MIT Zambezi Prize for Innovation in Financial Inclusion 2018 (Win $200,000 in cash prizes)

MIT Zambezi Prize for Innovation in Financial Inclusion 2018 (Win $200,000 in cash prizes)

Deadline: June 1, 2018

Applications are ongoing for the MIT Zambezi Prize for Innovation in Financial Inclusion 2018. The Zambezi Prize is a competition that aims to unearth and celebrate the startups that are solving Africa’s biggest financial inclusion challenges. The Prize is a global platform that supports Africa’s leading financial inclusion entrepreneurs with multiple rewards from funding to training opportunities.

The traditional definition of financial inclusion is the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of society. The Zambezi Prize looks at a more holistic definition that focuses less on the mechanism and more on the end result.

They analyze the impact of a combination of factors in the lives of disadvantaged people to measure financial inclusion. These factors include job creation, revenue, transactional mechanisms and their financial relevance to users, mass education, training and the overall quality of life impact.


  • Win $200,000 in cash prizes and get fast-tracked to MIT’s $1 Million Inclusive Innovation Challenge;
  • Join the MIT Legatum Center family and get recognized as a winner of the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge;
  • Get introduced to investors and mentors from the MIT Legatum network of global leaders
  • Attend the Zambezi boot camp at the MIT campus and boost your leadership skills;
  • Join the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) and attend the Gala in Boston;
  • Get international media coverage for your startup and network with your peers.


  • The company should be an active early stage company with an African presence;
  • Founder should have the intention to work full-time on the venture;
  • Availability to travel to the Zambezi Boot Camp in Boston;
  • Your company must solve one of the 9 financial inclusion challenges:
    • Low Financial Literacy
    • Limited Access to Financial Institutions
    • Low and Unpredictable Income
    • Proof of Identity
    • Distrust in Financial Services
    • Difficulty in Meeting Unforseen Shock
    • Limited Commercial Viability
    • Complex and Costly Partnership Agreements
    • Limited Financial Infrastructure

Judging Criteria

Your company will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Vision & Purpose
  • Scalability
  • Inclusion Challenge
  • Level of Innovation
  • Ecosystem Impact
  • Leadership


Click here to apply

For more information, visit Zambezi Prize.