A few weeks after expanding into the UK, Kora has been announced as one of the Commonwealth-sourced foreign direct investment (FDI) projects for the West Midlands.
The pan-African infrastructure company was named alongside India’s first credit platform, The Disposal Company. Both Commonwealth-sourced investments have been secured as a direct result of the Global Growth Programme, a new UK government-backed support package for international companies looking to grow in the UK. The programme will provide Kora and The Disposal Company with a package of free support, including office space at Bruntwood SciTech’s Innovation Birmingham campus.
Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said that "these valuable Commonwealth-sourced investments are a sign that the Global Growth Programme is already bearing fruit, underlining Birmingham’s position as an international business hub. I have no doubt that Kora and The Disposal Company will thrive in our city and I look forward to many more growing enterprises choosing to base their UK headquarters here."
The West Midlands Global Growth Programme is part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Business and Tourism Programme (BATP) - the first economic legacy programme of its kind aligned to the Commonwealth Games and is designed to strengthen bilateral ties between the UK and other Commonwealth markets.
"We already have free trade agreements with 33 Commonwealth nations, and additional ones that we are currently negotiating will unlock fresh opportunities for further collaboration, particularly in the green industries that are priorities for the UK and our Commonwealth partners," Andrew Griffith MP, UK Minister for Exports said. "I’m so pleased to share these new investments, a direct result of the Global Growth Programme, which has helped to showcase the potential of the West Midlands for businesses to invest in."
In pursuit of its mission to enable payments across, into and outside of Africa, the West Midlands office will be Kora’s first European presence. The Techstars-backed company has chosen Birmingham as the location for its first UK sales and support office due to the city’s established fintech and banking ecosystem and its rich tech-oriented talent pool.
"Marking our first ever European investment, the launch of our new Birmingham office is a major milestone for Kora. The region’s extensive pipeline of tech talent and strong track record in FinTech and banking will support us in enabling more businesses and individuals to use our innovative payments infrastructure," Gideon Orovwiroro, Chief Operating Officer at Kora said in a statement shared with Benjamindada.com.
Related Article: How Kora’s UK expansion will impact Africa’s payment ecosystem
We previously reported that Kora partnered with the Birmingham City Council to power its UK expansion via the West Midlands Growth Company.
"Kora’s expansion into the UK is considered an FDI because we’re a Canadian headquartered fintech starting a UK entity, setting up new offices, building, hiring teams and pursuing business opportunities in the UK for our African target market," Orvwiroro told Benjamindada.com. "This type of investment directly contributes to the capital formation through new capital expenditures, increases the output and generates employment and other benefits."
Our expansion into the UK is an FDI (foreign direct investment) because we are making investments in the economy that will generate jobs in the UK economy. — Gideon Orovwiroro
He added that African merchants will be able to access foreign payments channels and foreign merchants will more easily access African economies with Kora as a conduit of all that value.
Founded in 2018 by Dickson Nsofor and Bryan Uyanwune, Kora was built to help Africans in the diaspora make remittances into the continent. However, the company pivoted to build a robust payment infrastructure that empowers businesses to accept and make payments and convert currency across multiple channels. Currently, companies like GiG, Juice Africa, dLocal, and PayFuture already use Kora's bouquet of products to power their African operations.
Kora choose Birmingham as the location for its first UK sales and support office due to its established FinTech and banking ecosystem and tech-oriented talent pool. Kora will leverage West Midland’s significant and diverse economy, covering; investment and corporate banking, commercial and retail finance, insurance, and global advisory economy to deliver payment services to African businesses.