

In addition to the new innovation hub, Barclays will host the first Barclays Accelerator programme powered by Techstars at the Cape Town innovation hub from March 2016. Entrepreneurs and innovators will have the opportunity to take part in, as Veasey explains, “…a best-in-class accelerator programme, which in turn affords access to data, technology and intensive mentoring from industry experts and key decision makers.”

Applicants for the programme, which is searching for scalable businesses in the fintech sector, have until 10 January 2016 to apply on the Barclays Accelerator web page.

[Source – Barclays]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.