Barclays Africa Group Limited (Barclays Africa) crowned Markit Opportunity the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge champion at a panel submission judging event held at The Bandwidth Barn Accelerator in Cape Town last night. The pan-African challenge, under the Rise in Africa umbrella, which launched in July, invited teams of innovators to submit ideas to redefine the supply chain process and enable economic growth across Africa.
Represented by their CEO and Founder Ashley King-Bischof, Markit Opportunity, from Kenya, triumphed over four other innovative finalists, by demonstrating a scalable solution to improve incomes of smallholder farmers.
Markit Opportunity incentivises regional trade by leveraging mobile technology and logistics to create trusted, transparent and efficient supply chains. The company provides a mobile platform that connects traders in urban markets to farmers with real-time supply and demand statistics, as well as market related pricing.
The judging panel of industry experts including Erik Hersman, CEO of BRCK, Teju Ajani, regional content partnerships lead for YouTube and Ian Merrington, CEO of the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative vigorously engaged the five finalists as they presented their concepts.
“When it came to selection process, the very high calibre of submissions provided some testing conversations for the judging panel. Today’s finalists are a great reflection of the rich vein of innovation emanating from the African continent,” says Ashley Veasey, CIO, Barclays Africa and judging panel member.
Markit Opportunity will receive $10 000 in support of their venture. In addition the judges were also so impressed by the Nigerian entrepreneur Job Oyebisi, representing Freshmart, that they awarded his idea a special prize of $5 000. The Freshmart App for Provenance will leverage the blockchain, enabling customers to track the provenance - the chronology of the ownership - of the produce they want to purchase.
In addition to their financial support both winners will receive mentorship from a Barclays Africa executive to help them kick-start their venture.
The Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge, which closed in September, was the first of several initiatives being extended into Africa through Rise with the aim to spark ideas to drive the digital evolution on the continent. Interested parties are invited to follow @ThinkRiseAfrica and visit http://www.thinkrise.com for information on other Rise initiatives.