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Five Ugandans make shortlist for 2021 Africa business heroes

Peter Kakoma, the CEO of Kanzu Code

Peter Kakoma, the CEO of Kanzu Code

The growing influence of 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative has reached a new milestone with the nomination of participants to the 2021 Africa Business Heroes Top 50 Shortlist.

This puts Peter Kakoma, the CEO of Kanzu Code, and Emmanuel Emodek, the managing director of ChapChap, in line to share $1.5 million grand prize and other enterprise development benefits. Other Ugandan finalists are Robert Kintu of Fit Insights Limited, Daniel Mukisa of Ridelink and Ronald Hakiza of Ugabus Inc, writes FRANK KISAKYE.

Fifty finalists representing 16 countries have made it to the 2021 Africa Business Heroes (ABH). They were chosen from more than 12,000 entries across the continent.

ABH is a not-for-profit platform that was established to strengthen the African entrepreneur ecosystem by identifying, telling the stories of, training, and awarding grant-funding to 100 Business Heroes across Africa over the next 10 years. It is supported by the Jack Ma Foundation.

In a statement, organisers noted that the 50 African entrepreneurs are in the running to win a share of $1.5 million in grant funding and will gain invaluable networking and learning opportunities throughout their ABH journey.

“Since applications closed in early June, a prestigious pool of 233 judges has been reviewing thousands of applications from entrepreneurs across every country in Africa,” a statement said.

Both Kakoma and Emodek are well known in Uganda’s fintech circles as two of the most vibrant financial technology entrepreneurs. Even more interesting is the fact that these two were in the same class at St Mary’s College Kisubi and later housemates after university.

Kanzu Code is a software development company that powers businesses by creating web and mobile applications for their needs and helping them build high-performing, distributed software engineering teams.

Over the years, Kanzu Code has helped clients in telecommunications, publishing, finance; manufacturing and industry, tourism and insurance to better serve over 600,000 customers.

“Appearing on the list of the top 50 Africa Business Heroes is a real big deal. It is a validation and endorsement of the work we have been doing over the years in enhancing digital and financial inclusion in Uganda and across Africa. It is proof that our team is doing something real good,” Kakoma noted.

On the other hand, ChapChap Africa is a fintech and social venture looking to improve the livelihoods of low-income individuals and businesses by addressing market failures that result into exclusion of low-income persons from participating in productive financial activities.

“It is really exciting that the Africa Business Heroes competition is putting us in the spotlight. Not just for me only as the founder of ChapChap Africa but for any young innovator out there. It tells them that it is possible. Just imagine a scenario where no Ugandan was shortlisted for this award. That means there would be no hope out there,” Emodek said.

40 Days 40 FinTechs

Both Kanzu Code and ChapChap Africa have participated in the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative organized by HiPipo in partnership with Crosslake Technologies, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation, and sponsored by the Gates Foundation.

The initiative provides a levelled platform for fintechs and stakeholders in the digital and financial technology space to exhibit their products, discuss challenges and share ideas on how more people, especially those underserved by the present financial systems, can be brought on board.

Innocent Kawooya, the HiPipo CEO, noted that it is always exciting to see colleagues in business breaking barriers and showing the world that regardless of your current challenges, you too can make it in life.

“We implement 40 Days 40 FinTechs to both shine a spotlight on players leading Africa’s financial inclusion drive but also to encourage innovators to keep doing what they are doing with focus and vigour.  It is not by mistake that even across the continent, efforts of Kanzu Code and ChapChap are being recognized,” Kawooya noted. 

The grand finale of the Africa Business Heroes is scheduled for November.

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