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The informal sector in South Africa is made up of more than 10million people. As it is we are still facing issues within the local market like fear of transactional fees, behavioural patterns and other constrains that keep people running away from the direction of innovation and towards a more traditional approach to exchange that they understand and trust.   

Due to this, the informal market segment in South Africa has been, for a large part, not been able to access financial services products due to its dependency on the customer having access to and actively using his/her bank account. 


Old Mutual is looking for start-ups that have proven experience distributing financial and/or other products and services to the informal sector and/or experience collecting money from said group of people at low or zero fees. 

Key criteria includes: 

1. Low or close to zero fees. (Less than 3% would be desirable)  

2. Collection must be frictionless – the less parties involved the better, and must be easily accessible for customers. 

3. Collections should be on an ad-hoc basis with no or very low minimums. 

4. Access to customers is key.  This solution must be scalable, therefore a large distribution network (or working with a large distributor) across Southern Africa is necessary. 


Our goal is to find a solution to the problem that exist in distributing financial services products to this market segment as well as collect payment for these services on an ongoing basis.  

Reasons this market has not been sufficiently served:

1. The informal sector is primarily a cash based market. 

2. Trust is a very important in these communities 

3. The cost to serve, especially using traditional models like face-to-face distribution, have proven to be costly 
4.  informal market is characterized by low literacy levels and specifically low financial literacy levels. As such, the market still prefers some human interaction.

The challenge is therefore, to find a viable formula that combines a digitally enabled interaction.

Submission Requirements


For this challenge is open to start-ups / projects from ANY African country.


1. Innovative solution or service

2. Less than 10 years of existence

3. Early-stage to Series B 

4. Have a tested prototype of the product/service/platform that addresses the problem statement 


Required format:

Deck pitch: 10 slides max (ppt, pdf) - MAX 50 Megabytes

Last day of submission: 25th of September 2019.

12 start-ups will be shortlisted after the last day of submission - of which 3 will be selected to showcase at AfricArena Summit 2019.

Submit to Win

Prizes & rewards


*For the 3 selected startups*

Return flights and accomodation in Cape Town - to showcase at the AfricArena Summit 2019!

Meet and greet with the "who's who" of the African tech scene, at the AfricArena Summit this year.  A great opportunity for exposure to international investors, VCs, angels, corporates, and other high rise startups from across the continent.


*For the 3 selected startups*

1. Showcase at the grand stage for Africa's tech future - the AfricArena Summit 2019! Taking place 11-12 November 2019. Location: Century City Conference Centre, Cape Town.

2. Showcase your innovative solution in front of international investors, VCs and corporates, who are looking for wolrd-class talent to partner with.


*For the 1 WINNING start-up*

1. Return flights and accomodation in Cape Town - to showcase at the AfricArena Summit 2019!

2. A possibility of showcasing at VIVA Technology in Paris next year (2020).

3. Working with Old Mutual (mentorship) on developing your brand and offering.