Patrick Djondo, Beninese pride among more than 21,000 African candidates – Matin Libre

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Expert in consumer protection of financial services, he has worked for 18 years in the financial sector on the themes of Inclusive and Responsible Financing, Customer Centered and on Environmental and Social Management Systems. Thus he had the opportunity to work with fifty decentralized financial systems, commercial banks and regulators in a dozen countries in Africa. His name, Patrick Romaric Djondo. He is the founder and CEO of Djondo Management & Development (DMD Sarl) and SATIS FINTECH SA, two companies based in Cotonou and specialized in handling complaints related to the use of digital financial services. Since 2015, the two companies have been engaged in the design and development of web and mobile applications and analytics services using artificial intelligence, business intelligence and data science capabilities that globally provide voice to the consumer and help businesses and organizations turn complaints into opportunities to improve their products, processes and services. Your newspaper Matin Libre and its website www.matinlibre.com spotlight this Beninese who is proudly representing his country, Benin, in an online competition called Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH), 2022 edition. From 21,000 at the start, the 50 Competition finalists were announced on 1 August. At the end of August, the jury will announce the top 20 and in October the top 10 will be known before the grand finale, where each of the top ten will present their project live to international celebrities from the business world to win the planned prize.

Tell us how you feel as an “ambassador” today at this stage of the Africa’s Business Heroes competition?

ABH celebrates the ingenuity of the African entrepreneur: African solutions to African problems, taking into account the unique conditions of our continent. In this pan-African initiative, I am proud to carry the voice of Benin. It is true that this is a competition, but the most important thing for me is the opportunity to present my contribution, the voice of Benin, to solve the difficulties faced by African companies. I hope that next year the competition will be able to expand even more and that Benin will have more than one ambassador! To have been selected from more than 21,000 candidates from 54 African countries is extremely encouraging. Being part of the Top50 is a source of pride for me and my colleagues. But this is only the beginning. In this regard, I would like to share with you a very beautiful thought, which I have literally adopted for a few years and which I tirelessly repeat to my colleagues at DMD and SATIS FINTECH: “The question is not knowing where we are going. The question is how far we can go. And we can go far. We have to go very far. We are so far behind in Africa that we cannot afford to get a few victories and be complacent. I will not tell my story and maybe make people feel sad. I want to tell the dream that I wake up to every day and make people’s eyes shine. That our solutions are currently in 14 countries in Africa, used by organizations that serve more than 10 million consumers, does not satisfy me yet. I want to impact the lives of 300 million African consumers. In this moment and only in this moment, I really want to tell you the feeling that animates me.

Exactly, tell us about this competition in detail.

The Africa’s Business Heroes Award competition https://www.africabusinessheroes.org/en/ is the flagship philanthropic initiative led by the Jack Ma Foundation to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs in all sectors and build a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future of the continent. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation, created the award after taking his first trip to Africa in 2017 and being inspired by the energy and entrepreneurial potential of the young people he met. The first edition took place in 2019; 2022 is the 4th edition. Over a ten-year period, ABH will reward 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to providing grants, training programs and support for the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Each year, ABH’s competition and show features ten finalists who pitch their business to win a share of the $1.5 million grant. The initiative aims to be as inclusive as possible. Applications are open in English and French to entrepreneurs from 54 African countries, from all sectors and of all ages, who run officially registered businesses headquartered in an African country and who have three years of experience. Finalists are selected after demonstrating that they are visionary entrepreneurs who embody innovation, resilience, growth potential and impact on Africa. Ultimately, ABH seeks people who create positive change in the communities in which they operate and who use innovative solutions to solve difficult and relevant problems and specific market gaps. The application process takes place in four phases. Once an application is submitted, it goes through a screening process to ensure that the applicant meets all the eligibility criteria. If it passes the eligibility check, the entry will be reviewed by the judges in the first round to determine the top 50, and their average score will determine the results. Successful applicants advance to the second round, where they are presented in video interviews in front of two established business leaders who engage them in in-depth evaluation and discussion of the presented ideas. The average score of the 50 finalists determines the top 20. The third stage is due diligence, where the 18 candidates with the highest scores must pass a due diligence check carried out by a third party. Finally, the top 15 contestants who have passed the due diligence check advance to the semi-finals. In the fourth and final round, the 15 shortlisted finalists will pitch their projects to a panel of prominent and experienced investors, business leaders and professionals who will decide the top 10 finalists. Finalists who place in the top 10 are selected to compete in ABH’s final competition, streamed online and across the continent, competing for a share of the $1.5 million grant. They also have access to a community of leaders and entrepreneurs to leverage shared community expertise. 1st Prize Winner: $300,000 2nd Prize Winner: $250,000 Third Prize: $150,000 Other Top 10 Finalists (7): $100,000 Each of the top 10 contestants will receive $10,000 to be used for the Global Immersion Training Program.

Is this your first participation? And did you receive any support from your home country?

This is my first participation in ABH. I heard about ABH through a platform I signed up for last March and was impressed with the application questionnaire. Not only is it very well developed with instructions, examples and even encouragement, but in addition the questions are extraordinarily challenging. There are gut-wrenching questions that have forced me to question myself and rethink the business and my practice as an entrepreneur. Completing the questionnaire and submitting your application is already a small victory in itself! I did not get support from my country for the simple reason that I did not ask. Today, in Benin there are state structures that support the Beninese, that stand out and that help to reveal Benin to the world. The same question about support was put to me when, last April, SATIS FINTECH was the only company from French-speaking Africa selected among the top 10 in the AFI Inclusive Fintech Showcase 2022, which “represents the most promising digital solutions in the world that improve access, use and quality of formal financial services for low-income populations in developing countries and emerging markets” (AFI brings together central banks and regulators from 89 countries, including African countries, China, Brazil, Russia, etc. I believe that before I ask for any kind of for support, you must first do something yourself. There is a saying in the Fon language (mainly in southern Benin) that says: “Before you ask for help to put a burden on your head, you must lift it yourself I am in this dynamic, as a consultant and trainer, I have had the opportunity to collaborate since 2009 on many two entrepreneur support programs, and I could realize that those who start with support without being able to do anything on own hand, not getting very far. I believe that this ability to find the necessary resources to at least trigger the realization of one’s dream is part of the definition of a hero according to ABH, and these are probably the kind of people who constitute heroes and can inspire others to work towards changing things, to positively affect Africa and Africans, to improve our world. Now that we are beginning to demonstrate what we are capable of, support that can help us reach more countries, businesses and consumers and realize our vision of being the pan-African specialist in electronic complaint handling is welcome. .

Your last word

The ABH program is an extraordinary initiative that responds to a real need in our countries: the need for heroes. Young entrepreneurs need role models, examples of people who have been successful in entrepreneurship, making money and at the same time making themselves useful to their communities. Not people who have enriched themselves illegally. I hope that next to this initiative by Jack Ma, from the Tony Elumelu Foundation program, other programs led by African entrepreneurs will see the light of day. I hope that in ten years I will be able to return the favor by helping other heroes.

Interview conducted by Jacques BOCO

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