London-based Fintech Circle Innovate announces new Africa focussed partnership with South African based innovation hub CiTi
London based, FinTech Circle Innovate and The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) based in South Africa, have today announced a partnership geared at harnessing the potential of FinTech, in a move that aims to fast track leading-edge FinTech and entrepreneurial development in South Africa and on the rest of the continent.
“The partnership with The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) is a logical and obvious choice for us,” says Nicole Anderson, CEO and Co-founder of FinTech Circle Innovate. “We feel there’s a close strategic fit. We both understand how progressive enterprise businesses or public/private partnerships can stimulate innovation talent. CiTi has a long-standing history as the most experienced incubator in Africa, plus we are both leaders in innovation in our regions. The opportunity and use case for convergence in FinTech in Africa will be a significant focus for us. Africa is showing the world how FinTech is not just about displacing or enabling traditional financial services, but that it has huge potential to stimulate key economic sectors such as agriculture, retail and energy. It is our belief that sustainable innovation comes from collaboration between incumbent players and emerging or new world business models.
CiTi has already established the first specialised FinTech hub on the continent with members such as the Thomson Reuters Innovation Lab, Barclays Rise Africa and also the Blockchain Academy. “The purpose of our Innovation Clusters,” says Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi, “is to actively identify, support and stimulate innovation and growth in key sectors that will benefit the greater ecosystem, particularly where the technology has a transformative potential. Partnering with FinTech Circle Innovate who are the world class best practise industry leaders in FinTech strategy, incubation models and investment, enables us to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs, start-ups and established industries and banks.”
Our initial FinTech program design will focus on the opportunities within FinTech convergence building core competencies in the cross section of tech activating and advancing traditional sectors. Capabilities such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, digital identity and cyber security are great examples which can enable, protect, accelerate and optimise a financial value chain. And this is relevant outside the domain of traditional financial services. We will also use our proven methodology and blend it with regional/local requirements and give the region access to our talent pool of some of the best minds in convergent FinTech.
In addition, we intend to rollout a ‘Knowledge Ecosystem’ proposition – FinTech education for key influencers, executives and academia will also feature as an early focus area. This curriculum will be based on the international bestselling The FinTech Book© but adapted for the African continent’s current needs. Nicole has just completed a month-long assessment of the FinTech readiness in the region – ‘Skills are a hot topic anywhere in the world when it comes to FinTech and this region is no exception. This is still a nascent industry – and stakeholders are learning in parallel. Innovation is much more about experimentation and execution than theory and CiTi provide the perfect platform for us to bring world class learnings and trends to life with African use cases and serve the needs of all key stakeholders – big business, policy makers, government bodies and the innovators themselves – in a relevant and engaging way.”
Joshin Raghubar, Chairman of CiTi said “We are excited to expand our fintech knowledge and capability ecosystem in South Africa and the rest of the continent. Moving beyond the financial sector itself, the particular needs and gaps in the African continent present an opportunity for fintech products and competencies to be powerful enablers in accelerating innovation and efficiencies in the value chains of other sectors.”
In addition, Susanne Chishti, Chairman and co-founder of FinTech Circle Innovate and co-author of The FinTech Book© endorsed the partnership – ‘We see our relationship with CiTi as a strategic move forward for the FinTech Circle Group in its expansion vision. We have built our success on remaining steadfast in our value proposition, the FinTech ecosystem – developing ecosystem skills and supporting corporates in their FinTech strategy is a universal requirement, and Africa is no different although it requires the steadfast capability of a partner like CiTi. “
Widely recognised as a partner of choice for corporates who wish to innovate in South Africa, CiTi’s holistic approach to supporting industry and entrepreneurs – by providing location, skills, job readiness, enterprise development, incubation, innovation hubs and tech events – ensures effective contribution to innovation, growth of the economy and a positive impact on society.
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