Zenith Bank is gearing up to empower and reward Nigerian startups with a total sum of N59 million through its upcoming pitch competition, Zechathon 3.0. This initiative, carried out in collaboration with the accelerator firm Seedstars, not only promises financial incentives but also aims to provide essential business support to participating startups.
The hackathon program is designed to go beyond just a competition, offering training, mentorship, and networking opportunities with potential investors. This comprehensive approach is geared towards nurturing startups and propelling them towards sustainable growth.
In an official statement released on Friday, the bank expressed its commitment to shaping the future of business in Africa through Zechathon 3.0. Startups eligible for participation are expected to be at the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage, possess a full team, and have secured funding not exceeding $75,000. Furthermore, these startups must operate within specific domains such as retail, eCommerce, payments, lending, wellness, cybersecurity, EdTech, energy, AgriTech, entertainment, transport and logistics, and SMEs.
Temitope Fasoranti, the Executive Director of Zenith Bank PLC, emphasized the bank’s dedication to fostering technological advancements in Nigeria. She noted, “Our goal is to spotlight and uplift innovative startups that use technology to address modern-day challenges, steering us towards a brighter tomorrow.” Fasoranti highlighted that the benefits for winning participants extend beyond cash prizes, including invaluable pitch training, participation in a follow-on program, and access to Seedstars’ global network.
The significance of this initiative goes beyond the financial rewards. Rolake Rosijuli, Director for Partnership and Programs, Africa at Seedstars, underlined the shared commitment of Zenith Bank and Seedstars to drive positive change through technology. Rosijuli stated, “With Zecathon 3.0, we’re not just recognizing talent, we’re investing in Nigeria’s tech-driven future.”
The breakdown of prizes for the hackathon includes a substantial N20 million for the first-place winner, accompanied by the opportunity to pitch to investors and access Seedstars’ Mentorship Hub. The second-place winner will receive N15 million, inclusive of a scholarship into the Seedstars mentorship hub. The third-place winner is set to receive N10 million, complemented by a scholarship into the Seedstars mentorship hub. Additionally, the subsequent 10 startups, ranked from 4th to 10th place, will each be awarded a participatory prize of N2 million.
The application window for startups interested in participating in the hackathon is open until the 14th of November, 2023. This presents a significant opportunity for innovative and tech-driven startups in Nigeria to not only secure financial backing but also gain exposure and support that can be instrumental in their journey towards success. Zenith Bank’s Zechathon 3.0 stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts within the Nigerian business ecosystem to foster and elevate the next generation of entrepreneurs and technological innovators.
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