You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Fintech At The Forefront: PayFort Announces New MENA Accelerator At Wamda's 2016 Mix N' Mentor event in Cairo in March, online gateway PayFort announced the launch of its regional fintech accelerator Fintech Factory.

By Pamella de Leon

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Omar Soudodi, Managing Director, PayFort

According to The Economist, financial technology attracted US$12 billion in investments in 2014- so yes, the fintech revolution is coming and the Middle East is not falling behind. At Wamda's 2016 Mix N' Mentor event in Cairo in March, online gateway PayFort announced the launch of its regional fintech accelerator Fintech Factory.

Ignited by the increasing demand for fintech in the region, PayFort Managing Director Omar Soudodi says the accelerator was launched "in order for PayFort to continue meeting the demands of our merchants that use us across six markets in the region (and growing). We needed to innovate faster, and we realized we can't innovate fast enough alone, thus investing and collaborating with fintech startups will enable us to meet market demands faster." In the next couple of months, the first phase of companies will participate in the first run of the program.

Related: "It's Going To Be Much Easier To Be An SME" - Payfort Acquires White Payments

So what does it take to be eligible for the accelerator? Soudodi says that startups need to be in fintech and relevant to PayFort's merchant base, and that it's also open to SMEs in various business lifecycles from ideation to scaling and either pre-production to post production. And in return, what can prospective "treps expect from this accelerator? Startups can receive up to $100,000 during the first phase, with the opportunity to possibly receive additional funds through Fintech Factory's investment partners at later stages.

Soudodi also adds, "Startups will be undergoing the due diligence process, at which they will be receiving an analysis of their current readiness from regulatory, commercial, marketing, financial, operational and technical [level] that will become their roadmap while interacting with Fintech Factory coaches- either PayFort personnel or Fintech Factory Advisors."

Participants will also be able to access PayFort's bank and merchant networks around the region. The accelerator is planning to onboard banks "that are willing to work with fintech startups," and advisors from PayFort and experts from M&A, VC, regulatory and other industries and skills to support startups. Though the fintech accelerator would only intake between three and four startups per year, Soudodi assures us that they will constantly be on the lookout for startups and ideas that "solve a problem in this space, [and] display high relevancy in fulfilling a certain demand."

Related: Ten Technology Trends That (Might) Change Our World In 2016

Pamella de Leon

Startup Section Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Pamella de Leon is the Startup Section Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East. She is keen on the MENA region’s entrepreneurship potential, with a specific interest to support enterprises and individuals creating an impact.

Side Hustle

This Insurance Agent Started a Side Hustle Inspired By Nostalgia for His Home State — Now It Earns Nearly $40,000 a Month

After moving to New York City, Danny Trejo started a business to stay in touch with his roots — literally.

Business News

Side Hustles Are Soaring as Entrepreneurs Start Businesses Working Part- or Full-Time Elsewhere, According to a New Report

The younger the entrepreneur, the more likely they were to start a business as a side hustle.

Starting a Business

Startup Spotlight: UAE-Based Below Farm's Locally Cultivated Mushrooms Aid The Country's Circular Economy Goals

Produced with no pesticides or fertilizers, Below Farm uses fully automated controlled environment systems, adopting an indoor vertical farming technique that requires minimal space, and can be set up anywhere, effectively negating the need for arable land.

Thought Leaders

5 Success Tips for the Serial Entrepreneur Entering a New Industry

Before you do things your own way, be certain you understand why people in the business do it their way.