There’s a pretty sizeable opportunity on the horizon for any local startups in the financial services space, with AlphaCode offering up a share of R16 million to eight organisations as part of the platform’s incubator programme.

This year-long programme is also supported by Rand Merchant Investment Holdings (RMI), Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Royal Bafokeng Holdings, with the trio looking for startups that have solutions or offerings that could disrupt that financial services market.

The rewards here are significant, with each of the eight startups selected receiving a package valued at R2 million, including R1 million in grant funding and R1 million in support services. The latter includes mentorship, monthly expert-led sessions, exclusive office space in Sandton, marketing, legal and other business support services.

As AlphaCode has outlined in previous startup programmes, they’re looking for a company or entrepreneur who could be the next Outsurance or Discovery, which means the bar is being set quite high.

With last year’s programme seeing more than 200 startups applying, competition for places is high. “Each business needs to be at least 51% black-owned and operating in the financial services space,” says AlphaCode.

The programme, which began four years ago, has disbursed R21 million in funding to 23 black-owned financial services businesses since its inception, the incubator adds.

“Whilst the initial attraction is the money, we have had our previous participants say that they value the top rate mentorship and learnings they get even more.  We’ve showcased key learning modules such as regulation in financial services, digital marketing basics and growth hacking with speakers from the Reserve Bank and Luno,” notes Andile Maseko, head of ecosystem development at AlphaCode.

Applications close on 18th June, thereafter there will be a selection process involving business reviews and a bootcamp for shortlisted startups. The top 16 applicants will then present to judging panel on 1st August in order to secure one of the eight winning programme slots.

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