Barclays Africa launches initiative to pioneer financial services programmes

AshleyVeasey BarclaysBarclays Africa has launched a global start-up community called Rise that is meant to pioneer financial services and aid with unlocking Africa’s potential

The initiative is being funded by Barclays, and will tap into technology solutions that are not reliant on physical infrastructure, said the company in a statement. Through Rise, African start-ups will have the ability to scale up their ideas in new markets. 

Barclays chief design and digital officer Derek White, who is also the architect of the global Rise programme, said, “Rise is about connecting the world’s most active innovators to each other, to corporates and to resources and by expanding to another continent means we’re able to broaden this network further. We’re unlocking the power of open innovation to co-create the future of financial services, which will ultimately benefit customers and clients across the globe.”

Rise holds great relevance in the continent, for it provides developing markets with an opportunity to leapfrog ageing analogue infrastructure, deployed in most developed economies, and with it the capacity to solve some of Africa’s development challenges.

Barclays Africa chief information officer Ashley Veasey said, “The financial services industry is undergoing a paradigm shift and new tech start-ups are challenging traditional business models. This is possible, in principle, because advances in technology are enabling bright minds to develop solutions that compete with the best of those developed by big corporates. We aim to partner and collaborate at the forefront of this change.”

Rise has innovation hubs located in London, Manchester and New York. A new one will be set up in Cape Town in December, which will house a number of open innovation programmes and co-working facilities, a world-class events space, and a bespoke setting for the Barclays Accelerator programme.

Following the success of similar hubs set up in Manchester and London, where 5,000 start-ups interacted and more than 20 hackathons were hosted, Barclays is hopeful that the South Africa Rise hub will also be fruitful and help Africans step up the bar in financial services.

Barclays Accelerator
Powered by Techstars, the Barclays Accelerator offers innovators and entrepreneurs access to leading thinkers at Barclays, and to the Techstars’ mentor and investor relationships across 14 locations.

In addition, other Rise initiatives are also underway in Africa, such as the Tech Lab Africa programme and the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge.

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