After months of bootstrapping and getting their idea rejected. They decided to participate in a Startup weekend they didn’t win. Everyone was skeptic about their idea. But it didn’t keep them away from following their vision.
The concept at the time of the Startup Weekend was called ‘MamaPay’. Sinouhe & Stephane perceived that mobile money would transform the international money transfer market.
Now, you might be asking yourself. What is Mobile Money? Is it like Apple Pay or PayPal?
Well it isn’t anything like Apple Pay or PayPal. Mobile Money is a system that works on a basic feature phone provided by a telecom operator. For it to work, you don’t need internet or a Smartphone connected to 4G. You don’t need to plug a bank account or have access to an app. It’s just a simple phone that has the feature of a debit card.
Mobile Money allows people to do basic financial transactions with their phone. With it you can buy groceries, pay your bills and withdraw money at local agent shops.
Mobile money is a success story. It’s the bank account for the unbanked and now everyone uses mobile money in countries such as Kenya. Because of this service millions of people now have access to basic financial services. Today Mobile Money is available in more than 90 countries worldwide.
What will Ewala do?
Ewala wants to give remitters the option to transfer money from Belgian phones to any available mobile wallets in the world. This will significantly will reduce the cost of fees and make money transfers safer.
Our experience at the Microsoft Innovation Center Brussels
The experience was unique. We grew up professionally and as individuals. Getting trained at the Microsoft Innovation Center was fulfilling. Ewala would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for the MIC Bootcamp. We recommend the program for any entrepreneur who wants a challenge. If your idea isn’t picked for the program, don’t worry, just try again.
It’s worth the effort. At least it was for both of us. Now, it is time for us to deliver the best platform in the world. We want to give our special thanks to: Ben Piquard, Cécile Jabaudon, Silvia Soria & Jon Granadero and all the experts that helped us along the way for enriching us.
This was a wonderful experience.
The Ewala Team
Stephane hopes to cultivate and increase awareness to empower Africa’s youth. Being particularly fond of geopolitics and its complexities. He is also a big soccer fan, a real cinephile, enjoys reading books, live music and city trips whenever he has a chance.
I was born in Belgium and left the country when I was very young (6 years old) to the United States. I spent my childhood between North & South America (Guatemala & Colombia). After being a nomad for years, I moved to Rome, Italy where I had the opportunity travel around Europe while studying.