Ovamba News https://www.ovamba.com/blog Mon, 29 Jan 2018 22:15:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 http://blog.ovamba.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/cropped-Logo-Large-2-150x150.png Ovamba News https://www.ovamba.com/blog 32 32 Viola A. Llewellyn and Africa’s first FinTech- Written by Lauma Berzina https://www.ovamba.com/blog/viola-llewellyn-africas-first-fintech-written-lauma-berzina/ Mon, 29 Jan 2018 22:04:05 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=907 Viola A. Llewellyn is the Co-founder and president of award-winning Ovamba Solutions, Inc., Africa’s first FinTech company to create technologies to serve African SMEs

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Viola A. Llewellyn is the Co-founder and president of award-winning Ovamba Solutions, Inc., Africa’s first FinTech company to create technologies to serve African SMEs with innovative Sharia-compliant finance products, eCommerce, and logistics services. Ovamba’s technology gives global accredited and institutional investors the opportunity to invest in the fast-growing African private sector.

In other words, Ovamba provides short-term funding in emerging markets to the trade and commodities sectors.  Ovamba also raises capital from global institutional investors with an appetite for returns in these markets. The company’s goal is to solve the need for democratization of financial services in Africa. It is already acknowledged, that Ovamba is a booster rocket for SMEs in Africa. So, what can we learn from this case? What is the essence here?

 

 

To spot the problems and opportunities

“In Africa, there is plenty of space for innovation, it is a great demographic area, with a lot of tools to be developed to solve some of the most interesting challenges, all of these challenges represent opportunity and return on investment, but nobody seems to want to come there”. Viola points out, that it is about the time to join them because many companies say that they have global exposure, but yet they don’t have anything on the continent of Africa at all. Or they say that they are in Africa, but only in Kenya and the HQ are located somewhere outside of Africa. This really is not how it works for Africa. And neither could it work for other continents in a similar situation.

In fact, Africa is larger than Western Europe, Eastern Europe, China, India, and the United States combined. Africa’s population by 2040 will rise to 2,5 billion people, but the statistics show that the continent has received only 0,3% of global venture capital and Tech investment in 2016. As Viola emphasizes, it is a critically small amount from what Africa needs. So, this is already a great case-study to look at by understanding the issue on a global scale.

To meet Viola A. Llewellyn, and hear more about Ovamba, secure your TechChill 2018 pass now!

Read More: https://techchill.co/viola-llewellyn-ovamba-solutions/

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17 firestarters driving change in the investment monopoly https://www.ovamba.com/blog/17-firestarters-driving-change-investment-monopoly/ Mon, 29 Jan 2018 21:52:04 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=904 According to SiliconRepublic, “These investors, entrepreneurs, mentors and advocates are blazing a new trail for sci-tech entrepreneurship.” Among these “firestarters” is Ovamba’s Viola Llewellyn.

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According to SiliconRepublic, “These investors, entrepreneurs, mentors and advocates are blazing a new trail for sci-tech entrepreneurship.” Among these “firestarters” is Ovamba’s Viola Llewellyn.

Change takes effort, and it also costs money. While the system supporting start-ups is broken, within its cracks a new breed of investor, advocate and mentor is growing.

There are investors putting their money where their values are and supporting out-of-the-ordinary entrepreneurs and under-represented founders. Alongside them are those who are transforming the typical investment model, as well as the fixers focused on the pipeline problem.

To Read More: https://www.siliconrepublic.com/start-ups/sci-tech-100-2018-investors-firestarters

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6 tips for putting together the perfect elevator pitch By Elizabeth Schulze https://www.ovamba.com/blog/cnbc-6-tips-putting-together-perfect-elevator-pitch/ Mon, 29 Jan 2018 21:39:09 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=896 For a startup, there are 60 seconds that can make or break you. At last week’s Slush conference in Helsinki, Finland, entrepreneurs from early-stage

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For a startup, there are 60 seconds that can make or break you.

At last week’s Slush conference in Helsinki, Finland, entrepreneurs from early-stage startups to large tech companies agreed the minute-long “elevator pitch” is crucial for getting an investor’s attention.

“We talk about how we’re going to solve a problem, make a lot of money and mitigate risk,” said Viola Llewellyn, co-founder and president of Ovamba Solutions, a financial technology (fintech) company focused on providing short-term capital to small and medium enterprises in Africa.

Llewellyn said she reworked her company’s pitch to focus on what investors want, like growth and risk protection. She said it’s important to highlight why your company is a unique solution to an investor’s problem.

To Read More: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/05/six-tips-for-perfecting-the-elevator-pitch.html

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Singapore FinTech Festival Q&A- Viola Llewellyn https://www.ovamba.com/blog/singapore-fintech-festival-qa-viola-llewellyn/ Fri, 01 Dec 2017 03:12:58 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=885 Singapore FinTech Festival Conference Overview Q&A with Viola Llewellyn, OVAMBA CO-FOUNDER & PRESIDENT Viola Llewellyn, Co-Founder and President of Ovamba Solutions was a  speaker at the

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Singapore FinTech Festival Conference Overview Q&A with

Viola Llewellyn, OVAMBA CO-FOUNDER & PRESIDENT

Viola Llewellyn, Co-Founder and President of Ovamba Solutions was a  speaker at the “Africa”  session which took place on the 3rd day of The Singapore FinTech Festival Conference. The session consisted of entrepreneurs and co-founders of disruptors from funding, to payment service provider, to insurance. During the session, Viola stated that she believes Africa is at the start of the leapfrog effect – it is seen to be gradually accelerating to become an emerging market.

Viola has taken the time to share her thoughts on the Singapore FinTech Festival in a Q&A. Please view below:

CH: What made you interested in attending the festival?

VL: The opportunity to show and explain Africa, and change the narrative.

CH:  What were some of your expectations for the festival?And were they met?

VL:  The festival was managed to the highest levels of professionalism   The agenda was varied but the lack of understanding around the African FinTech market meant that it could have been done better to show the variety and impact.  I expected to meet more investors, but they were not prepared to meet us/Ovamba.  There was a high number of no shows and cancellations.

CH: What was it like being an African Fintech founder there?

VL: It was a GREAT honour but not surprising.  I was the only black female who presented.  I took it as a big responsibility.  3 other African platforms were present: Kudzai Kutukwa, Founder and CEO, Mobbisurance, Sean Emery, Co-founder and CEO, Rainfin, South Africa and Sameer Hirji, Co-founder, Selcom.  It was good to see a variety across a number of solutions to showcase.  More than anything, there was a strong sense of responsibility.  Ground work needs to be laid to continue the narrative and build bridges of opportunity, clarity and understanding.

CH: What were some of perceptions and/or misconception of the African market from others at the festival?

VL: That Africa is “One single generalized place”, that only solutions like charity will work.  It was clear that not as much attention to detail is afforded to Africa and we are an afterthought.  The panel was named, “Africa”.  Just Africa.  And it was the last panel of the entire conference.  We had an audience of about 150 in an auditorium that could hold about 800 – 1000.  The premise of our panel was to discuss “…. the significant progress made in Africa to reshape and adapt financial services” .  This is a misnomer as the very opportunity of FinTech has arisen by the lethargy in the delivery of financial services and the negative impact this situation has had on both consumers and business owners.

CH: Did you feel there was alot of interest in the African market?

VL: Yes – but it is just the beginning   When I toured the exhibition hall many solution providers claimed to be global but had no African presence or plans for one.  One solution provider had a presence in Kenya.  The Asian market is comfortable with English speaking Africa, NOT francophone Africa.  This is an opportunity for technology to bridge the gap to collaboration.

CH: What were some of your key takeaways from the festival?

VL: Ovamba was able to strike the right chord because of existing successful traction with Japanese investors.  I am not sure how easily we would have been able to start conversations.  It was clear that in the same way that we urge investors and collaborators to not look at Africa as one amorphous mass, we must learn and understand the different regions of Asia.  Singapore is a highly sophisticated financial hub – it is not comparable to Myanmar, Vietnam or China.  Success will come from understanding the different regions, cultures and opportunities.

CH: What are some of your thoughts on future relationships between the Singaporean and African market?

VL: Many more visits, relationship and business development are required.  I am also very sensitive to the fact that each business interaction should yield a positive engagement to build a layer of trust and rewarded expectation.

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OVAMBA CO-FOUNDER & PRESIDENT VIOLA LLEWELLYN TO SPEAK AT SLUSH 2017 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/ovamba-co-founder-president-viola-llewellyn-speak-slush-2017/ Wed, 22 Nov 2017 21:32:27 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=866   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 22nd November 2017 OVAMBA CO-FOUNDER & PRESIDENT VIOLA LLEWELLYN TO SPEAK AT SLUSH 2017 November 2017, Washington, DC–  Viola Llewellyn, Co-Founder

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

22nd November 2017

OVAMBA CO-FOUNDER & PRESIDENT VIOLA LLEWELLYN TO SPEAK AT SLUSH 2017

November 2017, Washington, DC–  Viola Llewellyn, Co-Founder & President of Ovamba Solutions, Inc. has been confirmed to speak on the Center Stage at Slush 2017 in Helsinki, Finland.  Slush has grown from a 300 person event in 2008, to a globally renowned gathering of thousands where entrepreneurs and investors meet.  Slush is one of the premier technology and innovation gatherings in the world.

This will be the first time that Slush has had a female African FinTech founder on its prestigious Central Stage.  Slush’s Central, Founder & Fireside Stages have been graced in the past by founders and investors such as Daniel Ek, Founder of Spotify, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Danae Ringelmann co-founder of Indiegogo, and Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO of Acumen Fund, to name a few.   The key note address this year will be delivered by Al Gore, former U.S.A. Vice President during the Clinton Administration.

Ms. Llewellyn will be joined by Marko Wenthin, co-founder & CCO of Solaris Bank and Andreas Antonopoulos, Bitcoin & Open Blockchain expert.   The theme of their discussion is ‘The Democratisation of Financial Services’. She will be discussing how Ovamba has shaped and recreated financial accessibility in Africa and the importance of financial services in emerging markets.   “This is epic! Ovamba has worked hard to open the doors to financial inclusion” Ms. Llewellyn stated.  She further added, “Our recent collaboration with Microsoft to develop an African language driven “chatbot” is one of many innovations that will achieve this aim.  Being at Slush to showcase this is a fantastic opportunity for the world to see Africa very differently”.

Slush is expecting upwards of 20,000 people to attend the 2 day event which runs from November 30th – December 1st 2017.

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About Viola A. Llewellyn

Viola Llewellyn is the Co-Founder and President of African FinTech innovator, Ovamba Solutions, Inc., which funds African SMEs in the trade & commodities sectors to help them grow.  She oversees strategy, business development & investor relations globally.  She and her team have created technology and business services to deliver financial inclusion to Africas SMEs, including an African natural-language chatbot and proprietary, culturally sensitive algorithms to measure SME risk within the African context.  Ms. Llewellyn is a Trustee on the Board of The Int’l Women’s Think Tank, the African Women’s Fintech & Payments Network & the European Women Payments Network.  Ms. Llewellyn has spent over 15 years in management, consulting, technology and the alternative finance sector.

About Slush

Slush (www.slush.org) is a student-driven, non-profit movement originally founded to change attitudes toward entrepreneurship. In 2016, Slush was organized in Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore. Slush has grown from a 300-person assembly to a world-renowned event, now spreading globally.  The philosophy behind Slush has remained the same: To help the next generation of great, world-conquering companies forward.

About Ovamba

Ovamba (www.Ovamba.com) is an award winning US-founded Sharia Certified FinTech innovator that combines off-balance sheet asset backed lending with eCommerce, logistics & flexible warehousing to provide SMEs in Africa’s trade & commodities sectors with capital.  Ovamba raises capital from institutional investors to help SMEs grow.  Ovamba’s award winning technology has produced innovative Africa-sensitive proprietary risk measurement algorithms and natural African language ‘chatbots’ to solve business and functional literacy challenges to promote financial inclusion.  Ovamba’s application, ‘Ovamba Plus’ is available for Android phones as a download.

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

Adeline Sede Kamga

Media Relations

UK: +44 (0) 7961189707

Cameroon: +237-72894006

Email:  adeline.sede@fabafriq.com

 

Ciana Hamlett

Communications Coordinator

USA + 1(914) 513-1838

Email:  ciana.h@ovamba.com

TWITTER:

@VALlewellyn

@Ovamba4SMEs 

#GrowthAsAService

#GaaS

#FinTech

#ThisAintYourGranddaddysAfrica

 

FACEBOOK: www.Facebook.Com/Ovamba

 

 

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VIOLA LLEWELLYN CO-FONDATRICE & PRESIDENTE D’OVAMBA PRENDRA LA PAROLE A SLUSH 2017 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/viola-llewellyn-co-fondatrice-presidente-dovamba-prendra-la-parole-slush-2017/ Wed, 22 Nov 2017 21:26:03 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=864     POUR DIFFUSION IMMEDIATE 22nd Novembre 2017 VIOLA LLEWELLYN CO-FONDATRICE & PRESIDENTE D’OVAMBA PRENDRA LA PAROLE A SLUSH 2017 Novembre 2017, Washington, DC–

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POUR DIFFUSION IMMEDIATE

22nd Novembre 2017

VIOLA LLEWELLYN CO-FONDATRICE & PRESIDENTE D’OVAMBA PRENDRA LA PAROLE A SLUSH 2017

Novembre 2017, Washington, DC– Viola Llewellyn, Co-Fondatrice & Président d’Ovamba Solutions, Inc. a été confirmée pour prendre la parole au Center Stage de Slush 2017 à Helsinki, en Finlande. Slush est passé d’un évènement de 300 personnes en 2008, à une assemblée mondialement reconnue pour de milliers de personnes où se retrouvent entrepreneurs et investisseurs. Slush est l’un des plus grands rassemblements en matière de technologie et d’innovation dans le monde.

Ce sera la première fois que Slush verra une fondatrice de FinTech Africain occuper sa prestigieuse Center Stage. Par le passé, les scènes Central, Founder et Fireside du Slush ont été honorée par la présence de fondateurs et d’investisseurs tels que Daniel Ek, Fondateur de Spotify, Le Prince Héritier Haakon de Norvège, Danae Ringelmann co-fondateur d’Indiegogo, et Jacqueline Novogratz, PDG de Acumen Fund, pour n’en citer que quelques-uns. Cette année, le discours d’ouverture sera prononcé par Al Gore, ancien vice-président des états unis sous l’administration Clinton.

Mme Llewellyn sera accompagnée par Marko Wenthin, co-fondateur et CCO de Solaris Bank et Andreas Antonopoulos, expert Bitcoin et Open Blockchain. Le thème de leurs échanges est ‘La Démocratisation des services financiers’.  Elle parlera de la manière dont Ovamba a façonné et recréé l’accessibilité financière en Afrique ainsi que de l’importance des services financiers dans les marchés émergents. « Ovamba a travaillé dur pour ouvrir les portes de l’inclusion financière. « Cela est épique”. Déclara Mme Llewellyn. Elle a ajouté “Notre récente collaboration avec Microsoft pour développer une « chatbot » axée sur la langue africaine est l’une des nombreuses innovations pour atteindre cet objectif. Ma présence à Slush est une occasion fantastique pour le monde de voir l’Afrique autrement ».

Plus de 20.000 personnes sont attendues à Slush, un évènement de deux jours qui ira du 30 novembre au 1 décembre 2017.

A propos de Viola A. Llewellyn

Viola Llewellyn est la co-fondatrice et la présidente de Ovamba Solutions, Inc, l’innovateur FinTech africain, qui finance les PME africaines dans le secteur du commerce international et des biens de consommation pour les aider à se développer. Elle supervise les stratégies, le développement des affaires et la relation avec les investisseurs à l’échelle internationale. Elle et son équipe ont créé une technologie et les services d’affaires pour apporter l’inclusion financière aux PME africaines, y compris une chatbot de langage naturel africain et propriétaire, les algorithmes culturellement sensibles pour mesurer le risque des PME dans le contexte africain. Mme Llewellyn siège au conseil d’administration du Int’l Women’s Think Tank, the African Women’s Fintech & Payments Network & the European Women Payments Network.  Elle a plus de 15 ans à son actif dans la gestion, le conseil, la technologie et le secteur de la finance alternative.

About Slush

Slush (www.slush.org) est un mouvement estudiantin à but non lucrative fondé initialement pour changer les mentalités envers l’entreprenariat. Slush a été organisé en 2016 à Tokyo, Shanghai et Singapour. Slush est passé d’une assemblée de 300 personnes à un événement reconnu mondialement, qui s’étend maintenant au reste du monde. La philosophie derrière Slush est restée la même : Aider la prochaine génération des grandes entreprises à conquérir le monde.

About Ovamba

Ovamba (www.Ovamba.com) est un innovateur FinTech américain primé et certifié charia qui associe  les prêts hors bilans adossés à des actifs avec le e-Commerce, la logistique et le stockage flexible pour apporter des capitaux aux PME  dans le secteur du commerce et des biens de consommation en Afrique. Ovamba collecte des fonds auprès d’investisseurs institutionnels pour aider les PME à croitre. La technologie primée d’Ovamba a produit des algorithmes propriétaires de mesure de risques innovateurs et sensibles à l’Afrique et des ‘chatbots’ de langages naturels africains pour relever les défis d’affaires et d’alphabétisation fonctionnelle pour promouvoir l’inclusion financière. ‘Ovamba Plus’, l’application d’Ovamba est disponible pour téléchargement pour les téléphones androïdes.

 

CONTACTS MEDIA

Adeline Sede Kamga

Relations Presse

Royaume Uni: +44 (0) 7961189707

Cameroun: +237-72894006

Courriel:  adeline.sede@fabafriq.com

 

Ciana Hamlett

Coordonnatrice des communications

USA + 1(914) 513-1838

Courriel:  ciana.h@ovamba.com

TWITTER:

@VALlewellyn

@Ovamba4SMEs 

#GrowthAsAService

#GaaS

#FinTech

#ThisAintYourGranddaddysAfrica

 

FACEBOOK: www.Facebook.Com/Ovamba

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MICROSOFT & OVAMBA PARTNERSHIP https://www.ovamba.com/blog/microsoft-ovamba-partnership/ Tue, 07 Nov 2017 22:22:54 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=853 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 19th October, 2017   MICROSOFT & OVAMBA PARTNER TO INNOVATE NATURAL LANGUAGE SOLUTIONS FOR AFRICAN SMALL & MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (SMEs)  

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

19th October, 2017

 

MICROSOFT & OVAMBA PARTNER TO INNOVATE NATURAL LANGUAGE SOLUTIONS FOR AFRICAN SMALL & MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (SMEs)

 

AUGUST 2017, LONDON, UK – Ovamba Solutions, Inc. and Microsoft have partnered to develop and produce the first African language driven “chat-bot” designed to serve the millions of African SMEs who face exclusion from Financial Services due to the challenges of functional and business literacy.  The Chat-Bot was conceived, designed and created by Ovamba and Microsoft and will be rolled out via Ovamba’s mobile app, ‘Ovamba Plus’.

 

Ovamba’s President & Co-founder, Viola Llewellyn, and Chief Technology Officer, Prashant Mahajan expressed their innovative ambitions to Josh Holmes, Director of ‘Microsoft Partner Catalyst’ Division at Microsoft’s Seattle, Washington campus.   In delving into the challenges of FinTech solutions on the African continent, Viola Llewellyn explained to Microsoft, “Current banking processes and some FinTech solutions are supposed to help the financially disenfranchised.  Bank solutions, application forms and contracts assume that all SMES are fully literate, and actually end up further alienating those who may not be able to read or speak French, English, Arabic or any other colonial language.  If we don’t address this then we are missing the true promise of FinTech and the opportunity to include the informal sector in GDP count”.

 

In response to the opportunity to serve the African Continent, Microsoft put a team together headed up by Shawn Cicoria, Lilian Kasem and Claudius Mbemba to help Ovamba create the chat-bot.  Prashant Mahajan led Ovamba’s tech team on the project and commented on the potential to help the millions who need support to grow.  He commented, “Ovamba has been supporting SMEs with “Growth-As-A-Service®” for the last year and realizes that business training and formal education is a luxury not afforded to some members of Africa’s entrepreneurial sector, and is often taught in western languages.  We can help them to sustain growth by delivering business support and training in the language that they are most used to”.

 

Claudius Mbemba shared the Partner Catalyst Team’s enthusiasm for the project on the Microsoft Developer Blog stating, “We plan to continue our work with Ovamba, especially building an African dialect language recognition system to enable application localization and cater to the specific dialects of their customers”.  The team also added, “We look forward to tackling these challenges and more in our future work with Ovamba”.

 

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Episode 12: What it’s like to start a FinTech Company in Africa? – Africans Building Africa https://www.ovamba.com/blog/episode-12-like-start-fintech-company-africa-africans-building-africa/ Tue, 07 Nov 2017 21:59:04 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=850 The FinTech industry is one of the fastest growing industries in Africa, and Viola Llewellyn made sure to capitalize on the growth. She founded

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The FinTech industry is one of the fastest growing industries in Africa, and Viola Llewellyn made sure to capitalize on the growth. She founded Ovamba Solutions (www.Ovamba.com), a platform that provides micro, small and medium sized African businesses with access to short-term trade and growth capital.  To create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Viola started […]

Source: Episode 12: What it’s like to start a FinTech Company in Africa? – Africans Building Africa

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The role of women in financial leadership in Africa https://www.ovamba.com/blog/the-role-of-women-in-financial-leadership-in-africa-journal-du-cameroun/ Sun, 17 Sep 2017 22:48:26 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=826 Africa’s business landscape is a complex arena of evolving trends and discarded stereotypes. In recent years, we have seen advancement in how gender is

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Africa’s business landscape is a complex arena of evolving trends and discarded stereotypes. In recent years, we have seen advancement in how gender is discussed and its effects on how women in leadership are perceived, especially in the financial sector.

As the role of women changes in Africa, the financial sector has their work cut out to catch up with the acceleration of women in entrepreneurship. Increasingly, women in Africa are seeking to create wealth for themselves and start their own businesses. Much has been documented about women as the client or recipient of financial services, but what is the current reality for women who are in leadership and making the financial decisions?

Women who have chosen the entrepreneurial route are demanding financial inclusion at all levels. But there is weak response from traditional banking institutions, some of whom require or insist that “husbands” guarantee loans. Ovamba, a FinTech company based in Cameroon is focused on short term funding to African SMEs and has seen applications for funding where the husband is listed as “proprietor” of the business, but the wife is the actual founder and operator of the business. Full and final responsibility for financial decisions rest in her hands, but some male financial managers do not take women in leadership seriously, so the husband “fronts” the business. For Ovamba, this indicates that women in financial leadership is not uncommon, it just is not easily recognized, let alone celebrated in some regions.

Where African banks and MFIs have been slow on the uptake, alternative financial institutions are picking up the slack. They see an obvious opportunity to interact with a key decision maker, who just happens to be a woman. Women in leadership are very confident of their powerbase of influence at this level. Ovamba sees a trend in women choosing to use their leadership roles to have effect on matters outside of their core business and ensure that communities are protected by their decisions.

Africa’s financial institutions have not been able to create the right risk models for SMEs, let alone women, hence many are left out of the available capital in banking systems where treasury levels are heavily regulated by central banks. This has led to women opening MFIs, and the emergence of small co-ops led by women who only lend to women. Women are more open to the idea of other women having opportunities and so they tend to have long term ambitions as it relates to opportunities that exist for them if they are allowed to make financial decisions that affect other women positively.

Ovamba has found that women in charge of financial decisions have a much better understanding and approach to risk than their male counterparts realise. Female led businesses tend to be better run and have better long term prospects. The presence of women in leadership roles makes the ecosystem for alternative finance and lending a strong and positive place for investors looking at Africa as a destination for investment returns.

However, for women in Africa to realize their full impact on financial leadership they may have to gain a greater foothold at the level of Government to gain influence and affect legislation, and that is a hard ceiling to crack.

BY  Viola Llewellyn @VALlewellyn 

Source: The role of women in financial leadership in Africa – Journal du Cameroun

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2017 Benzinga Fintech Award Underbanked Winner https://www.ovamba.com/blog/your-2017-benzinga-fintech-award-winners-underbanked/ Sun, 17 Sep 2017 21:55:05 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=818 The 2017 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards were held in May, recognizing the companies and individuals who have shown the most financial technology innovation in the last

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The 2017 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards were held in May, recognizing the companies and individuals who have shown the most financial technology innovation in the last year. Among this year’s winners was Ovamba, winning in the  “Underbanked” category.

More than 300 companies from all over the world applied for the 18 awards given out at this year’s gala, which was attended by some of the biggest venture capitalist firms, hedge funds, brokerages, and media outlets from across the industry.

“I would like to personally congratulate all the winners of this year’s Benzinga Fintech Awards,” Benzinga founder and CEO Jason Raznick said. “They all demonstrated the kind of forward thinking and product development that will move our industry forward for years to come.”

Without further ado, here’s a short list of your 2017 award winners:

Overall Winners

Winner: AlphaPoint

Second Place: Unison Home Ownership Investors

Third Place: WiseBanyan

 

Underbanked

Winner: Ovamba

 

Category: Alternative Investments

Winner: SAF Platform

 

Analysis

Winner: TradingView

 

Digital Mortgage / Real Estate

Winner: Rocket Mortgage

Note: This article originally named PeerStreet the winner. PeerStreet was runner-up for this award.

 

Education / Personal Finance

Winner: FutureFuel.io

 

Source: Your 2017 Benzinga Fintech Award Winners | Benzinga

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Innotribe announces 10 startups chosen for Swift’s African Regional Conference https://www.ovamba.com/blog/innotribe-announces-10-startups-chosen-for-swifts-african-regional-conference-ventureburn/ Sun, 17 Sep 2017 21:26:17 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=813 Ovamba was one of the 10 companies shortlisted to enter the Innotribe completion!  We cannot forget the amazing innovative leadership of Prashant Mahajan, who’s

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Ovamba was one of the 10 companies shortlisted to enter the Innotribe completion!  We cannot forget the amazing innovative leadership of Prashant Mahajan, who’s creativity is at the heart of all we do!! Thanks to the entire Ovamba Leadership!!

Accelerator programme Innotribe choose 10 startups for the third edition of the Startup Challenge Africa, for secure financial messaging provider Swift’s African Regional Conference which took place in Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast.

The 10 were selected after 100 judges evaluated close to 100 applications. Applications came from a number of African countries with SA, Nigeria and Kenya filling up most of the positions.

“It is a pleasure for us to see the number of African startups applying to our programme growing year after year. Their calibre continues to impress, and there is no doubt they are going to play an important role in shaping the future of finance,” said Fabian Vandenreydt, Innotribe’s global head of securities markets and head of the Swift Institute, in a press release to Ventureburn.

Swift startups ‘to play an important role in shaping finance’

Participating startups are as follows:

  • FinChatBot — An SA startup utilising chatbots to make financial services more inclusive.
  • FINT — a Nigerian peer-to-peer lending platform providing users with access to affordable loans.
  • Inclusiveft — a Ghanaian startup dabbling in verification API which helps businesses verify identities via digital channels.
  • IroFit Technologies — a Nigerian startup which allows users to process in-store mobile or card purchases even when there’s no internet connection or not.
  • Mobbisurance — an SA startup which offers emerging farmers with crop insurance.
  • Ovamba — a Cameroonian startup which provides small businesses with short-term trade and growth capital.
  • Releaf — a Nigerian startup which leverages big data analytics, allowing foreign investors to invest easily into African markets.
  • Sokowatch — a Kenyan ordering and distribution network for small shop-keepers.
  • ThisIsMe — a SA startup using proprietary technology to verify and secure your online experience.
  • Vugapay — a Rwandan mobile wallet that can be recharged using Bitcoin, mobile money, debit and credit cards as well as from bank accounts.

 

“The Startup Challenge is an enriching experience for all participating companies. They benefit from expert mentoring and get that much-needed exposure to financial institutions,” said Vandenreydt.

 

Source: Innotribe announces 10 startups chosen for Swift’s African Regional Conference – Ventureburn

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Ovamba Nominated at African Banker Awards 2016 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/ovamba-nominated-at-african-banker-awards-2016/ Sun, 17 Sep 2017 20:57:43 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=807 Winners to be revealed at awards ceremony during the African Development Bank annual meetings in Lusaka, Zambia on 25th May. The 10th African Banker Awards will

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Winners to be revealed at awards ceremony during the African Development Bank annual meetings in Lusaka, Zambia on 25th May.

The 10th African Banker Awards will be held in Lusaka, Zambia on 25th May. Shortlisted entries across categories have been announced today. Please seefull list of nominees for each category below.

The shortlist for the 10th edition of the African Banker Awards has been released. This year’s shortlist is dominated by some of the larger banking groups from North, East, South and West Africa. The winners will be revealed at a gala dinner during the African Bank Annual meetings that will be held in Lusaka this year at the end of May.

Now in their 10th year, the awards are open to all African financial institutions, including banks, micro-financiers, investment banks, development finance institutions and other financial services institutions.

The awards were launched to reflect the rapid growth and modernisation of the banking and financial services sector in Africa. The 10th anniversary event comes as the banking sector is undergoing significant changes. On the one hand, large global banking groups, such as Barclays are seeking to deconsolidate as they focus on their core (non-African) markets, and the other there is talk of further consolidation across the continent from Kenya, to Ghana through Zambia and Tunisia.

It is against this backdrop that the 2016 awards are being held. Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher of African Banker said: “We are thrilled that the African Banker awards are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year. We introduced these awards as a way of recognising the enormous potential of the African banking and financial services sector. Since then, many of our financial institutions have transformed and are well established to compete with the best in class. During this period, corporate and retail banks, along with private equity and investment firms and insurance providers have withstood the effects of the global financial crisis, emerging stronger and more fit for purpose. The category which continues to grab my attention is the Deals category, which reflects the transformational role that banks are playing throughout the continent. They remain a cornerstone of economic development.”

GTBank from Nigeria is nominated in three categories including Bank of the Year, Banker of the Year and Innovation. Ecobank is also nominated three times. Rand Merchant Bank from South Africa dominates the investment banking and deal entries. Other strong performers include CRDB Bank from Tanzania, KCB from Kenya, Standard Bank group from South Africa and also Attijariwafa Bank from Morocco, which has a major presence in North and West Africa. The winners will be selected by an independent panel of judges selected for their expertise of the banking and financial landscape throughout the continent.

MasterCard, Ecobank/Nedbank, African Guarantee Fund, PTA Bank are sponsors of the 2016 Awards, along with CRDB Bank, Arton Capital and Qatar Airways.

Last year’s award winners included Credit Suisse CEO, Tidjane Thiam (African Banker Icon); former Ecobank CEO, Albert Essien (African Banker of the Year); and the founder and chairman of Zenith Bank Jim Ovia for Lifetime Achievement). Morocco’s Groupe Banque Populaire, which took a significant share in West African group Banque Atlantique, won the coveted African Bank of the Year Award.

2016 Banker Awards Shortlist:

Innovation

Bidvest and Mastercard, South Africa
Equity Bank, Kenya
Guaranty Trust Bank, Nigeria
Mauritius Commercial Bank, Mauritius
Ovamba Cameroon Solutions, Cameroon

 

 

Source: African Banker Awards Nominees 2016 – Africa.com

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Ovamba Solutions-Funding African Businesses https://www.ovamba.com/blog/ovamba-solutions-funding-african-businesses-2/ Tue, 08 Nov 2016 15:42:25 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=734   Ovamba apporte aux micros, petites et moyennes entreprises en Afrique avec un échange et capitaux à court terme le financement provenant des investisseurs

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Ovamba apporte aux micros, petites et moyennes entreprises en Afrique avec un échange et capitaux à court terme le financement provenant des investisseurs internationaux des Etats-Unis, Royaume-Uni et le Japon.

Nous avons eu l’occasion d’avoir un échange par courriel avec la fondatrice d’Ovamba Solutions, Viola Llewellyn, que voici:

  1. Parlez-nous de vous et de votre organisation ?

Bien, vous avez déjà mon nom, alors c’est un début. Je suis la cofondatrice et présidente d’Ovamba Solutions (www.ovamba.com). Mes parents sont camerounais. Je suis née à Londres. J’étais un membre de la diaspora typique, consciente que j’étais africaine, mais très occupée à “vivre ma vie”. Mon partenaire a attiré mon attention sur l’opportunité que représentait l’Afrique, auquel je n’avais jamais pensé. Nous avons créé Ovamba en 2013 à Maryland et avons commencé les opérations au Cameroun en juin 2014. Au départ, nous avons voulu connecter les membres de la diaspora avec les opportunités d’investissements dans leur pays, mis cela n’est pas un modèle d’affaires viable. Après plusieurs réflexions, nous sommes arrivés ou nous en sommes : une entreprise Fintech qui fournit “ La Croissance comme Service” en rendant le financement à court terme disponible aux PME africaines. Nous sommes différents des autres solutions, car notre objectif va au-delà “de l’accès au financement”. Il s’agit d’aider les entreprises africaines à croitre, qui signifie plus que leur donner de l’argent. Nous les aidons à avoir un accès global pour acquérir plus de stocks et de services qu’ils vendent ou fournissent en tant que leur activité principale. Une entreprise sérieuse veut croitre et augmenter ses revenus, alors nous leur aidons à atteindre cet objectif.

  1. De combien aviez-vous besoins pour lancer votre entreprise et comment avez-vous mobilisé le capital? 

BONNE question ! Nous ne savions pas exactement de combien nous avions besoin, car plus nous faisions nos recherches, le modèle d’affaires changeait. A la fin, nous avons décidé d’etre courageux et de nous lancer avec ce que nous avions, avec l’intention que nous allions lancer notre MVP (produit minimum viable) et commencer à générer des recettes afin de développer la valeur de l’entreprise. Nous avons mobilisé le capital d’appoint, 650 mille dollars auprès des amis et de la famille. Cela entre avril et septembre 2013. Nous nous sommes adressés à toutes les personnes que nous connaissions. Ensuite, nous avons eu notre premier investisseur en capital à risque, GLI qui a investi 1,3 million de dollars. Le processus de cet investissement majeur a eu lieu de mai à septembre 2014. Nous n’avion même pas encore généré de recette quand GLI a décidé d’investir dans notre entreprise. C’était une première pour une entreprise africaine comme la nôtre!

  1. Quels sont les défis auxquels vous faites face dans votre entreprise, et comment les relevez-vous?

La culture – il était difficile de retirer nos chapeaux d’occident et de mettre un chapeau africain, de regarder le monde avec une réalité camerounaise/africaine. Afin de relever ce défi, il nous a fallu etre patient et prêt à faire des erreurs couteuses, mais seulement les faire une fois!

Le Capital – Tout coute plus cher et prend plus de temps que prévu. Nous devions aller de l’avant et faire beaucoup de sacrifices personnels.

Building a Business Model in a Vacuum – Personne n’avait construit un “Ovamba” avant, alors nous n’avions pas de compétition à poursuivre et pas de modèle à copier. Nous avons surmonté cela avec une vision claire, une flexibilité à pivoter, la créativité, et approche “simplifiée” à la construction et au développement. Nous allons tout tester avant de nous déployer.

Unexpected growth – Si vous ne planifiez pas la croissance correctement, il sera difficile de gérer et de dupliquer. Nous devions tout documenter et examiner, afin de voir les tendances et créer notre propre politique intérieure et culture.

Environnement Réglementaire – Beaucoup de pays en Afrique, particulièrement l’Afrique francophone, sont résistant aux perturbations et aux changements. L’environnement réglementaire a été hérité de l’époque coloniale, et est structuré pour empêcher aux entreprises d’échapper aux contrôles du gouvernement. Il est extrêmement difficile de trouver des marques africaines mondialement reconnues. Au Cameroun, il est difficile de trouver une entreprise camerounaise grande en dehors de ses frontières. Nous avons décidé de lancer nos opérations sans nous soucier des contraintes et avons mis l’accent sur la fourniture de service nécessaire aux clients avec un accent particulier sur le service client. Nous avons respecté les lois et les règles et nous nous sommes rendus comptes que les “conseillers” étaient orienté à nous faire changer notre entreprise afin de nous adapter aux lois au lieu de chercher de manière créative des moyens pour nous permettre d’atteindre nos objectifs d’affaire dans le cadre des lis obsolètes. Nous avons décidé d’entreprendre nos propres recherches et de former notre staff sur comment penser de manière créative et latérale.

Personnel qualifié – Pour nous, qualifié signifie créatif et curieux. Cela est très difficile à trouver. Nous surmontons cela en formant constamment le staff. Nous prenons une semaine pour passer des entretiens aux personnes, afin de voir de quoi ils sont faits, et nous avons un ensemble de qualités que nous recherchons. Cela fait partie de notre culture d’entreprise et de développement.

Expliquer la Valeur de Proposition de l’Afrique aux Occidentaux – Pour certaines raisons, certains non-africains préfèrent juste considérer l’Afrique comme un “pays” qui a besoin des solutions charitables et du soutien des ONG. Ils n’ont aucune idée du titan de l’incidence globale que le continent représente, les affaires marchent fort et l’Afrique est une destination pour des retours sur investissement énormes.

 

 

  1. Où voyez-vous votre entreprise dans les cinq prochaines années et quelles sont les mesures que vous prenez pour atteindre cet objectif?

J’ai la ferme conviction qu’Ovamba sera la plus grande alternative aux banques et le seul choix pour la croissance des PME. Ovamba fournit “La Croissance-Comme-Service” qui est notre gamme de produits conçu pour l’hyper croissance des entreprises. Nous leur aidons à acheter et à vendre plus de leur produits et services. Dans 5 ans ou moins, nous aurons une offre pour toutes les entreprises de l’Afrique sub-saharienne et un pionner dans le commerce conforme à la Sharia et les produits d’investissement qui se reposent sur la technologie. Nous aurons fait de l’Afrique une destination d’investissement pour les investisseurs mondiaux et nous aurons créé et défini une nouvelle classe d’actifs. Nous avons également la conviction que nous serons le point central pour les données des PME du secteur privé africains. Tout ce que nous faisons maintenant en termes de technologie et l’ouverture des nouveaux marchés va dans ce sens. Nous nous assurons également que nous sommes le partenaire de confiance principal pour les entreprises qui veulent croitre.

  1. Quel conseil donneriez-vous aux autres entrepreneurs qui veulent lancer une affaire ou investir en Afrique?

La liste est longue, mais voici quelques.

La Gestion des Attentes: Il y a toujours des parties prenantes et des personnes qui sont affectées par les décisions que vous prenez. Vous devez communiquer clairement et définir clairement vos objectifs. Il est impossible de satisfaire tout le monde tout le temps

Priorité: Lorsque vous démarrez, il y a tellement de choses à se focaliser dessus et tout le monde veut vous dire quoi faire. Les choix vous appartiennent. Votre succès, votre échec, votre destin. Soyez prêt à assumer cette responsabilité les priorités d’abord.

Les Personnes: Elles sont souvent une TERRIBLE déception. Néanmoins, être entouré de la bonne équipe vous permettra de passer au niveau supérieur. Choisissez judicieusement. Prenez conscience du droit du travail et des lois du travail- ils ne veulent pas toujours dire la même chose !

Conseil Non Désiré: C’est votre affaire, votre vision. Apprenez à dire NON et apprenez à dire DITES M’EN PLUS selon le cas.

Argent/Capital: Vous devez savoir quand vous serez à court d’argent et planifier en conséquence !! Recrutez un bon Directeur Financier ! Ce n’est pas pareil à un comptable ! Ne vous y trompez pas!

Vous ne savez pas ce que vous ne savez pas: Alors, lisez, lisez, lisez et parlez aux personnes qui ont connu cette expérience. Vous n’aurez pas toujours les réponses et vous n’avez pas besoin d’avoir toutes les réponses pour démarrer.

ECHEC POUR MIEUX REUSSIR: Vous allez apprendre si seulement vous échouez-mais échouez dans le processus de progrès. Prenez les risques qui soient compris et calculé. Il est normal d’échouer.

 

  1. Comment participe votre entreprise au développement de l’Afrique?

Tout ce qu’on a cité ci-dessus et beaucoup plus. Nous sommes les premiers à faire ce que nous faisons. Nous abordons le maillon manquant et développons la technologie et les processus pour aider les entreprises à croitre dans les secteurs clés qui favorisent le PIB africain.

Source: https://africansbuildingafrica.com/ovamba-solutions-funding-african-businesses/

Tel que publié sur https://africansbuildingafrica.com/

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Ovamba remporte le prix dans la catégorie Crédit et Financement à la cérémonie des récompenses des Fintech Africaines 2016 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/ovamba-remporte-le-prix-dans-la-categorie-credit-et-financement-a-la-ceremonie-des-recompenses-des-fintech-africaines-2016/ Mon, 07 Nov 2016 09:10:44 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=732 Ovamba a remporté la première place dans la catégorie “African Lending and Financing“ à la cérémonie de récompense des Fintech Africaines pour l’année 2016.

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Ovamba a remporté la première place dans la catégorie “African Lending and Financing“ à la cérémonie de récompense des Fintech Africaines pour l’année 2016. La cérémonie a eu lieu au Sandton Convention Centre à Johannesburg le 13 octobre 2016. Les votes étaient soumis en ligne par des sommités de l’industrie et par des professionnels du monde entier.

Cette cérémonie qui fait partie de l’exposition Finance Indaba Africa, distingue les innovateurs Fintech qui se sont attaqués au problème de l’inclusion financière pour les millions d’Africains privé de tout service bancaire. Il y a environ 326 million d’africains qui pourront participer à la vie économique à travers les innovations des Fintech. Avec plus de 30,000 votants et un jury d’élite composé de 40 juges qui détermine le vainqueur, Ovamba est fière de se retrouver à la tête d’une illustre liste de prêteurs et bailleurs concurrents.

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Ovamba finance de manière active les entreprises depuis environ deux ans et demi. Dans ce court laps de temps, Ovamba a soutenu et financé les entreprises pour un montant d’environ 11 million d’euros. Ovamba qui est reconnu sur le plan international pour avoir impacter les perspectives de croissance des PME africaines attire les financements des investisseurs institutionnels du monde entier.

Ovamba est dédiée à relier les investisseurs et les entreprises africaines et se distingue par des fonds qu’elle apporte à travers son application mobile et sa plateforme en ligne. Les co-fondateurs et leur équipe ont développé des séries de programmes “end-to-end”  qui permettent aux entreprises d’avoir accès aux produits, des stocks et des services qui peuvent contribuer à leur croissance et réaliser leur plein potentiel.

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Marvin Cole, PDG et co-fondateur d’Ovamba a déclaré ceci à propos de la récompense “ En tant qu’entreprise dédiée à offrir “La Croissance comme Service”®, cette récente victoire réalisation remarquable pour nous et sert de validation pour démontrer qu’Ovamba dévient un innovateur de classe mondiale et un acteur essentiel dans l’industrie Fintech”. Il a également déclaré, “ Nous savons que la technologie est la clé du succès à long terme. Les défis de nos clients guident le développement de nos produits et de notre technologie. ”

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A PROPOS DE FINANCE INDABA

Finance Indaba est le plus grand événement annuel pour les gestionnaires financiers et les spécialistes qui veulent savoir avec quel partenaire avancer. Les visiteurs recherchent un rendement financier supérieur.

Organisé par CFO Afrique du Sud

A PROPOS D’OVAMBA

Ovamba a été cofondé en 2013 aux États-Unis par Viola Llewellyn et Marvin Cole. La société a été créée pour répondre au déficit de financement laissé par le secteur bancaire formel et les institutions de microfinance en Afrique. Pour résoudre cette situation ceci, Ovamba relie les investisseurs institutionnels et les PME qui nécessitent les financements à court terme pour importer, acheter ou vendre les stocks.

 

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Ovamba Wins award for Lending and Finance at the 2016 African FinTech Awards https://www.ovamba.com/blog/ovamba-wins-award-for-lending-and-finance-at-the-2016-african-fintech-awards/ Tue, 18 Oct 2016 15:42:33 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=724 Ovamba won first place in the “Africa Lending and Financing” category at the 2016 African Fintech Awards.  The awards took place at the Sandton

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Ovamba won first place in the “Africa Lending and Financing” category at the 2016 African Fintech Awards.  The awards took place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 13 October 2016.  Votes were submitted online by industry luminaries and professionals from around the globe.

The Awards, which were part of the larger Finance Indaba Africa Expo, recognized FinTech innovators who have tackled the problem of financial inclusion for the millions of unbanked Africans.   There are approximately 326 million Africans who could finally be brought into the mainstream economy through FinTech innovations.  With well over 30,000 voters and an elite panel of 40 judges determining the eventual winner, Ovamba is thrilled to have made it to the top of an illustrious list of competing lenders and funders.

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Ovamba has been actively funding businesses for almost two and half years.  In that short time Ovamba has supported companies with almost 11 million Euro in funding.   Internationally recognized for impacting the growth outlook for African SMEs, Ovamba has been attracting funding capital from institutional investors around the world.

Ovamba is dedicated in connecting investors with African businesses and distinguishes itself by delivering capital via its mobile app and web based platform.  The co-founders and their team has developed “end-to-end” suites of products that give businesses access to products, inventory and services that can help them to grow and meet their full potential.

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Speaking about the award, Marvin Cole, the CEO and Co-Founder of Ovamba had this to say: “As a company dedicated to delivering “Growth as a Service”® this recent win is  a significant accomplishment for us and serves as validation that Ovamba is becoming a world class innovator and key player in the FinTech industry”.    He also went on to say, “We know that technology is the key to long term success.  The challenges of our customers guides our product and tech development.”

ABOUT FINANCE INDABA

The Finance Indaba is the biggest annual event for financial managers and specialists in Africa who want to know which partners can help them move forward. Visitors are looking for top financial perf

Organized by CFO South Africa

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ABOUT OVAMBA

Ovamba was Co-founded in 2013 in the USA by Viola Llewellyn and Marvin Cole.  The company was created to address the funding gap left by the formal banking sector and Micro-Finance Institutions [MFIs] in Africa.  To address this, Ovamba connects institutional investors with SMEs that require short term funding to import, purchase and sell inventory.

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Ovamba Solutions-Funding African Businesses https://www.ovamba.com/blog/ovamba-solutions-funding-african-businesses/ Tue, 18 Oct 2016 12:17:30 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=718 Ovamba provides micro, small and medium sized businesses in Africa with short-term trade and growth capital with funding provided by International investors from the US, U.K. and Japan.

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Ovamba provides micro, small and medium sized businesses in Africa with short-term trade and growth capital with funding provided by International investors from the US, U.K. and Japan.

We had the opportunity to email interview the founder of Ovamba Solutions, Viola Llewellyn, and here it is:

  1. Tell us about yourself and your organizationv

Well, you have my name, so that is a start!  I am the co-founder and President of Ovamba Solutions (www.ovamba.com).  My parents are Cameroonian, I was born in London.  I was a typical Diasporan – aware that I was African but too busy “living my life”.  My business partner alerted me to the opportunity that Africa represented, and I have never looked back.  We created Ovamba in 2013 in Maryland and began operations in Cameroon in June of 2014.   Ovamba started out wanting to connect Diasporans to investment opportunities in their own countries but that actually is not a viable business model.  After many pivots, we arrived at where we are:  A FinTech company that provides “Growth-As-A-Service” by making short term funding available to African SMEs.  We are different from other solutions because our focus is beyond “access to finance”, its about helping African business’s grow which means more than just giving them more money.  We help them gain global access to acquire more of the inventory and services that they sell or provide as a their core business.  A serious business wants to grow and increase revenue, so we help them do that.

  1. How much did you need to start your organization and how were you able to raise that capital? 

GREAT question!  We actually didn’t know how much we needed because our business model kept changing the more we did our research.  In the end, we decided to be bold and get started with what we had with the plan that we would try to launch our MVP (minimal viable product) and start trying to generate revenue to build the value of the company.  We raised our seed capital from friends and family and raised $650,000.  That was between April 2013 and September 2013.  We pitched and pitched and spoke to everyone we knew.  After that we got our first VC investor GLI who invested $1.3million.  The process of this large investment took from May 2014 to October 2014.  We had not even generated a single penny in revenue when GLI decided to invest in us.  It was quite a first for an African company like ours!

  1. What are some of the challenges you face in your organization and how do you overcome those challenges?

The culture – it was so hard to take off our western hats and wear an African hat, to view the world from a Cameroonian/African reality.  To overcome this challenge we had to be patient and willing to make costly mistakes but only make those mistakes once!

Capital – Everything costs more and takes longer than expected.  We had to just keep marching forward and making a lot of personal sacrifices

Building a Business Model in a Vacuum – No one had built an “Ovamba” before so we had no competition to chase and no model to copy.  We overcame this with crystal clear vision, flexibility to pivot, creativity and a “lean” approach to building and developing.  We would test everything before full roll out

Unexpected growth – If you don’t plan growth correctly, it is hard to manage it and duplicate it.  We had to document everything and examine it to see the patterns and create our own internal policy and culture

Regulatory Environment – Much of Africa, Francophone Africa especially is resistant to disruption and change.  The regulatory environment is a hand-down from colonial times and is structured to prevent businesses from escaping Government controls.  It is supremely difficult to find huge African globally recognized brands.  In Cameroon it is hard to find a Cameroonian company that is big outside of its borders!!  We chose to operate regardless of these constraints and instead focused on providing a necessary service to clients with an emphasis on customer service.  We followed all laws and rules and realized that “advisors” were more attuned to trying to make us change our business to fit the laws instead of creatively looking for ways to allow our business goals to be realized within the context of existing outdated laws.  We chose to do our own research and teach staff how to think creatively and laterally

Qualified Staff – For us, qualified means creative and inquisitive.  Its very hard to find.  We overcome this by consistently and constantly training staff.  We take 1 week to interview people to see what they are really made of and we have a set of qualities that we check for.  This is all part of corporate culture and development

Explaining the Value Proposition of Africa to Westerners – For some reason some non-Africans just prefer to think of Africa as a “country” that is in need of charitable solutions and NGO support.  They have no idea what a titan of global impact the Continent is, that business is thriving and Africa is a destination for great investment returns.

  1. Where do you see your organization 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that objective?

I firmly believe that Ovamba will be the biggest alternative to banks and the only choice for SME growth.  Ovamba delivers “Growth-As-A-Service” which is our suite of products designed to give companies hyper-growth.  We help them buy and sell more of their products and services.  In 5 years time or less we will be a total sub-saharan offering for businesses, and a pioneer in tech-driven Sharia compliant trade and investment products.  We will have made Africa an investment destination for global investors and we would have created and defined a brand new asset class.  We also believe that we will be the central point for African SME private sector data.   Everything we are doing now in terms of tech and opening new markets is geared towards this.  We are also making sure that we are the number one trusted partner to companies who want to grow.

  1. What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to start a business or invest in Africa?

Too many to list but here are a few.

Managing expectations:  There are always stake holders and people who are affected by the decisions you make.  You must communicate clearly and have a clear understanding of what you mean and what your goals are.  You cannot please everyone all of the time.

Prioritization:  When you get started there is so much to focus on and everyone wants to tell you what to think and what to do.  The choices are yours alone. Your success, your failure, your destiny.  Be willing to shoulder this responsibility.  First things first

People:  They are often a HORRIBLE let down!  However, the right team around you will really take you to the next level.  Choose wisely, be aware of labour laws and employment laws – they are not always the same thing!

Unwanted Advice:  Its your business, your vision.  Learn to say NO and learn to say TELL ME MORE as is appropriate

Money/Capital:  You need to know when you are going to run out of cash and plan accordingly!!  Get a good CFO!  That is NOT the same as an accountant!  don’t be fooled!

You don’t know what you don’t know:  So read, read, read, and talk to people who have walked your journey.  You do not always have the answers, and you don’t need to have all the answers to get started

FAIL FORWARD:  You will only learn if you fail – but fail in the process of progress.  Take risks that are understood and calculated.  Its OK to fail.

  1. How is your organization participating to the development of Africa?

Everything mentioned above and a whole lot more! We are the first to do what we do. We are addressing the missing middle and developing tech and processes to help companies grow in the key sectors that drive African GDP.

Source: https://africansbuildingafrica.com/ovamba-solutions-funding-african-businesses/

As first published on https://africansbuildingafrica.com/

 

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OVAMBA Voted Among the Top 3 African FinTech Companies https://www.ovamba.com/blog/ovamba-voted-among-the-top-3-african-fintech-companies/ Thu, 13 Oct 2016 16:16:55 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=713 Press Release Douala, 12/10/16 Ovamba Solutions Inc. has been nominated by voters from around the world as one of the best FinTech innovators on

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Press Release

Douala, 12/10/16

Ovamba Solutions Inc. has been nominated by voters from around the world as one of the best FinTech innovators on the African continent.  100 companies were shortlisted and at the time of this press release, Ovamba is in the top 3.  Ovamba has been quoted as Africa’s first “Market Place SME Funding” FinTech Company and is a pioneering innovator of business and finance solutions in the CEMAC region.

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Within a 2 year operational track record, Ovamba has offered business support to more than 140 businesses in Cameroon and has also been internationally recognised for impacting the growth outlook for African SMEs.

“For us, the best award continues to be the trust that SMEs place in us to deliver “Growth-As-A-Service”, said Marvin Cole, Co-Founder and CEO.  “Many have noted how remarkable it is for Ovamba to be nominated amongst the best 100 FinTech companies in Africa, and we are truly honoured to be recognized for this”, he added.

Ovamba’s innovative approach to delivering financial services to the missing middle of Africa’s business sector is driven by a creative technology development process.  “Creating a process to solve the pain points of the sector is at the heart of our technology”, said Prashant Mahajan, Chief Technology Officer.  Mahajan also went on to say, “We are disrupting the client’s expectation of how technology can help them grow, and delivering a new business ecosystem that will take Africa into a technological future where SMEs drive GDP, and business needs drive innovation.”

The Awards aim to recognise innovative and disruptive FinTech companies.  Nominations and voting involved experts, stakeholders and investors from all over the world. The online voting, a combination of public and expert voting, ran from 23 June 2016 and ended 19 September 2016.

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Over the past 2 years Ovamba has funded over 140 transactions, totalling approximately €10.5 million ($9 million)).  Via Ovamba’s platform, institutional Investors have had the opportunity to invest in the fast-growing African private sector. The company has distinguished itself from its competitors as the only sharia-compliant platform of its kind.

The final awards will take place on October 13th in the Sandton Convention Centre.  Africa’s leading FinTech entrepreneurs, bankers, investors and advisors, will gather to celebrate and award the nominees. The complete list of the African FinTech 100 can be found at https://www.fintech-africa.com/top-100.

About Ovamba Solutions

Ovamba was founded in 2013 in the US by long-time friends, Viola Llewellyn and Marvin Cole, who saw an opportunity to help empower entrepreneurs in Africa by providing them with the access to finance needed in order to flourish their businesses.

The company was created to address the funding gap left by the formal banking sector and Micro-Finance Institutions [MFIs] in Africa. To address this, Ovamba connects institutional lenders with business and delivers capital faster with favourable terms than its competitors, including via a mobile app.

In 2014, Ovamba attracted significant investment from UK-based GLI Finance, whose backers include Blackrock Global, AXA Investment Managers and Barclays Wealth. Ovamba then set up its first operations in Cameroon – a country with over 200 local languages, Muslim and Christian communities, and an economy almost entirely comprised of SMEs. It was the perfect place to prove the model.

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La participation d’Ovamba à la première Pré-conférence Nordique-Africaine de Springboard https://www.ovamba.com/blog/la-participation-dovamba-a-la-premiere-pre-conference-nordique-africaine-de-springboard/ Thu, 13 Oct 2016 11:16:07 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=711 Ovamba était à la première pré-conférence nordique–africaine de Springboard la semaine dernière à Helsinki, Finlande.  Springboard, une firme Nordique-africaine conseil en développement et investissement

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Ovamba était à la première pré-conférence nordique–africaine de Springboard la semaine dernière à Helsinki, Finlande.  Springboard, une firme Nordique-africaine conseil en développement et investissement a organisé la pré-conférence en anticipation de sa plus large conférence prévue en Mai 2017. La pré-conférence a été organisée pour une audience selecte et les présentateurs.

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La conférence privée « AFRICA INNOVATES » s’est tenue le 22 septembre à Helsinki, Finlande. Viola Llewellyn, la co-fondatrice et présidente d’Ovamba a fourni un aperçu de comment Ovamba soutient les entreprises en Afrique.

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Mlle Llewellyn était aussi dans le jury aux cotés de Sinikka Antila, Ambassadrice finlandaise du commerce et du développement, Artem Gurevich, Chef de personnel à RENDEAVOUR (développeur s’agence immobilière en Afrique), et Saku Tuominen, fondateur finlandais renommé et directeur créatif de HundrED, un spécialiste de l’éducation innovante k – 12. Le panel était animé par Jussi Hinkkanen, PDG, Expert  en gestion technologique, stratégie et relations d’entreprise.

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La conférence se focalisait sur comment l’évolution des nouvelles technologies et la croissance de la population des jeunes africains ont rehaussé le développement de manière dramatique en stimulant le commerce et l’entreprenariat sur le continent. Mlle Llewellyn a éclairé les participants sur comment les investisseurs et entreprises nordiques peuvent être partenaires des PME en Afrique. Ce qui résulte de la présentation d’Ovamba était que les Finlandais aient un intérêt clair et croissant dans l’engagement avec des entreprises africaines. Les indications sont fortes, il y a un appétit croissant de reproduire les récents succès expérimentés par les investisseurs du Japon, de la Chine et du Moyen-Orient. Une plateforme comme Ovamba représente un point d’accès à des régions et des zones entières de l’économie africaines pour toute la région nordique (Danemark, Norvège, Suède, Finlande et Islande).

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Avec un engagement continu, Ovamba entend aider Springboard à assister les acteurs finlandais de financement/partenariat dans leurs premiers pas dans le secteur privé des entreprises en Afrique.

“Springboard est une entreprise indépendante de spécialistes offrant une gamme de services d’entreprise à entreprise. Nous conseillons les clients – à la fois africains et Nordiques – sur les décisions stratégiques ayant des implications sur les opportunités de développement et d’investissement. Nous rassemblons des professionnels de diverses disciplines et avec des aptitudes complémentaires. La profondeur de notre expertise nous permet d’assurer des projets complexes et stratégiques en Afrique. Nos clients nous font confiance dans la réalisation de leurs visions.

Pour plus d’information, visiter https://www.springboard.fi”

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Ovamba Co-Founder & President, Viola Llewellyn – Confirmed as Keynote Speaker at Oxbridge Finance Conference (OFC) 2016 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/ovamba-co-founder-president-viola-llewellyn-confirmed-as-keynote-speaker-at-oxbridge-finance-conference-ofc-2016/ Wed, 12 Oct 2016 08:37:30 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=706 The third edition of the Oxbridge Finance Conference will be hosted at the University of Cambridge on the 3rd and 4th of November this

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The third edition of the Oxbridge Finance Conference will be hosted at the University of Cambridge on the 3rd and 4th of November this year.  Viola Llewellyn, co-founder and President of African FinTech company, Ovamba Solutions Amongst the stellar line-up of speakers is Viola Llewellyn, co-founder and President of Ovamba Solutions Inc.

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This annual symposium is a joint venture between the Cambridge University Finance and Investment Society (CUFIS) and the Oxford Finance Society (OFS). Attendees of the symposium will explore the latest trends in global finance and the effects on global markets and alternative asset classes.  The symposium also provides networking opportunities for students and professionals alike.

The OFC brings together high profile speakers, top executives and industry leaders from many sectors of the finance world.  With global attention on emerging markets and Africa in particular, Ms. Llewellyn expects to enlighten attendees with insights and new perspectives on Africa’s new asset classes and the ever-changing “FinTech” landscape.

With a 2 day programme of speakers and panels, The Cambridge Union Society, expects to welcome a vast audience of both national and International delegates, with an additional guest list of students from universities in the UK and Europe.

Ms. Llewellyn will deliver a keynote speech about the emergence of technology in Africa, the future of African finance and the effects of globalization.  She will also examine Africa’s financial landscape, the challenges and outlook.

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About Viola Llewellyn

Viola Llewellyn is the co-founder and President of Ovamba Solutions, Inc.  (www.Ovamba.com). Ovamba is Africa’s first “Market Place Funder”; a FinTech company created to fund African SME businesses.  Ovamba’s technology gives global accredited and institutional investors the opportunity to invest in the fast-growing African private sector. Ms. Llewellyn oversees strategic implementation, global operations, communications, and business development for Ovamba.

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Ovamba’s Participation at Springboard’s First African-Nordic Pre-Conference https://www.ovamba.com/blog/ovambas-participation-at-springboards-first-african-nordic-pre-conference/ Wed, 05 Oct 2016 08:34:37 +0000 https://www.ovamba.com/blog/?p=698 Ovamba was at Springboard’s African-Nordic pre-conference last week in Helsinki, Finland.  Springboard, the Finnish based African-Nordic business development and investment advisory firm organized the

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Ovamba was at Springboard’s African-Nordic pre-conference last week in Helsinki, Finland.  Springboard, the Finnish based African-Nordic business development and investment advisory firm organized the “pre-conference” in anticipation of its wider Conference which is scheduled for May 2017. The pre-conference was organized for a select audience and presenters.

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The “AFRICA INNOVATES” private conference took place on September 22 in Helsinki, Finland. Viola Llewellyn, Ovamba’s Co-Founder and President delivered an overview of how Ovamba is supporting businesses in Africa.

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Ms. Llewellyn was also on a panel along with Sinikka Antila, Finnish Ambassador for Trade and Development, Artem Gurevich, Chief of Staff at RENDEAVOUR (real estate developer in Africa), and Saku Tuominen, renowned Finnish Founder & Creative Director of HundrED, an innovative k – 12 education specialist.  The panel was moderated by Jussi Hinkkanen, CEO, Technology Management, Strategy and Corporate Relations Expert.

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The conference focused on how the rise of new technology and the growing population of young Africans has dramatically enhanced development by stimulating trade and entrepreneurship on the continent.  Ms. Llewellyn enlightened the conference attendees on how Nordic investors and businesses can partner with Africa’s SMEs. What resulted from the Ovamba presentation was that the Finnish have a clear and growing interest in private sector engagement with African businesses. Indications are strong that there is an increasing appetite to duplicate recent successes as experienced by investors from Japan, China and the Middle East.  A platform like Ovamba’s represents a gateway to entire regions and zones of the African economy for the entire Nordic region (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland).

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With continued engagement, Ovamba expects to help Springboard to assist the Finnish investment/partnership stakeholders with taking their first steps into private sector African business.

“Springboard is an independent company of specialists offering a range of business-to-business services. We advise clients – both African and Nordic – on strategic decisions which have implications for business development and investment opportunities. We bring together professionals from diverse disciplines and with complementary skills. The depth of our expertise allows us to take on complex and strategic projects in Africa. Our clients trust us to help realize their visions.

For more information, please visit https://www.springboard.fi”

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