EFInA’s focus on supporting innovation to promote financial sector development and financial inclusion is implemented through the EFInA Innovation Fund and a series of innovation fora
The Innovation fund was launched in 2009 while the innovation fora was designed to trigger debate, disseminate information and stimulate ideas about access to finance and other pertinent issues in the Nigerian financial sector
EFInA launched our Innovation Fund to encourage financial services providers to develop and launch products and services targeting the unbanked and under-banked low income segment. The Innovation Fund seeks to support new ideas and approaches to expanding financial access to the unbanked and under-banked population in Nigeria. As innovation involves taking risks, EFInA shares the risk of developing and implementing innovative products by providing grant subsidies for commercial and policy related initiatives. Innovation is sometimes hard to define, and therefore difficult for prospective bidders to address. The EFInA Innovation Fund focuses on novel ways of providing access to financial services in Nigeria, rather than replicating existing approaches. It aims to:
- Generate and pilot new ideas and business models that increase access to financial services for low income customers that are unbanked and under-banked.
- Support projects that extend the provision of inclusive financial services.
- Maximise the impact of EFInA’s Innovation Fund by supporting innovative projects that have good potential for replication.
The Innovation Fund offers three types of grants:
Technical Assistance Grants
Technical assistance grants are given at an early stage to provide support for projects in design, pilot or development as a stepping stone for larger initiatives. Projects are to be implemented within 12 months of the grant being awarded.
Innovation grants provide larger long term funding and are available for projects in sectors defined by our Request for Proposals (RFP).
Fintech Challenge Grants
These Grants will support innovative use of digital technology to address specific financial inclusion challenges. Funding is used to develop, pilot and/or deploy an innovative, technology-based solution to a financial inclusion problem.
- Grant applications are solicited via Requests for Proposals
- Start-up and growth stage Fintech companies in Nigeria are eligible to apply
- Projects last up to 12 months
- Funding amount varies by challenge round
- No minimum requirement for grantee funds match
Our Innovation Fora serve to build the capacity of market operators and regulators in the financial services sector. Our Fora are designed to trigger debate, disseminate information and stimulate ideas about access to finance and other pertinent issues in the Nigerian financial sector. They feature leading speakers from around the world, who share their experiences.
Fintech Innovation is an important driver of financial inclusion and very useful in providing access to financial services, especially in underserved/unserved areas.
In 2018, EFInA embarked on a journey to study the Nigerian fintech space because we understand the importance of innovative DFS for financial inclusion, this led to us conducting a foundational fintech study to understand the landscape and determine success factors for Fintechs to thrive.
In 2020, we decided to update this study to reflect current trends (considering how quickly the market changes), capture the impact of fintech on financial services in Nigeria and provide interventions that EFInA & other partners can take to maximise the growth of an inclusive Nigerian financial sector through fintechs.
Follow our journey on promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria.