Absa Group expand its Digital Partnerships capability through MEST and CiTi

SOUTH AFRICA – Absa Group, a financial services group, has signed agreements with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Ghana, the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) and Grindstone in South Africa.

The agreement is to support and collaborate on initiatives aimed at growing emerging technology and other businesses in Africa.

In a statement, the bank says the agreements expand Absa’s Digital Partnerships capability, established in 2020 to facilitate collaboration with innovative, mature start-ups from around the world.

It explains the capability connects Absa and its partners through key local, regional and global networks to promote co-creation potential, particularly in the technology and digital space.

“At Absa, we understand that informal markets and small businesses are instrumental in the growth of African economies,” said Michelle Anderson, Absa head of information and technology office strategy and group partnerships.

“Through the Absa Digital Partnerships ecosystem, we aim to drive and support the growth of innovative and mature tech start-ups, as well as their impact in the different communities.

“By collaborating with MEST, CiTi and Grindstone, we will amplify efforts to unlock new opportunities across a wide spectrum of the entrepreneurial landscape in Africa, from female founders to green-tech start-ups.”

CiTi is a non-profit company with a mission to build a future-fit, inclusive society through technology and innovation.

“Inclusive entry into the digital value chain for entrepreneurs and SMMEs, both in the formal and informal economy, plays a pivotal role in developing the South African economy,” Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi, said.

“The Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative believes that we can create opportunities for execution of new ideas and growth by providing education and access to technology and innovation. We have collaborated with Absa for ecosystem and micro-enterprise development, as well as acceleration programmes and events that include the Top Tech Tools for Women in Business.”

MEST is primarily focused on a youth (18-35) entrepreneurship training programme that puts talent and skills first.

“Our collaboration with Absa will see several enterprises in the Ghanaian entrepreneurial ecosystem receive skills training and insights in business and technology,” Ashwin Ravichandran, portfolio advisor at MEST, said.

“As always, we will continue to draw on the African-wide expertise of ecosystem enablers, governments, multilateral organisations, private sector and civil society to stimulate a thriving start-up ecosystem.”

Absa’s collaboration with Grindstone will provide entrepreneurs with the strategic, management and technical skills needed to scale up their businesses and improve their functioning and ensure they become more sustainable and fundable.

Grindstone Accelerator provides a structured entrepreneurship development programme, says Absa.

It adds the company believes entrepreneurs play a key role in solving some the challenges that exist in markets across the continent and are often the pioneers that create the new technologies and systems that bring change to society.

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