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Last week banking and asset management group Investec showcased three SA startups that it believes are addressing financial inclusion in the country.
Investec presented the startups to stakeholders and Investec clients at an event held last Thursday (23 May) in Cape Town. The event was held as part of its Tech4Good initiative — aimed at boosting financial inclusion.
Investec’s Tech4Good event showcased Abalobi, SweepSouth And Mama Money
Abalobi is a mobile app which enables small-scale fisheries to directly connect with local restaurants while also tracking fish stock sustainability.
SweepSouth is an app-based platform that connects domestic cleaners with work opportunities, while Mama Money is a cashless money transfer service that allows users to remit money across the continent.
Investec head of digital engagement Camilla Swart (pictured above) said in designing the event the firm initially looked at “unicorn tech ventures” like Uber and Airbnb and then “discovered” what she said is a new business model in the tech world — zebra companies (ironically the zebra forms an important part of Investec’s branding — Ed) .
“As an alternative business model, zebras are ‘black and white’ in that these business models seek to be profitable and improve society at the same time, solving ‘real world’ challenges and are inclined to collaboration,” said Swart.
She also pointed out that to address financial inclusion and grow the country’s labour force, companies need to encourage entrepreneurship and engage communities in a new way.
The event, which she said Investec had worked on with UCT’s Bertha Centre, gave stakeholders and Investec clients access to a network of tech innovators and environmental and social-change thought leaders throughout Cape Town.
FinMark Trust head for SADC financial inclusion Nikki Kettles delivered the keynote address on how financial inclusion could be a catalyst for change.
This, while Bertha Centre innovative finance lead Tine Fisker Henriksen and impact investing and innovative finance project manager Natasha Dinham covered how impact-driven ventures can be sustainably funded through impact investing.
Swart said the event was an opportunity to understand the challenges the country faces and the technology solutions that can be leveraged to address these challenges.
Added Swart: “It was also the opportunity to see if we could use the power of networking to support the thinking around this emerging type of business model”.
Featured image: Investec head of digital engagement Camilla Swart (Supplied)