Over the years, the financial technology industry has been male-dominated. However, a lot of effort has in the recent years been geared towards changing this, some of which is already bearing fruits.
According to Princess Shamirah Kimbugwe, the Pivot Payments founder and managing director, while gender imbalance is still a challenge, the industry has over the years matured and now prioritizes knowledge and skills.
“In comparison to other industries like banking, legal, and medicine; technology is more open, inclusive, and more welcoming. Half the time, people in technology don’t want to front their religion, tribe, race or gender,” Kimbugwe said.
She added: “Technology is about the leadership, the knowledge and skills you bring on to the table. The technology industry is about performance regardless of your gender. I have personally witnessed this transformation over the more than 14 years I have been in this industry.”
Kimbugwe revealed this while mentoring the 2022 Women in FinTech Hackathon participants. She further urged them to continue with the journeys ‘they have started because the FinTech industry is fast growing with a lot of opportunities.’
“The future of the FinTech industry is very bright. We are seeing more investment, interest from abroad, product diversity, and more homegrown products. That said, we must all agree that innovation has to work very closely with regulation,” she said.
Pivot Payments is a Bank of Uganda licensed financial technology company that is building a Pan African Neo Bank and serving export labourforce users who have typically been financially exploited or excluded. The company currently serves more than 250,000 customers and has processed more than two million transactions in less than five years.
Meanwhile, Day four of the 2022 #WomeninFinTech Hackathon activities included the 20 participating teams pitching their products, testing Mojaloop open source software, and presenting their minimum viable product (MVP) phase two. A product pitch is the process of presenting to and persuading potential investors to buy into the idea of investing in your product.
According to Mastulah Sarah Nakisozi, the Jibu Team Leader, the Hackathon has so far been a great learning experience for her and all participants.
“As a student of computer science, my skills have improved through software development, and prototype creation using different platforms. I have also improved my communication and pitching skills,” she said.
The Women in FinTech Hackathon will culminate into the Women in FinTech summit on Friday 16th September, where the best performing teams and individuals from across East Africa will be announced and receive their share of the USD 10,000 collective prize money. The best teams will also automatically qualify for the Women in FinTech Incubator program that will run until January 2023.
The Women in FinTech Hackathon, Summit, and Incubator project is presented by HiPipo in partnership with Level One Project, Mojaloop, ModusBox, CyberPLC Academy, and Crosslake Technologies and generously supported by Gates Foundation.