The 37th Virtual International Selection Panel (ISP), held May 22-24, 2023, concluded with the selection of 11 new high-impact entrepreneurs representing six firms from five markets, including Nigeria’s Zone founders, Obi Emetarom, Emeka Emetarom, and Wale Onawunmi.

Endeavor is the world’s largest network of high-impact entrepreneurs. The global organization, founded in 1997, is driven by a vision to unleash the transformative force of entrepreneurship by selecting, supporting, and investing in the world’s greatest founders.

Endeavor established its Nigeria office in 2018 to identify and support the greatest founders of firms in the scale-up and development stages who recognize the importance of paying it forward and multiplying their influence in Nigeria’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Zone (formerly Appzone) is a regulated blockchain network that facilitates payments (through connecting banks and fintechs) and digital currency acceptance. After obtaining a switching and processing license from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Zone became Africa’s first regulated blockchain-powered payment network.

Zone’s blockchain-powered payment infrastructure enables member institutions to communicate directly with one another and conduct payment transactions without the need for a middleman, while totally automating settlement, reconciliation, and dispute resolution.

In November 2022, the company broke off its old Banking as a Service business, becoming a new corporation known as Qore, while shifting its focus to become a pure-play Payment Infrastructure company known as Zone.

Qore is Appzone’s heritage banking-as-a-service platform, which helps African financial institutions achieve digitization and service automation. It is now used by over 600 people across 7 African countries have financial institutions. Emeka Emetarom is the CEO of Qore, while Obi Emetarom and Wale Onawunmi are the CEO and CTO of Zone, respectively.

Obi Emetarom, Co-founder and CEO of Zone, commented on their inclusion in the global network, saying, “Joining the Endeavor network underscores our unwavering commitment to reshaping Africa’s payments landscape.” From our first meeting, the network’s mission to support entrepreneurs struck a chord with us. As we aspire to provide dependable, frictionless, and universally interoperable payments to Financial Service Providers in Africa and beyond, Endeavor’s platform will greatly accelerate our growth and expand our reach.”

“We’re thrilled to be part of this prestigious global community,” says Wale Onawunmi, Zone’s Co-founder and CTO. Collaboration and shared learning are essential components of entrepreneurship, and Endeavor exemplifies this spirit. We are excited to leverage this unique ecosystem of entrepreneurs, partners, and investors to propel our technical prowess to new heights of innovation and efficiency in the payment sector.

“It’s an honor to join the Endeavor network,” says Emeka Emetarom, CEO of Qore. A group like Endeavor is a huge help on the road to developing ground-breaking financial solutions.

We are convinced that Endeavor’s worldwide expertise, mentorship, and assistance will greatly benefit Qore. We look forward to making a meaningful contribution to this vibrant community as we transform our organization into a global leader in Banking as a Service.”

The ISP is the culmination of a multi-step rigorous selection process in which candidates pitch their businesses to top international business executives and investors from the Endeavor network, naming those who received a unanimous vote Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs that are accepted into the network by a team of worldwide panelists receive access to a wide range of services, allowing them to develop their enterprises faster and multiply their impact.

“We are delighted that Obi, Emeka, and Wale have been selected as Endeavor Entrepreneurs,” said Endeavor Board Member Yemi Lalude. It is well-deserved credit for everything they have accomplished so far – and everything that is yet to come.”

“We are delighted to welcome Zone to the Endeavor network!” “We’re excited to help Obi, Wale, and Emeka scale Zone’s financial services infrastructure across the African continent and supercharge Nigeria’s already thriving tech ecosystem,” said Linda Rottenberg, Endeavor co-founder and CEO.

Gabriel Eleojo Umoru
Gabriel Eleojo Umoru
I'm Gabriel Eleojo Umoru, a graduate of Mass Communication from Prince Abubakar Audu University (formerly Kogi State University Anyigba, Kogi State). My hobbies include writing, surfing the internet and listening to music. I'm into voice editing and project management. I also help people out in their research projects.

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