Some promising news for startups on the continent with the MIT Legatum Center and Mastercard Foundation selecting 10 African businesses for its 2018 Zambezi Prize for Innovation and Financial Inclusion.

This is the third year that the competition has been going, and 2018’s prize total is around $200 000 (~R2.67 million).

The Zambezi Prize also acknowledges the most promising and innovative early-stage startups that have a specific focus to promote and advance financial inclusion on the continent.

This year’s selected companies are Apollo Agriculture (Kenya), Bidhaa Sasa (Kenya), FarmDrive (Kenya), Farmerline (Ghana), LanteOTC (South Africa), MaTontine (Senegal), OZE (Ghana), RecyclePoints (Nigeria), Tulaa (Kenya), and Wala (South Africa).

“We are pleased to welcome the 2018 finalists into the MIT Zambezi family. They represent some of the world’s most innovative change agents,” noted Georgina Campbell Flatter, executive director of the MIT Legatum Center.

The finalists will join leaders from the MIT and African tech ecosystems on 28th and 29th August at the 2018 MIT Open Mic Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.

A breakdown of the 2018 Zambezi Prize money.

The two-day long event will culminate in the grand prize winner being awarded $100 000 (~R1.34 million) and two runners-up each receiving $30 000 (~R401 000). The remaining seven finalists will each get $5 000 (~R66 993).

From there, the winners will be invited to attend the Zambezi boot camp, which is held during the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) from 5th to 9th November, affording them the opportunity to also be fast-tracked for the IIC grand prize, which is up to $1 million (~R13.4 million) in funding.

With such a significant prize pool, not to mention mentoring and funding, the 2018 Zambezi competition could catapult any one of the 10 startup finalists onto a far greater stage, making this a highly coveted award.

 

[Image – CC0 Pixabay]