The 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon has kicked off in Kampala with a formidable group of thirty (30) teams, hailing from Uganda and Kenya. This esteemed selection of participants was carefully curated from a competitive pool of over 100 innovative submissions received over the past two months.
From 10th to 17th August, the 30 teams will ideate, and develop Financial Inclusion innovations spanning a wide range of sectors such as Payments, Savings & Loans, E-commerce, E-Health, Fundraising, AgriTech, E-Insurance and Remittances.
On day one, the over 100 innovators were able to work on their Problem Statements and Business Cases.
Charlotte Neeza, the HiPipo FinTech Events Manager, explained that the Women in FinTech Hackathon is a timely intervention aimed at closing the gender diversity gap in the Technology Industry.
“Gender diversity in the tech industry is low with Men holding over 74 per cent of the Technology jobs. They also account for at least 79 per cent of the executive roles in the Tech Industry. This can only be closed by equipping more women with the required skills and resources to compete favourably. The Women in FinTech Hackathon is exactly doing this. We don’t only train the participants but also connect them to mentors and potential Investors,” Neeza noted.
Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi, the Hackathon Lead Facilitator and CEO of Club Tangaza guided the teams through crucial steps to be followed when defining a problem statement and working on a business case. She noted that innovations are bound to fail if they are not solving a specific and clear societal problem.
“Clearly define the problem you want your Fintech solution to solve. This should be a specific pain point or challenge faced by your target users. Validate the problem through interviews, surveys, and data analysis to ensure that it is a real and significant issue that your potential customers are facing,” Kanyunyuzi explained.
Olga Naiga, a Strategic Business Planning Expert was Day-One’s Mentor and focused her presentation on Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
“Design thinking is pivotal in a women-led FinTech; combining innovation and user-centricity. Design thinking fosters collaboration, ensuring that multifaceted perspectives contribute to cohesive, inclusive Fintech products. This approach also streamlines problem-solving, iteratively refining prototypes based on user feedback,” Naiga noted; adding:
“In the dynamic realm of FinTech, where women remain underrepresented, design thinking empowers female developers to challenge conventions and develop solutions that resonate, effectively bridging the gender gap and delivering financial tools that cater for the diverse spectrum of women’s needs and aspirations.”
The participants were also introduced to Level One Project Principles, Mojaloop Open Source Software and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools.
The Level One Project introductions were done by Innocent Kawooya, the HiPipo CEO and George Kasakya, the HiPipo Tech lead while the Mojaloop Introduction was delivered by Paul Baker, the Principle Product Manager INFITX and member of the Mojaloop Community Council.
In his presentation, Baker noted that Mojaloop is a level one aligned payments hub, that is designed to support financial inclusion.
Mojaloop was designed to provide a reference model for payment interoperability, that can be used to overcome barriers that have slowed the spread of digital financial services. Whole, adapted, or as a blueprint – the Mojaloop Foundation’s open source software can be used by organizations to build interoperable, digital payment systems that enable seamless, affordable financial services between individual users, banks, government entities, merchants, mobile network operators, providers, and technology companies – connecting the underserved with the emerging digital economy.
Running for the 4th consecutive year, this Hackathon is part of HiPipo’s broader Women in Fintech initiative that also includes a Summit and Incubator program.
The 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon will culminate in the Women in FinTech summit on 18th August 2023 where the best-performing teams and individuals will be announced and receive their share of the USD 10,000 collective prize money. This will be in addition to the winners automatically qualifying for the Women in FinTech Incubator program that will run from September until December 2023.
The Women in FinTech Hackathon is implemented by HiPipo in partnership with Level One Project, Mojaloop Foundation, INFITX, Cyberplc Academy, Crosslake Technologies and Ideation Corner and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.