Korea from Cameroon Magalie Gauze-Sanga wins Ecobank Fintech Challenge 2023

(Togo First) – After Nigerian start-up Touch and Pay last year, it is Koree, a Cameroonian app that “allows people to get their change back”, who won the 6th edition of the Ecobank Fintech Challenge on Friday, October 6 in Lomé. Organized by the Ecobank banking group, this annual initiative aims to foster innovation in the financial technology sector in Africa. Led by its founder and CEO Magalia Gauze-Sang, Korea stood out among the more than 1,490 fintechs competing for this edition.

The app, which aims to solve the problem of currency shortages in Francophone Africa, was crowned the winner, followed by Makuta from the DRC and Flexpay from Kenya, who took second and third place. These three finalists were selected from eight contestants to the final stage and thus received checks for $50,000, $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.

what is korea

Korea’s vision is simple: to enable consumers to collect change from partner merchants directly on their mobile phone, eliminating the frustration associated with paper coupons. A direct response to the currency shortage problem often encountered in Francophone Africa. In addition, Korea is implementing a cashback system through which consumers receive a certain amount of money in return when they shop at these merchants. This cashback, which rewards customer loyalty, is credited to a digital loyalty card accessible through the Korea app. This allows users to accumulate money and use it for future purchases at partner merchants, giving them more flexibility and boosting financial inclusion.

Magalie Gauze-Sanga, the first woman to win this award

This is a first for a French-speaking start-up and for Cameroon. Magalie Gauze-Sanga, CEO of Korea, also becomes the first woman to win this award in the world of fintech, where female characters are extremely rare.

The young start-up is a graduate of the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and EM Lyon with a master’s degree in international economics and a master’s degree in management. She started her career as Regional Financial Services Manager at JumiaPay for West Africa before joining the African Women in Fintech & Payments network. She was also COO at Julaya and Head of Payments at Anka before forming Korea.

“I am very happy to win this challenge”rejoices the Cameroonian who, after failing to pass the selection phase last year, tried her luck again this year. “We applied last year, but unfortunately we were still in the early stages with a few months of existence and were not very successful, which blocked our path to selection. We’ve come back much more robust for this release”Gauze-Sanga confided.

Heading to the Ivory Coast

Korea, which is due to be deployed to Ivory Coast by the end of this year, plans to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the AFCON being held in the West African country. Currently, the app is present in around 40 stores, attracts more than 11,000 users and has digitized 40,000 cash transactions in Douala this year, says the founder. To support its development, the fintech recently managed to raise €20,000 from the Cameroon Angels Network (CAN) investor network.

As a reminder, Ecobank Fintech Challenge finalists are accepted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship program where they have the opportunity to explore agreements, integrations and business partnerships with the Ecobank Group.

Fiacre E. Kakpo

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