The Electronic Transactions Association recently announced the selection of two companies, Social Trade Organization (STRO) and MoWoza, as the winners of the 2014 E-Pay Innovation Awards funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The awards, which are presented at the ETA’s TRANSACT conference, recognize products that have the potential to provide services to the unbanked and underbanked. During the conference’s Payments Next Zone competition, 10 start-up companies were chosen to compete for a grand prize of $50,000.
STRO, which is based in the Netherlands, took home the grand prize for its Cyclos software that is used by financial institutions to develop currencies, exchanges and time banks.
MoWoza took home the second place prize of $20,000. Suzana Moreira, the founder of the company, which is based in South Africa, is working to build a virtual supply chain using existing social and business networks to formalize the process in sub-Saharan Africa, where 70 percent of retail is conducted through micro-retailers that use informal supply chains that are inefficient and rife with corruption.
“Although there could only be two winners, each of the E-Pay Award finalists showed promise and deserve mention,” Andrew Barnes, the managing director of emerging payments at Payment Week, an advisor to ETA, said in a blog post.