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Fortune: Most Power Women Fintech Interview with Ovamba Co-Founder Viola Llewellyn

Meet the innovative Viola Llewellyn who leads the Fintech conversation across the African continent and for women in Fintech. She needs little introduction for those in the industry but those not in the know she is co-founder of Ovamba who provide short-term capital to micro, small and medium sized businesses in Africa, emerging markets and the GCC for trade, inventory purchases and growth. Viola co-founded Ovamba in 2013 in the US with Marvin Cole,  they saw an opportunity to help empower fellow entrepreneurs in Africa and the Middle East by providing them with the access to finance needed in order to flourish their businesses. The problem they were solving was twofold; firstly, banks were slow and ill-equipped to adapt to meet the demands of fast moving African small businesses; and secondly, banks’ limited due diligence procedures made it hard for entrepreneurs with no previous track record to get started.
Marvin and Viola decided to combine their experience of the finance and technology sectors and build a platform that would offer fast access to business growth support delivered via mobile phone.
In 2014, Ovamba attracted significant investment from UK-based GLI Finance, whose backers include Blackrock Global, AXA Investment Managers and Barclays Wealth. Ovamba then set up its first operations in Cameroon – a country with over 200 local languages, Muslim and Christian communities, and an economy almost entirely comprised of SMEs. It was the perfect place to prove the model. Viola is accolades include: being listed in the “Digital Undivided Report” as one of only 34* Black women in the USA to have raised more than $1 million for a technology company. This was featured in the April issue of Vanity Fair Magazine. She is listed on Innovate Finance’s 2016 & 2017 “Women in FinTech Power List”, and on “The Innov8tiv’s Top 50 Visionary Women in Tech To Watch in 2017” list. she is the first Female African Tech Founder to speak at both “Slush”, Helsinki and “Slush, Tokyo” – yearly events billed as the biggest gathering of innovators, funders, startups and entrepreneurs in Europe and Asia respectively. In late 2018, she did a TED Talk as part of the “Reboot” Series with Boston Consulting Group. Alt spoke to the visionary business leader at the recent  FORTUNE Most Powerful Women International Summit in London which is billed as  an unparalleled opportunity to connect with female change makers in the U.K., Europe, and beyond to exchange ideas and forge new alliances. It took place  3-4 June 2019 at the beautiful Rosewood Hotel. The 2019 Fortune MPW theme is Leading Together.

Watch the interview here:

Viola Llewellyn was part of a panel called Africa’s NextGen Changemakers on 3rd June.
Discussing the innovation revolution on the continent which is creating uniquely African opportunities within its tech-savvy 52 countries and its increasingly global-minded consumers.
Mobile telephony has had a massive impact on economies in Africa, creating a phase of African made and led companies leading the continent’s technology revolution. With the explosion in mobile phones and banking, the dream of a cashless and digital society is pushing entrepreneurs to dream big and dream global. The hope that the internet will have a transformative impact is attracting even global Tech giants to the continent’s pioneering environment. But, how can Africa and its entrepreneurs ensure progress is inclusive and innovation helps entire segments of the population still struggling to fulfill basic needs?
The panel also included: Nunu Ntshingila, Head of Africa, Facebook

Moderator: Michal Lev-Ram, FO

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