Zambezi Prize: Tugende is Top 3 in African Financial Inclusion Startups

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On July 1, Tugende received 3rd place and a $25,000 prize in the first annual Zambezi Prize for financial inclusion. 11 finalists were selected from more than 100 applications from across Africa, with Kenya’s Umati Capital and Ethiopia’s Kifaya taking home first and second prize respectively.

Judging criteria included innovation, economic sustainability, potential to reach large numbers of customers, and transformative impact for customers/beneficiaries. Tugende was the only Ugandan finalist, and we were thrilled to be among such great entrepreneurs and to take home a prize to invest in continuing to grow.

The Zambezi Prize is an initiative of the MasterCard Foundation and the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).  You can read highlights of each finalist’s work on the official announcement here, and we’ve also linked to the websites of all the great finalists at the bottom of this post.

2015 has been a big year so far for Tugende, with the closing of our second investment round, launch of Tugende VIP, and surpassing both 25 staff members and 1,000 active customers! As of this writing we have 1,200 paying customers and 370 more who have already taken ownership. Tugende!

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In its own words: “The Zambezi Prize raises awareness of entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, encourages the flow of capital to financial inclusion ventures, and advances entrepreneurship and financial inclusion to fuel broad-based prosperity.”

The Zambezi Prize judging criteria:

  • Feasibility—the strength and potential for uptake and growth
  • Economic self-sustainability
  • Scalability—the potential to reach a large segment of the population
  • Innovative or transformative aspects
  • Impact—the potential for improving income and productivity of the consumer
  • Degree and evidence of implementation
  • The ability of the entrepreneur(s)

2015 Zambezi Prize Finalists