The FINCA Ventures Prize Competition

Jan 30, 2024
The FINCA Ventures Prize Competition

If you want to get a better feel for FINCA’s work, join us on Thursday, March 28, 2024, for the inaugural FINCA Ventures Prize competition. The in-person event at FINCA’s global headquarters in Washington, DC will feature “shark-tank” style presentations from twelve social enterprises with operations in sub-Saharan Africa. Contestants will compete in four categories around the themes of healthcare and environment.

The Prizes

Thanks to support from a generous donor, all twelve finalists will go home with cash prizes. The first-place finishers in each of the four categories will win $70,000 in grant funding to further develop their social enterprises. Second and third place finishers in each sub-category will win $20,000 and $10,000, respectively. The event also will elevate awareness among donor and investor networks of the powerful potential to catalyze startups seeking to deliver impactful and scalable solutions to poor and low-income customers.

FINCA launched the competition last November to support social entrepreneurs who share FINCA’s steadfast commitment to ending global poverty. We received applications from more than 300 social enterprises. By early January, FINCA staff had selected 40 enterprises to move to the semi-final round. Outside experts helped us narrow down the field to the twelve finalists.

The Competitors

The finalists represent a broad array of geographies (East, West and Southern Africa) and business model (tech-enabled and tech-first). And we’re especially excited that ten out of the twelve companies have a woman founder or co-founder. The presenters and their companies are:

  • Koffi Amegbo Nomedji (Baobaby)
  • Naomi Kerubo Monari (Bena Care)
  • Moka Lantum (CheckUps)
  • Olufolakemi Owodunni (Emergency Response Africa)
  • Ashley Speyer (Kazi Yetu)
  • Natalie Casey (Koolboks)
  • Sona Shah (Neopenda)
  • Adeola Alli (OneHealth Ltd)
  • Angela Juliana Odero (Rio Fish Ltd)
  • JohnCarl Dunyo (Sommalife Ltd)
  • Ashley King-Bischof (Sprout)
  • Neo Hutiri (Technovera)

The Event

On March 28th, the finalists will make in-person pitches to the judges. Attendees will have a chance to hear them explain their bold visions, disruptive business models, and new products or technologies that have the capacity to create meaningful impact for poor and low-income people. Short presentations will enliven the event. And the competition will conclude with a reception at which attendees will have a chance to mingle with the competitors and judges as well as with FINCA’s board and management team.

“Early-stage social entrepreneurs, especially those operating in sub-Saharan Africa face significant challenges in raising capital to grow their businesses, which keeps poor and low-income people from accessing high-quality goods and services that can improve their lives,” notes Melissa Tickle, investment director of FINCA Ventures. “We are excited to fund young entrepreneurs to solve pressing global health and environmental issues that we hear from FINCA customers every day.”