Zenith Bank partners Seedstars to launch nationwide pitch competition for Nigerian startups

Ganiu Oloruntade
Zenith Bank Tech Fair has been conceived – to discover, promote and empower the next big tech start-ups in Nigeria
Zenith Bank

Leading Nigerian commercial bank Zenith Bank, in collaboration with Swiss-based global organization Seedstars, has officially launched the Zenith Bank Pitching Competition targeted at entrepreneurs in Nigeria with tech-enabled, scalable solutions designed to innovate businesses from different industries.

In a statement shared with Technext on Wednesday, Zenith Bank disclosed that the competition’s goal is to support Nigerian minimum viable product (MVP) stage startups in advancing to the next growth stage. 

Ten of the most promising startups will be invited to the pitch competition at Zenith Tech Fair on November 22 and 23, where the winners could win up to N15m (Fifteen million naira) in cash prizes. Startups interested in joining the Zenith Bank Pitching Competition can send in applications before the 14th of November here.

The competition will identify promising businesses and support the best startups that are using technology and innovative ideas to help solve the problems of the present to build a better future in the following areas:

  • Future of Wholesale and Retail
  • Future of eCommerce
  • Future of Payments
  • Future of Lending
  • Future of Wellness
  • Future of Cybersecurity
  • Future of EdTech
  • Future of Electricity (power vending)
  • Future of Agri-tech
  • Future of Entertainment

Read also: NetPlus Integrates NetPOS Mini, a 2-in-1 innovative POS with Zenith Bank.

“As a leading financial institution in Africa with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products and solutions that ensure convenience, speed, and safety of transactions, we have always been at the vanguard of and remain committed to promoting technological innovations in the country,” Dr Temitope Fasoranti, Executive Director of Zenith Bank said.

Dr. Temitope Fasoranti, Executive Director, Zenith Bank.

“In this vein, the Zenith Bank Tech Fair has been conceived – to discover, promote and empower the next big tech start-ups in Nigeria. It is our hope, therefore, that the fair will be a springboard for the competing start-ups and entrepreneurs, providing the needed support for them to become global technological brands in the near future.”

What to know about the contest

According to the statement, the Zenith Bank Pitching Competition is billed to support participating startups by providing the necessary tools and expertise to support startup growth and development. Lean methodologies and best startup practices will also be taught to the cohort by Seedstars’ internal experts and selected external mentors.

Criteria for startups looking to join the competition are as follows:

  • Existing startups/young tech companies (<3 years) in the Nigerian ecosystem;
  • The startup must have a demonstrable product or service (MVP) or must demonstrate the viability of the business model;
  • The startup needs to be scalable or have the potential to reach scalability;
  • The startup must have a complete team;
  • The startup must not have raised more than $75K; and.
  • The startup must be operating in one of the sectors listed above.

The pitch competition taking place at the Zenith Tech Fair on November 22 and 23 will allow the ten startups to pitch their solutions for a chance to win the following cash prizes:

  • 1st Prize: N15m (Fifteen million Naira)
  • 2nd Prize: N10m (Ten million Naira)
  • 3rd Prize: N5m (Five million Naira)

The rest of the startups will be awarded a participatory prize of N1m (one million Naira) each, and the top 5 startups will receive follow-on mentorship through Seedstars’ Mentorship Hub that will enable them to continue scaling their businesses and receive additional support from a global network of experts and investors.

About Seedstars 

Seedstars is a Swiss-based private company with a mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship.

The group’s activities cover over 90 emerging ecosystems through a variety of initiatives, such as the FTxSDG Challenge, previously known as the Seedstars World Competition, which is the largest entrepreneurship competition in emerging markets;

Seedstars Programs, designed to support entrepreneurs in varying stages of growth via training, education, mentoring, and access to resources;

Seedstars Academy, a talent incubator providing digital skills and startup-based immersive education for the next generation of changemakers;

Seedspace, physical coworking spaces and hubs located in 15 countries; and Seedstars International, a global venture capital fund for seed-stage startups.

For more information, visit www.seedstars.com

About Zenith Bank

Founded by Jim Ovia, CFR, Zenith Bank Plc was established in May 1990 and commenced operations in July of the same year as a commercial bank. The bank became a public limited company on June 17, 2004. It was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), now the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), on October 21, 2004, following a highly successful Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Zenith Bank provides individual customers and corporate clients with a range of financial products and services from over 500 branches and business offices across all states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It also has a presence in the United Kingdom (UK), Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and a Representative Office in China, and its shares are traded on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

In just over thirty years, Zenith Bank has grown enormously to become Nigeria’s largest and one of Africa’s largest financial institutions by tier-1 capital, with shareholders’ funds of NGN1.28 trillion ($3.03 billion) as of December 31, 2021. For more information, visit www.zenithbank.com.

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