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Validate your Fintech Venture Idea & Transform the Lives of Millions in East Africa

Break into the booming “Silicon Savanna” and validate your bold solution to drive financial inclusion in Tanzania and Kenya


Pears Challenge: Validate is a prestigious program for early-stage fintech ventures targeting emerging markets. Test your start-up idea in the market destination and gain access to invaluable business insights, startup grants, mentorship, and travel to Africa - all equity free!

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Fast track your Validation process

Sub-Saharan Africa’s booming fintech sector is waiting for you! BCG reports that Africa leads the world in fintech growth and is projected to experience 13x growth over the next decade to reach $65B in revenue by 2030!

Join a distinguished cohort of fintech entrepreneurs passionate about creating lasting impact where it's needed the most. Develop your innovative startup and drive financial inclusion and economic opportunity for millions in East Africa.

As a Pears Challenge: Validate Participant, you get access to:


Startup grants


Mentorship from experts


Validation trip to East Africa

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Network of local partners


Feedback for fast iteration from the field


Acceleration and fundraising opportunities

About the Program

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During the selection process, we identify exceptional early stage ventures and fintech startup ideas looking to validate their concept in East Africa.


Ideal candidates have an existing venture idea (ranging from concept to MVP) that targets emerging markets and has a strong impact mission. We are looking for venture ideas backed by personal expertise, professional background or deep research. 

We look for open-minded, impact-oriented, and experienced professionals who are ready to validate their idea and take it to the next level.

We seek out equal gender representation and diversity in our cohorts and encourage applications from people of all ages, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds.

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Building Scalable, Financially Viable Digital Solutions to Drive Financial Inclusion in East Africa

East Africa is experiencing a major revolution in digital finance. Dubbed the “Silicon Savanna”, the financial services sector is in the midst of a rapid transformation, giving millions of previously excluded people access to savings, credit, and opportunities for personal and economic mobility.

Historically, financial services in Africa have been inaccessible to most people due to high fees, a lack of physical infrastructure and geographical constraints. In recent years, the COVID pandemic has sped up digital adoption and accelerated the already growing trend of mobile penetration. These exciting developments have laid the groundwork for a revolution in digital finance.

According to the World Bank Group, financial inclusion is key to reducing extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. African governments as well as private sector players are focused on expediting access to financial infrastructure to allow millions of people to participate in the formal economy.

Pears Challenge: Validate is your gateway to this emerging landscape of opportunity and a chance to validate your venture in  a market with a strong appetite for innovation and new technologies. It is also an opportunity to have a large scale and transformational change on the lives of millions of underbanked people.

This is your chance to:

Disrupt East Africa’s digital finance industry

Bring Israel’s cutting edge tech and creativity to improve economic opportunity for millions of underbanked people

Collaborate with local partners & innovators

Learn from mentors and local experts, and collaborate with inspiring peers to develop your disruptive technology

Gain invaluable market insights

Get a competitive advantage with insight into digital finance trends in Kenya and Tanzania and partnership opportunities

Travel to East Africa for market validation

Access an invaluable opportunity to validate your assumptions and test product-market fit in East Africa


East Africa: Break Into the New Frontier in Digital Finance 

Here’s what makes Kenya and Tanzania ideal markets for your new fintech venture:

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Leverage the revolutionary power of mobile money

In the 2021 GSMA State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money, Africa accounted for 64% of all mobile money transactions globally!

Going cashless has enabled people to get around issues that have plagued the continent’s financial institutions such as verifying transactions, reducing the high cost of printing and transporting currency, dealing with fraud and theft, and helping to curtail money laundering. 

Pears Challenge: Validate Global Partners



Pears Challenge Alumni

The last five cohorts of the Pears Challenge have created over a dozen new companies and raised over $21.4M in grants, seed financing and contracts and piloted technologies in markets across five continents, affecting the lives of individuals and communities in Angola, Nigeria, South Africa Tanzania, Zimbabwe Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Ghana, Israel, India, Taiwan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Japan, Brazil, Ecuador, USA, Canada, Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Lithuania and Romania.

Browse Pears Challenge Alumni Ventures

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Design and R&D company specializing in solutions for people with disabilities

Cassit is moving into the Kenyan market with a line of affordable hand supports, enabling disabled Kenyans to use their hands for work, study and self care. 

Our alumni have partnered with

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Israeli Companies Revolutionizing FinTech


Founded in 2016, Fido is an Israeli-Ghanaian company building an automatic banking platform based on unique risk management and machine learning models that give people credit insights, estimate risk and identify fraud

What’s cool about it: Fido enables customers with no financial history or access to banking credit decisions on the spot. The “Fido Score” empowers customers to build and maintain a digital track record, making them visible to the financial system. The app is available throughout Africa and serves over 600,000 customers, distributing over $300 M worth of credit.

Read More

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who is the program for?
    The program is for early stage ventures and fintech startup ideas looking to validate their concept in East Africa. Ideal applicants have an existing venture idea ranging from theoretical concept to MVP that targets emerging markets and has a strong impact mission. We are looking for venture ideas backed by personal expertise, professional background, or deep research. We look for open-minded, impact-oriented, and experienced professionals/teams who are ready to validate their idea and take it to the next level. We seek out equal gender representation and diversity in our cohorts and encourage applications from people of all ages, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds.
  • When does the program run?
    The program is an in-person staged process taking place in Tel Aviv, Israel over a period of three months, followed by a two-week field validation trip to East Africa. The Bootcamp runs from March 25-April 12, 2024 Field Preparation sessions will take place from May 5 until June 7, 2024 The Field Validation trip to East Africa will take place in summer 2024 The majority of sessions will be held one full work day a week at our office in Tel Aviv. Participants are expected to attend a minimum of 80% of the sessions and must be able to arrive in Tel Aviv in person.
  • Is there a program fee associated with Pears Challenge?
    A symbolic commitment fee of 1200 NIS is required for participation in Pears Challenge: Validate. Ventures that complete the Israel-based program and are eligible for the field validation trip will access: A sponsored validation trip to East Africa (The Pears Progam will cover flight, accommodation, insurance, and transportation; participants will participate in some of the trip costs estimated at around 1500-2500 NIS, including meals and other small trip related expenses). A 25,000 NIS Mini Grant for product development Bespoke support from the Pears Program team, for the year following the validation trip Continued access to Pears Program’s network of mentors, experts, partners, and investors
  • Can I still work while participating in Pears Challenge: Validate?
    Pears Challenge: Validate is an immersive program designed for innovators who are dedicated to pursuing their venture idea and developing it into a successful startup. However, the program acknowledges that early-stage venture developers have other commitments and holds the flexibility to address that. Most sessions and workshops wil; take place one day per week with the exception of the first two weeks of the intensive learning bootcamp and the weeks before the validation trip to East Africa in June. We are looking for entrepreneurs who are looking to transition into working on their startup full time as the program progresses.
  • Does the Pears Challenge take any equity in my venture?
    No. All of the support, mentorship, connections, and advising that you receive as a participant are provided with no expectation of equity in your start-up.
  • If I already have a venture idea or a working product, is the program right for me?
    Pears Challenge: Validate accepts a range of venture stages- from well-researched groundbreaking concepts all the way to a prototype, MVP or early working product stages. Whether you are looking to validate your assumptions, test your concept, or trial your product in real conditions, Pears Challenge: Validate is your opportunity to move to the next level. If you are passionate about creating meaningful impact through innovative technology-driven business, contact us or fill in the application form below. Our team will be in touch with you to discuss the program and whether it is relevant to you.
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Applications for Pears Challenge: Validate are now closed...

We'd still love to hear from you! Get in touch with us if you are interested in joining one of our future programs.

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