Ghana : Catalyst Fund Partners Mastercard, MEST to Accelerate E-Commerce
The Catalyst Fund has associated with the Mastercard Foundation and MEST have put forth $4.3 million in a bid to accelerate Inclusive Digital Accelerator Programme geared towards boosting digital commerce companies in Ghana.
This is the first ever expansion of its flagship inclusive fintech programme and will officially launch a virtual event come November 4, 2020.
In line with the innovation, the programme looks forward to bettering the livelihoods and financial resilience of informal Micro and Small Enterprises, MSEs, especially for those mostly hit by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by scaling digital commerce companies in Ghana.
“We are thrilled to announce the first Catalyst Fund expansion programme, which builds on lessons learned supporting inclusive fintech companies in emerging markets over the last five years. Through the Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator, we aim to impact informal MSEs in Ghana who, particularly in light of the COVID-19 crisis, lack access to a financial safety net and find their livelihoods impacted when physical commerce suffers,” said Maelis Carraro, Catalyst Fund Managing Director.
In addition, the accelerator will select innovative companies that can enable informal MSEs to reap the benefits of digital commerce. Thus, six e-commerce companies would be selected to be scaled over the next two years, leveraging Catalyst Fund’s model to combining flexible grant capital of up to $120,000 expert-led venture acceleration support, portfolio meet-ups and curated cohort-based workshop sessions as reported by Disrupt Africa.
It will equally comprise of connections with Catalyst Fund’s growing global Circle of Investors and Circle of Corporate Innovators. “Along with support and deep local expertise from Mastercard Foundation and MEST, we aim to enable companies who are already tackling distinct problems in the digital commerce space to better reach informal MSEs so they can leverage digital rails to improve their financial resilience for the future,” added Maelis Carraro.
The said partnership with MEST however brings deep market knowledge, leveraging more than 12 years of experience, training and incubating tech entrepreneurs on the ground in Ghana. In this wise, Greg Coussa, MEST Strategic Director professed that, “the opportunity to partner with an experienced organisation like Catalyst Fund, with support from the Mastercard Foundation is equal parts exciting and aligned with MEST’s scale strategy in Ghana and in time beyond.”
It is worth noting that, the Inclusive Digital Commerce Accelerator provides an opportunity to work with Catalyst Fund to support scale-stage ventures who are strategically seeking to better reach and serve informal MSEs, influence local knowledge, networks as well as expertise.