How Nigeria’s Betapawa is addressing financial inclusion via solar-powered banking

Nigerian startup Betapawa has developed an innovative solar-powered banking solution to address issues around financial inclusion in off-grid communities.

Founded in 2022, Betapawa specialises in deploying solar-powered banking hubs to provide financial inclusion, sustainable energy solutions, and connectivity, and empower underserved communities.

Its solution that integrates renewable energy, customises services for local needs, and brings mobile banking directly to communities therefore supporting economic growth and scalability. The hubs serve as multifunctional centres delivering various services, including electricity access, internet connectivity, financial services, education, and healthcare support.

“The market gap we identified was the lack of comprehensive, community-focused solutions for off-grid and underserved regions capable of driving and scaling financial inclusion. This gap stemmed from inadequate access to electricity, the internet, and essential services in many remote areas. We saw an opportunity to bridge these gaps with sustainable, solar-powered hubs,” Samuel Ajisebutu, Betapawa’s CEO, told Disrupt Africa.

The startup has yet to raise any funding, though it was recently selected to take part in the latest edition of Startupbootcamp AfriTech’s ASIP accelerator programme. It is in the market for investment currently, but Ajisebutu said it had nonetheless achieved some “significant milestones”, including successful pilot projects and recognition for its innovative approach.

“The uptake of our solar-powered hubs has been promising. We have been able to deploy proof-of-concept hubs for healthcare providers and the host communities that lacked access to reliable electricity and vital services have benefited significantly,” he said. 

Betapawa currently operates in Nigeria, with plans to reach more underserved areas in the country and explore opportunities in other Sub-Saharan African countries. The company generates revenue through pay-as-you-go fees for energy and connectivity subscriptions, and rental fees paid by fintech partners who leverage the hubs to extend their services to the target communities. Ajisebutu said revenues have been steadily increasing as the company expands its reach.

Betapawa has encountered challenges in terms of funding and scaling. 

“Ensuring long-term sustainability and building strong community relationships are important for us,” Ajisebutu said. “Overall, we are a pioneering company that combines renewable energy, technology, and social impact to address critical challenges faced by off-grid and underserved communities, ultimately contributing to economic development and improved quality of life.”