Barclays Bank is taking its fintech accelerator programme to South Africa, extending its search for entrepreneurial startups to emerging economies on the African sub-continent.
The opening of the accelerator coincides with the launch by Barclays of a Rise innovation hub in Cape Town, representing the bank's physical and virtual global community for collaboration and fintech innovation.
The Rise London and Manchester hubs have so far played host to 50000 startups, 20 hackathons and 130 companies. The facility features co-working and events spaces and a bespoke setting for the Barclays accelerator programme.
Barclays expects the Cape Town equivalent to provide developing markets with an opportunity to leapfrog ageing analogue infrastructure, deployed in most developed economies, and with it the capacity to solve some of Africa’s development challenges.
“The financial services industry is undergoing a paradigm shift and new tech start-ups are challenging traditional business models,” says Ashley Veasey, chief information officer of Barclays Africa. “This is possible, in principle, because advances in technology are enabling bright minds to develop solutions that compete with the best of those developed by big corporates. We aim to partner and collaborate at the forefront of this change.”
Several Rise initiatives are already underway in Africa, including a 'Tech Lab Africa' programme and the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge while applications are now open to companies wanting to participate in the Barclays accelerator.
“The three-month intensive programme has been designed to accelerate new fintech businesses in delivering breakthrough products to market,” says Veasey. “What we’re offering companies is a seat within a best-in-class accelerator programme, which in turn affords access to data, technology and intensive mentoring from industry experts and key decision makers.”
The programme will culminate in a ‘Demo Day’ in June to an audience that comprises industry leaders, serial entrepreneurs, senior executives and corporate partners.
Applications are now open until 10 January, with the programme kicking off on 28 March.
Update: Fresh from the launch of the Cape Town, Barclays has detailed plans to launch similar scheme in Tel Aviv, opening a Rise hub in the Israeli capital and embarking on a search for ten startups to participate in the Barclays Accelerator.