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Kenyan startup Money254 wins MIT FinTech Conference startup pitch competition

The MIT FinTech Conference, one of the world’s largest student-led conferences, brings together over 1,000 participants from over 60 countries to explore innovation and disruption in financial technology.

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The Money254 team

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) FinTech Conference has named Kenyan startup, Money254, as the grand prize winner of their 2022 FinTech Startup Pitch Competition.

Money254 is Kenya’s first financial services comparison platform, making it easier for users to find, compare and now, apply for financial products that match both their needs and eligibility. 

By combining independent financial product research with partnerships across leading institutions, Money254 users can search and apply for financial products such as personal loans, business loans, and savings accounts from a variety of leading banks, microfinance institutions, and digital apps – all from the comfort of their homes. 

The company was created in response to the incredible challenge of navigating financial product choice for Kenya’s 25 million financially included adults and 7.5 million business owners.

Finding accurate product information, as an individual, can be a challenging and time-consuming process, especially if you have to walk into each institution’s physical branch or download different apps to find it.

And even then you might not have the complete picture. Money254 solves this problem by aggregating and independently researching all the terms of over 300+ financial products to make sure the consumer has a complete picture. 

Money254 was chosen from among 8 finalists out of a long list of over 100 fintech startups globally, all of whom joined tech leaders at the MIT FinTech Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts to make their final pitch in front of a global audience and industry-leading judges in late February.

The conference culminated in the award ceremony for the FinTech Startup Pitch Competition, with Money254 being honoured as the winner, taking home the grand prize of $30,000.

This comes amid a busy period for the start-up, which just launched the ability for consumers to directly apply for a wide range of lending products, through the Money254 platform.

While accepting the prize, Money254 CEO and Co-Founder, Lorcan O Cathain, stated the recognition was a boost to the startup’s aim to help improve transparency in the financial services sector.  

“At Money254, we’re building a central place for Kenyans to learn about, manage and move their money between the financial institutions and products that make the most sense for them. We’re deeply humbled to receive this honour and excited for what the future holds for the company.”

Other finalists were Zumma, a Mexico-based community-focused digital wealth management platform; MiKashBoks, a Brooklyn-based peer-to-peer saving and lending platform; OpDeFi, a platform to invest in decentralized finance; CashEx, a digital banking platform for African immigrants; Finch, a New York-based current account balance investing platform; Bitadx, a cryptocurrency trading platform and Slyde, a US-based payment platform.

The MIT FinTech Conference, one of the world’s largest student-led conferences, brings together over 1,000 participants from over 60 countries to explore innovation and disruption in financial technology.

This 8th edition featured world-renowned academics and professionals such as Paulo Passoni, a Managing Investment Partner of SoftBank’s $5Bn LatAm Fund; Snejina Zacharia, founder and CEO of Insurify, David Green, the CEO of Earnest, the United States’ the largest financier of student loans and Neha Narula, the Director of the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT among others.

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Atheists fault petition seeking to deregister society

Atheists in Kenya have protested a petition that they say seeks to create a notion that Kenya is a nation by and for believers in God only.

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President of the Atheists in Kenya Society, Harrison Mumia

Atheists in Kenya have protested a petition that they say seeks to create a notion that Kenya is a nation by and for believers in God only.

Former Juja MP, Dr Stephen Ndichu has moved to court seeking to have the Atheists in Kenya Society suspended on grounds that its continued existence is unconstitutional.

In a statement, the society’s president, Harrison Mumia says the petition is an assault on religious freedom and an insult to the diversity of the Kenyan people.

“We find the petition repugnant to a good conscience,” he stated adding that Dr Ndichu is a Christian fundamentalist who seems to harbour paranoid fantasies about the dangers of atheists existing in Kenya.

He further accused Dr Ndichu of seeing enemies where there is none and that the society was surprised, but not shocked as religion has historically inhibited progress.

He vowed that the society would do everything within its power to defend its right to remain a registered society and urged Kenyans to support fighting the petition.

On Sunday, the society said it will be writing to President William Ruto seeking an invitation to State House, just like the evangelical denominations.

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Uhuru Gardens ready for Madaraka Day fete, says PS Kibicho

The principal secretary said they would be visiting the gardens every Thursday until June 1 to ensure all loose ends are tied up properly, promising that the celebrations will be very colourful.

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Madaraka Day

This year’s national Madaraka Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi County will be open to 30,000 people, up from 10,000 in 2021.

Permanent Secretary in the State Department for Interior, Dr Karanja Kibicho, said this follows the relaxation of COVID-19 containment measures.

“Children will also be allowed in on the celebrations this year, and we expect county celebrations to happen too,” the PS said while on an inspection tour of the venue.

The PS said the government decided to move the celebrations from the County rotational back to Nairobi because it will be the last event for the current administration before it exits office.

“Because of the significance of this particular Madaraka day, being the last for this regime, we decided to celebrate it at Uhuru Gardens to break the tradition of celebrating it in counties,”

He revealed that preparations were currently at 90 percent complete and expressed confidence that all will be set for the event as the country marks 59 years of self rule.

The principal secretary said they would be visiting the gardens every Thursday until June 1 to ensure all loose ends are tied up properly, promising that the celebrations will be very colourful.

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Queen Elizabeth mourns Kibaki as a great Statesman with commendable legacy

Kibaki will be buried at his home in Othaya, Nyeri County on Saturday.

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Queen Elizabeth II has mourned former President the late Mwai Kibaki eulogizing him as “a great statesman”.

“I was sorry to receive the news of the death of Mwai Kibaki. He had a lifelong record of service to the Kenyan people. It will be of deep sadness to your country to have lost a great statesman, but Kenya can take pride in the legacy of his leadership. I send you and the people of Kenya my condolences at this loss,” the message read.

The British High Commission further affirmed its close ties to Kenya and renewed its assurances to the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The British High Commission avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya the assurances of its highest consideration,” the High Commission said.

The late Kibaki passed away on 21 April 2022, aged 90.

President Uhuru, who issued a proclamation that he would be granted a state funeral with full civilian and military honours, announced his death.

Kibaki will be buried at his home in Othaya, Nyeri County on Saturday.

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