Lab Innovation by Societe Generale

Launched by Societe Generale in February 2016, this action "think tank" is an innovation incubator, especially dedicated to initiatives from Societe Generale’s African subsidiaries. It aims to equip them and to spur an innovation, collective intelligence, shared growth and experimentation culture.

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Interview with Florent Youzan, Director of the Societe Generale Innovation Lab in Dakar

“For this second edition of our Hackathon, we chose a name that reflects our vision of the African dynamism: "L'arbre à Palabres". It’s a traditional place where all of a village’s generations gather to discuss the main societal issues… a symbol of digital technology as a natural extension of social ties. Throughout the four days of this event, we studied a large number of high-quality projects. Most of them provided practical responses in everyday life, notably for small shopkeepers, who are the genuine economic lung of Africa. This highlights the role of innovation. These start-ups imagine new solutions that aim to make work easier, to make transactions more secure but also to help people communicate with each other – something they would never be able to do without these solutions.  They contribute to structuring and accelerating economic activity whilst respecting all economic players in a non-exclusive manner. In accordance with the Lab’s mission, the Hackathon helped promote promising projects. All of these informal discussions represent opportunities to boost already-solid business models and, most importantly, save precious time by anticipant pitfalls thanks to advice from experts. In this edition, we offered the winners an opportunity to participate in a Learning Expedition to Bangalore, which lies at the heart of global digital innovation. Here again discussions were extremely fruitful and we fully played our role as facilitators by connecting these entrepreneurs to a particularly innovative ecosystem. We have of course stayed in contact with all of these start-ups to help provide them with all the assets they need to succeed.”

Bridge Africa

Team MyJouleBox

MyJouleBox: leasing solar installations

Winner of the first edition of the “Bridge Africa” open innovation programme organised by Societe Generale, MyJouleBox supplies energy to households and small businesses in remote locations, thanks to its solar installations sold under a leasing arrangement.

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Team Weebi

Portrait of Weebi

The startup Weebi was ranked in the 1st place at the Hackathon. His project is a smart cash register helps shopkeepers monitor their business activity. In this testimony, the startup give feedback on the prospects of its project for the African continent.

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Cooffa: a smart cash register for retailers

The startup Cooffa was ranked 2nd at the "L'Arbres à Palabres" Hackathon. Ahmed-Medhi Omarouayache, founder of Cooffa, presents this project supporting African development and explains how the event helped boost their own strategy.

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Team Afrimalin

Afrimalin: a database of stakeholders involved in the informal economy

The startup Afrimalin was ranked in the 3rd place at "L'Arbres à Palabres" Hackathon. His project is a database of stakeholders involved in the informal economy, enabling us to digitalise data collection and redistribute savings via mobile money, using YUP, for example. Interview of Mamadou Niane, Co-Founder and Associate Director at Afrimalin.

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Dothan Group team

Dothan Group: a mobile app for simplified accounting

The startup Dothan Group had Special mention of the jury at "L'Arbres à Palabres" Hackathon. His project is a mobile app for simplified accounting. Interview of Fabrice Koffi, CEO at Dothan Group.

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