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She Leads Africa’s Entrepreneur Showcase Opens for Application

She Leads Africa (SLA) has announced the second edition of its annual Entrepreneur Showcase to select the most outstanding female entrepreneurs in Africa and in the diaspora.

Application for the competition is currently open and will be on till the 30th of June, 2015. SLA says Interested startups must have at least a woman, between the ages 18-35, as one of its founders, the startup must have been in existence for less than three years and must have received less than $50,000 in funding.

Participants at the pitch event will compete for a $15,000 cash prize, media features and an opportunity to interact with top players in the ecosystem.

“Through our Entrepreneur Showcase we not only give exceptional entrepreneurs a space to connect with investors and the media but we also provide them with training and mentoring to ensure that they are able to take advantage of the experience.” says SLA co­-founder Yasmin Belo­-Osagie.

Interested applicants can register here


The MasterCard Foundation Announces $150,000 Award for the Most Client-Centric Organization Advancing Financial Inclusion

The MasterCard Foundation today announced the opening of its Clients at the Centre Prize competition, a US$150,000 initiative to find and recognize the most customer-focused organization working to enable poor people in developing countries to access formal financial products and services.

The prize, consisting of a US$100,000 cash award and US$50,000 in consulting support, will be awarded at The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, November 19-20, 2015.

Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion at The MasterCard Foundation, said “We’re extremely excited to look for and recognize an innovative organization that puts clients at the centre of its everyday thinking. We believe that, by doing so, they can not only provide low-income populations with the most appropriate products and services that respond to their needs and aspirations, but also offer a much better client experience.”

The prize intends to highlight best practices in financial services that make it a priority to understand the financial needs and wishes of people living in poverty and responds to them with the appropriate products and services, and their delivery. The organization receiving the prize will be one that ensures client voices are the most influential in driving business strategies and decisions.

The competition will receive applications until June 30, 2015 from financial service providers with operations in the world’s developing countries. Three to five finalists will be invited to Cape Town in November to present their organization and its practices to an audience of approximately 300 industry experts. The audience will vote on which of the candidates is most deserving of the Prize.

Applicants must be legally registered and operating companies providing financial products and services to people living in poverty (as defined nationally) in developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

    a client-centric focus;
    evidence of success;
    long-term impact, sustainability and scalability;
    novelty in designing client-centric products or services; and
    an understanding of market and context.

Most importantly, applicants must describe how their operations deliver value to low-income clients, satisfying and empowering them with the best, most appropriate financial products and services.

For complete details on the competition rules and how to apply, please visit here