Meet Team Kwara: Catalyst Fund Interns

Lewis Kang'ethe Ngugi

Team Kwara

Ever wondered what it is like to be an intern at Kwara? Kwara interns contribute directly to the company’s future, its growth, and work to strengthen existing cooperative financial institutions that serve the 3 billion un- and underbanked people in emerging markets. 

Our partnership with Catalyst Fund enabled our participation into the Inclusive Fintech Internship Programme that attracted talent to Kwara. This was to demonstrate and promote the viability of careers in inclusive fintech in emerging markets during the Covid-19 pandemic. The internship is a collaborative project between the Catalyst Fund and the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. 

We currently have four Catalyst Fund Fintech Internship Program interns working to support our team on different fronts: Edwin in Data Analysis, Renata in Growth Marketing, Kelvis in Videography and Mary in Business Development. Fun fact, the onboarding process was remote and we now see our team growing in different parts of the world, including the United States and the United Kingdom. Our Head of Operations, David Hwan, is a strong champion of this great opportunity for students and Kwara, and had this to say about the program:

"Catalyst Fund has provided Kwara with the most important soil for growth: talented, ambitious team members who drive our mission forward through hard work and bright ideas."

David HwanCo-founder and Head of Operations of KwaraJoin Team Kwara
David Hwan, Portrait smiling

Meet Our Catalyst Fund Intern, Edwin

  • Graduation Year: 2020
  • University: Carnegie Mellon University Africa
  • Area of Study: Electrical and Computer Engineering, Majoring in Machine Learning and Signal Processing
  • Location: Kigali, Rwanda

What were you doing before joining Kwara?

I had just graduated from Carnegie Mellon University Africa in Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Why have you decided to join Kwara?

I was taken in by the Catalyst Fund Inclusive Fintech Program and I love Kwara since the company is dealing with the digitization of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs). Having worked in the banking sector in the past, it gave me confidence and familiarity in what Kwara is offering to the sector.

What excites you the most about Kwara?

Kwara is made up of a diverse team that creates opportunities to have a wide range of learning opportunities.

What did you enjoy the most about your first week in Kwara?

The warm reception.

"I was taken in by the Catalyst Fund Inclusive Fintech Program and I love Kwara since the company is dealing with the digitization of SACCOs. Having worked in the banking sector in the past, it gave me confidence and familiarity in what Kwara is offering to the sector."

Edwin MukhebiData Analyst Intern at Kwara

Meet Our Catalyst Fund Intern, Renata

  • Graduation Year: 2020
  • University: Cambridge
  • Area of study: MBA
  • Residency: Cambridge, United Kingdom

What were you doing before joining Kwara?

Before joining Kwara, I was completing my MBA programme at Cambridge Judge Business School. I chose to follow the entrepreneurship concentration because I am interested in learning more about the startup scene and also developing my initiative, discipline and resilience skills. 

Why have you decided to join Kwara?

First I was looking for a high growth fintech company to join since I believe fintech can have a highly positive impact in society. I learned about Kwara from the Catalyst Fund, which has a partnership with the Cambridge Centre of Alternative Finance. I decided to join Kwara because the company has an amazing mission that inspires me: Kwara’s mission is to “strengthen the existing member-based financial institutions that serve the 3 billion un- and underbanked people in emerging markets”.

What excites you the most about Kwara?

What excites me the most about Kwara is the growth potential that the company shows. There are infinite opportunities for banking platforms as a service for cooperatives, and I see Kwara dominating this market worldwide. 

What did you enjoy the most about your first week in Kwara?

The culture! Everyone is extremely open, patient and organized. These aspects made my onboarding easier and smoother.

"I decided to join Kwara because the company has an amazing mission that inspires me: Kwara’s mission is to strengthen the existing member-based financial institutions that serve the 3 billion un- and underbanked people in emerging markets”.

Renata DouekGrowth Marketing Intern at Kwara

Meet Our Catalyst Fund Intern, Kelvis

  • Graduation Year: 2016
  • University: Multimedia University of Kenya
  • Area of Study: Mass Communication
  • Residency: Nairobi, Kenya

What were you doing before joining Kwara?

Before joining Kwara, I had been undertaking a Digital Marketing Internship at Cytonn Investments. This is a position that acted as an eye-opener in my professional world as it really changed my perspective and even prompted me to take a short course in digital marketing just to acquaint myself more with what it entails.

Why have you decided to join Kwara?

Kwara poses an opportunity that I would like to pursue to not only sharpen even more my skills in videography but also get to know more about Fintech as an industry leader.

What excites you the most about Kwara?

As it is now, especially with the COVID19 crisis ravaging the global economies, Fintech is an industry that has stood out despite the tough economic climate. I would wish to know more about Fintech as an industry and learn about its operations. Kwara also has quite a young enthusiastic staff that am so excited to work with.

What did you enjoy the most about your first week in Kwara?

The week was great. I generally enjoyed the interactions with the staff and the warm welcome that I have received from them. I feel so belonging and am super excited to be part of the Kwara team!

"Kwara poses an opportunity that I would like to pursue to not only sharpen even more my skills in videography but also get to know more about Fintech as an industry leader."

Kelvis WanjiaVideographer Intern at Kwara
Kelvis Wanjia, videographer intern, Team Kwara

Meet Our Catalyst Fund Intern, Mary

  • Graduation Year: 2020
  • University: Columbia University
  • Area of Study: MBA
  • Residency: New York City, USA

What were you doing before joining Kwara?

I was working in Africa for 5 years at a real-estate company as a founding member responsible for project management, strategy formulation and business development. After that, I took an MBA at Columbia University in New York with a passion for consulting, tech and Venture Capital. 

Why have you decided to join Kwara?

I think Kwara is doing something very interesting and impactful, by digitally empowering SACCOs for better and greater financial inclusion. The model itself, with flexible integration and variation and scalability, is economically sustainable and strategically defensible. Moreover, the team is amazing. Plus my passion for emerging markets, Kwara just seems to be the right place for me. 

What excites you the most about Kwara?

I am super excited about Kwara’s growth potential in new markets particularly ASEAN and its entry into these markets in the near future. I feel very happy to be part of it. 

What did you enjoy the most about your first week in Kwara?

The onboarding training is superb. I also quite enjoyed working with my supervisor, very supportive and helpful with direct feedback. Though working remotely, I have a sense of belonging to the team because of the training and talks. 

"I think Kwara is doing something very interesting and impactful, by digitally empowering SACCOs for better and greater financial inclusion. The model itself, with flexible integration and variation and scalability, is economically sustainable and strategically defensible."

Mary MaBusiness Development Intern at Kwara

We’re proud to welcome interns to Kwara each year. If you’re a student that’s interested in learning more about either of our internship programs or applying to be an intern next year, just keep an eye out for listings here.

Become a part of our team

We are always on the look-out for smart, enthusiastic people to come help us build the best SACCO product in the world!

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