The theme for the September 6th Freetown Pitch Night was “Disrupting Finance: Fintech”.
FinTech stands for Financial Technologies,: technologies used and applied in the financial services sector. FinTech is coming to represent technologies that are disrupting traditional financial services, including mobile payments, money transfers, loans, fundraising, and asset management.
“The sad fact is many of Africa’s citizens still lack access to basic financial services, with traditional financial service providers being unable to reach the most needy on the continent. The heavy work to connect these unbanked populations is being done by the continent’s fintech innovators, meaning the space is of crucial importance and impact”.
According to Tom Jackson, Disrupt Africa’s co-founder, fintech appeals to investors because it checks two boxes. “Investing in fintech start-ups offers investors serious potential returns, given the size of the untapped markets these companies can reach,” he explains. “There is also a strong impact angle in that new forms of financial service provision have the ability to empower and connect unserved Africans.”
At the Freetown Pitch Night, we met four innovators in the Fintech Space. Three were start-ups and the fourth, an association, The Sierra Leone Fintech Association.
These innovators, just like their counterparts across the African continent are developing products and services to connect the unbanked; to help small business grow and manage their finances, and reduce costs of financial transactions.
The bigger picture is that these innovators are also leveraging the huge potential benefits for all businesses in Sierra Leone, especially the new breed of entrepreneurs and exciting small businesses. These new breed of entrepreneurs and exciting small businesses are crucial for economic growth and jobs in Sierra Leone, but often face difficulty to access financial services they need to survive and prosper.