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Catalyst Fund announces pioneer members of its Circle of Corporate Innovators

The collaboration is looking to accelerate startup-corporate partnerships

Catalyst fund

Catalyst Fund, managed by BFA global, formally announced its Circle of Corporate Innovators. Sterling Bank, Ecobank, Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, and the VFD Group are the pioneer members. This network of prominent corporate innovators is prominent in emerging markets and has managed to partner with tens of startups in creating new digital products.

The Circle of Corporate Innovators is a global community of organizations such as banks,  telecommunication companies, logistics provides, and FMCGs that share the Catalyst Funds’ goals of developing inclusive tech innovations across emerging markets. The Circle looks to enhance corporate-startup partnerships, which helps in scaling while offering market leaders access to data on the last mile.

The Catalyst Fund will enhance the ability of corporate innovators to source, access, test, and develop new innovations for their customers across Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Mexico, and India.

Members of the Circle will receive support such as Access to vetted and de-risked startup partners from the Fund’s portfolio, a global tech industry landscape, innovation strategy development, custom toolkits that strengthen and streamline startup partnership processes, startup partnership workshops with Catalyst Fund experts, knowledge sharing roundtables, and support in developing de-risked partnerships with Catalyst Fund startups.

Startup-corporate partnerships

Already successful startup-corporate partnerships have been entered into with companies on the Catalyst Fund portfolio. Unilever partnered with East Africa startup Sokowatch to help them reach millions of new customers on Sokowatch’s extensive network of informal retailers.

Maelis Carraro, MD Catalyst Fund explained that the goal of the Circle of Corporate Innovators is to “facilitate and equip these partnerships” while equipping startups and innovators with tools and expertise required in discovering “ technical and commercial synergies.”

Nvalaye Kourouma, Chief Digital Officer at Ecobank, described the partnership with Catalyst Fund as “a major step”  for “productive engagement with startups and other stakeholders.” 

The Catalyst Fund has already taken off in its ecosystem acceleration with members of the Circle in the form of innovative diagnostic workshops, advice on partnership strategies, etc. The fund also has a Circle of Investors comprised of over 80 members.


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