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Societe Generale in Africa

News

15/10/2018

Discovering the South African ecosystem

A learning expedition of Tam-Tam hackathon's winners

In September, the Societe Generale Innovation Lab of Dakar travelled to South Africa to introduce the winners of the Tam-Tam pan-African hackathon to the innovative South African ecosystem. South Africa today stands out for its strong core of innovative and disruptive companies, offering an exceptional opportunity for the Learning Expedition, composed of six idea carriers, to meet the country's leading economic players.

A quick reminder of the winning teams of the hackathon, composed of partners of the Societe Generale and external start-ups:

  • Antoine Leroux, in charge of partnerships at YupManagement and Chris Czerwonka, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of the start-up InvestED in the "financial education" category,
  • Dognimin Koulibali, founder of the Ivorian start-up Techouse, Fayrouz Lamani, in charge of digital communication at Société Générale Maroc, and Mohammed Bensoltana, in charge of the digital technique also at Société Générale Maroc, in the "health" category

The five winners flew to South Africa with the Innovation Lab.

The Lab partnered up with Systemic Logic, a South African consulting firm specialized in innovation and the implementation and execution of projects between companies and start-ups, to organize this trip.

The agenda included three days in Johannesburg, where they met Ngila Michael Muendane, a Robben Island prisoner for 7 years with Nelson Mandela, who helped build Africa as we know it today.

During the first two days, both internal and external start-ups met the precursor actors of the FinTech and InsurTech fields who used technology as a lever to provide populations with services they couldn't access so far. For instance, the start-up Easy Equities offers low-cost investments accessible for everybody through its online platform, and Fo-Sho is a digital insurance for people with low incomes.

These visits allowed them to experience an environment that is both dynamic and very different from that of Sub-Saharan Africa and to interact with informal actors living in the Township of Soweto, where they have had the opportunity to see tangible cases of local ecosystems. For example, The Box Shop Sa, founded by Shain Nadoo, provides booths made from steel plates where local entrepreneurs and companies can gather together and offer services that the populations really need. This project was made possible by a strong community built around sharing of innovative ideas and collaboration.

They then left for Capetown, where the winners could immerse themselves in different innovation spaces where banks, start-ups but also entrepreneurs from all over the world gathered together to test their ideas in other places and meet the local populations' needs. Among other things, they visited the start-up accelerator and coworking space Mest, the incubator of the prestigious University of Stellenbosch, the Launchlab (which connects start-ups working on new technologies (e.g. Blockchain) with large companies. 

Until the end of October, Chris Czerwonka (InvestED) will be in Nairobi, Kenya while Dognimin Koulibal (Techouse) will be in Johannesburg. They are improving their project in incubators that are partners with Systemic Logic.

Fayrouz Lamani concluded: "If we had to remember only one thing about this Learning Expedition, it would be that despite the fact that we are all different and don't speak the same language, our goal is the same : make Africa grow together."

Visit Societe Generale Innovation Lab's Twitter account to discover their journey.