Equity Bank and Tech: Incubation or Financing?

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A few weeks ago, I attended Pivot 25 conference, a very interesting was to expose Kenyan start-ups and innovations to opportunities both local and abroad. It was nice to see people asking tough questions and realistic ones at that.

One of the guests was Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi and of the many things he said, one captivated me. He said that Equity was in the process or is intending to open an incubation center.

It made me think; if Mwangi was such a believer in Kenyan tech innovation, at this stage, where do we need him, at the incubation space or funding?

Its great to have an incubation center, we need more of those but I think Mwangi missed a mark, I wish he would have started a special funding mechanism within Equity, to fund small tech companies, and show the belief he has.

There is no doubt that Equity has set banking trends; its only after they simplified bank opening procedures and targeted the lowest end that other banks took notice and started easier processes. I can imagine if Equity was to advertise their fund for tech companies, it will make other banks take notice.

I am not by any chance saying that Equity should be doing techies any favors; I just think it would be a better move than the incubation center.

Equity can be the financial partner for the existing incubation facilities where vetting is done and deserving cases are referred to the bank. That way, other banks will maybe stop insisting on land title deeds as collateral.

Its great that Mwangi wants to milk every coin from 7 million customers at Equity; from accounts, loans business incubation to data center services but I think he should consult the tech industry on where there is a dire need; is it incubation or financing?

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