The Sierra Leone FinTech Challenge 2017 is an initiative by the Bank of Sierra Leone, in partnership with FSD Africa funded by U.K. aid from the U.K. government and UNCDF MM4P, with support from USAID and the Last Mile Trust Fund. The Challenge is designed to encourage and catalyse the development of FinTech solutions that are useful and highly relevant to the people and businesses of Sierra Leone. These innovations have the potential to introduce game-changing ingredients for expanding quality of access and usage of financial services in Sierra Leone, where over 87% of the population remain unbanked, especially those living in rural areas, women, young people, smallholder farmers and marginalized population groups. The Bank of Sierra Leone, FSD Africa, funded by U.K. aid from the U.K. government, and UNCDF MM4P, with support from USAID and the Last Mile Trust Fund will provide financial rewards to the most promising ideas that expand financial inclusion. Specifically, the Bank of Sierra Leone, through its Youth Entrepreneurship Fund, FSD Africa and UNCDF MM4P will provide up to $13,000 seed capital to three winning concepts, including one youth award for a Sierra Leonean youth based in Sierra Leone through the Bank of Sierra Leone Youth Entrepreneurship Fund, as judged by a panel of FSD Africa, UNCDF MM4P, Bank of Sierra Leone and a Consumer Group representative. This capital will help test designs, buy in expert support and clarify the business case.
FSD Africa and UNCDF MM4P will then provide a $100,000 grant/debt mix to up to two winning finalists as judged by two panels - a consumer group panel, as well as an FSD Africa, UNCDF MM4P and Bank of Sierra Leone panel. This capital will be a contribution to the implementation of a pilot with clear targets.
The Bank of Sierra Leone will provide to all three finalist access to its newly launched Regulatory Sandbox - a safe space for unregulated financial sector innovations to grow under the guidance of the Bank of Sierra Leone staff and other specialists. The Sierra Leone FinTech Challenge launched on June 15, 2017. To apply, please click on the application form.