[Press Release] MAFH hosts first National FinTech Ideation Competition

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The Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub (MAFH), with the sponsorship of the Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB), hosted the first national FinTech Ideation Competition with their Future FinTech Champions on the Thursday 15th December 2022 at the Financial Services Commission (FSC) House in Ébène, Mauritius.  

Around twenty students who enrolled as part of the Future FinTech Champions programme this year, across multiple local universities, worked as one team to organize one major event in the form of a national FinTech Ideation Competition – a first of its kind. The latter was led by Jaynesh Beeharry, a second year Computer Science student at the University of Mauritius. He opened the competition on Thursday by addressing a few words of gratitude for the organizing team, mentors, his agemates in the programme and congratulating all teams that had registered and been selected for the day to pitch their unique FinTech ideas on the four following challenge statements that were provided by the sponsor:

  • New Times, New Banking Experience
  • Wealth and Investment
  • Disruption & Innovation in Banking Apps for individuals
  • Gen-Z Banking

Benazeer Saïdoo, Deputy CEO of MAFH, followed up with the following comments: “At the level of the association, we are continually deepening our understanding of what FinTech is, what and who it involves as stakeholders in building this ecosystem. And one very important stakeholder in the creation of this industry (of any industry for that matter) is the Youth. We cannot build something sustainable if we do not involve our Youth in the conversation around wealth building and the business opportunities that lie ahead in the industry.” 

She added observations that has been made over the last years, through surveys and on the ground direct engagements, about the critical intervention that was required at this level, as a lot of tertiary students were not fully aware of how technology was set to impact their lives, which is even more critical when it comes to the industry of Finance, two of the things that practically govern our lives today. FinTech furthermore opens up a whole new combination of possibilities in services, products, careers, new imaginable ways of how we can live our lives and how we could conduct business at a global level – very much in line with the “Think global, act local” mindset, which makes it even more than important that our youth is empowered to understand what’s going on and thrive in this space. She thanked the FFCS participating this year, multiple MAFH members and partners that provided assistance as mentors throughout the competition, as well as the Financial Services Commission for hosting the event on their premises, and taking an active part in this initiative as part of the jury panel.

Vincent Chatard, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of MCB, proceeded with some introductory remarks as follows: “In 2018 already, we invested heavily in technology, new ways of working, data, so that’s a very strong commitment and strategic objective from the MCB. We believe that financial institutions are becoming more and more technology friendly. We want to partner with innovative startups, as we believe that nurturing startup working and providing us services is also a way to enhance customer services. There are four topics […], very important subjects which will be very interesting for me to see what the teams here have been coming up with.”

The jury panel for the day was composed of Vincent Chatard, Jessica Naga, Founder and Director of the Digital Partners Network and the Mindex Group, and Carine Arlanda-Laroy, Assistant Manager of the FinTech & Innovation unit at the Financial Services Commission. Altogether, they evaluated 11 pitches that had been selected for the final round of the competition. After a full day of presentation and deliberation, the winners were selected and announced as follows:

1ST PLACE – Team FinTechTic, made up of three students from the University of Mauritius: Dikshikha Sumrah, Ghanishta Woocheet and Vivek Allan.

2ND PLACE – Team Richesse, made up of two students from the African Leadership University, Benson Mugure and Marthar Nderitu.

3RD PLACE – Team Mobilité, made up of three students from the African Leadership University, Cynthia Gichuki, Reggie Okoko and David Shaun Matthew Oodoomansaïb.

The teams here respectively won RS25,000, RS15,000 and RS 10,000, as well as a series of goodies provided by the MCB. 

The ideas provided here were impressive to say the least and this was only just the starting point for many of the participants here, who we expect to be hearing and seeing more of over the coming years as competitions and more support programmes appear over the island. We invite all readers to follow MAFH and the Future Fintech Champions on LinkedIn to keep up with their updates and progress.