In July, Barclays launched an innovation challenge called the Barclays Africa Challenge seeking ideas and innovations in Fin-tech. The challenge dubbed the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge was part of a global initiative called the Barclays Rise Innovation program seeking the “next big thing” in financial services and was open to individuals, teams and startups based in Africa. The overall winner of the challenge was to get $10,000 in prize money.
The Innovation was centered around transparency in Supply chain an idea propagated by block chain technology. Block chain technology is one of the ideas that has allowed for the thriving of bitcoin globally. For those who are less familiar with the ins and outs of the currency, an explanation of Bitcoin functionality reveals that the blockchain is a “general log of transactions” on which “you can see all transactions that have ever taken place or ever will take place.” In other words, if Bitcoin is used in a financial transaction, that transaction is permanently recorded in a public space. And this concept, of an incorruptible universal record and tracking system, has already become an important tech application for a number of budding businesses.
The finalists of the challenge were to pitch in South Africa in front of a panel of experts, where winners of the challenge were to be awarded with a prize of $10,000. The gala dinner for the finalists took place yesterday in CapeTown and a Kenyan startup Markit Opportunity won the challenge. Barclays Kenya recently announced the opening of the Barclays Kenya Product Lab in Nairobi, an agile product development program aimed at giving local developers access to a pool of resources in partnership between Moringa School of coding and start-up investment firm, Nest.