#LevelOneProject: 2021 #WomenInFinTech Hackathon concludes Day Two with Call for Value Addition.

Day Two of the #WomenInFinTech #LevelOneProject Hackathon was successfully concluded with discussions centred on how participants can improve their projects in order to serve their target audiences better.

Day two mentor, Doreen Lukandwa, the Beyonic/MFS Africa vice president (global enterprises) and winner of the 2020 Women in FinTech Award urged participants to use latest technologies such as Mojaloop Open Source Software in order to add value to their products as this will give them a better entry in to the financial technology ecosystem.

 “Be intentional about your projects. Give your products value and be confident in what you are doing,” she said, noting that developers must also be price sensitive as this is one of the key factors that determine a good innovation.

“When you are selling your product, introduce yourself in a manner that the mass market will understand. This gives your innovation identity and simplifies the value of the product because not everyone you are trying to engage knows the technical terminologies,” she said.

The week-long Hackathon, organized by HiPipo in partnership with Crosslake Technologies, Modusbox, Mojaloop and Level One Project, will culminate into the Women in FinTech summit on Friday, October 15th, 2021 where the three top teams will be announced and get to share USD5,000 in prizes in addition to being part of a 90-day Business Incubator Program.

The 2021 #LevelOneProject #WomenInFinTech Hackathon has 17 women led teams and over 70 participants altogether. The teams are coming up with financial inclusion solutions that address their community needs, aided by Level One Project principles and latest technologies.

Empowering Innovators

HiPipo is proud to remain one of the continent’s premier advocates for the creation, dissemination and adoption of digital financial services, and we remain highly enthusiastic to provide the ways and means for our innovators to fully develop solutions that will collectively lead millions of our people to better lives and improved livelihoods.

The inaugural Women in FinTech initiative in 2020 exceeded expectations and left no doubt that women are ready to play a starring role in the digital financial services space and can fill the product gap the sector currently contends with.

All the 15 participating teams in 2020 presented excellent ideas, and HiPipo is more than pleased to reveal that it supported three (3) of them to grow into startups, each with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that’s ready for the market, which was a success to an extent that they went on to take part in the recently-concluded 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative.

KaCyber In Partnership With Private Sector Foundation Uganda To Onboard Bus Operators On A New Ticketing App

Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) in partnership with MasterCard Foundation through the COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Resilience Response Program (CERRRP) have supported KaCyber Security Technologies Limited, a transportation and logistics technology company whose mission is “to make seamless mobility a reality in Africa” to pilot an electronic ticketing system together with bus operators that will close income leakages and enable passengers to pay for bus tickets online, in a safer and more convenient way.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way many businesses operate and KaCyber’s Electronic Ticketing solution brings unprecedented efficiency in Uganda’s transport sector.

While signing the agreement the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of KaCyber, Mr. Innocent Orikiiriza together with his team, emphasized that their digital solution will minimize income leakages, reduce operational costs while providing a safer and convenient ticket booking experience to their public transport users. He said the current data reveals that transport operators lose 30 to 40 per cent of their revenue when using manual booking systems.

Because of what the sector is going through, Private Sector Foundation Uganda and KaCyber are optimistic that this digital solution will add value to the transport sector by contributing towards national efforts on safety and business recovery and resilience in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

He reiterated that the new Electronic Ticketing App would create convenience for passengers, who have had to endure the chaos to physically visit bus parks just to book a ticket for their trips.

The Private Sector Foundation Uganda is confident that this new technology is an opportunity for Uganda’s transport industry to transform and benefit both passengers and the business owners in the sector. Private Sector Foundation Uganda has offered UGX 35,134,500 (Thirty Five Millions One Hundred Thirty-Four Thousand Five Hundred Shillings Only) to this programme that will see KaCyber onboard new users on its Online ticketing App and also enable bus operators to pilot the new system and reap the benefits and efficiency provided by the system.

Silicon Pay making payments easier and efficient

By Our writer  

While previous efforts to encourage Ugandan businesses to digitize were futile, the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic has created haste for enterprises, irrespective of size, to shift to online platforms. 

This has opened opportunities for Financial Technology Companies (FinTechs) to tap in with innovative solutions that are changing the way people pay for goods and services as well as receive payments.

Among these FinTechs is Silicon Savannah Limited, a technology company whose Silicon Pay solution is increasingly being used by businesses to ease payments.

According to the FinTech’s Chief Executive Officer Patrick Setuba, the firm offers a fully integrated suite of payments products including collection, bulk payments, utilities, bank transfers and crowd funding through its Application Programming Interface (API).

Setuba adds that the platform provides an API for mobile money and credit card services, which merchants, individuals and companies can leverage by integrating it into their websites and mobile application and start receiving payments in real time.

“COVID-19 has affected businesses but it has paved way for the growth of digital payments as businesses resorted to online tools because they could not do physical meet-up and collections. So we provide solutions to these businesses and merchants to receive e-value,” he says.

Women inclusion

Given that fewer women-owned businesses have online presence, Setuba notes that the Silicon Savannah set out to change this. It offers low-cost website development services to women entrepreneurs to enable them move their businesses online and reach a wider customer base.

These websites are then integrated with Silicon Pay payment options to enable them have a fully modern e-commerce store where they collect and control their funds in real time.

Additionally, Silicon Savannah integrated the Silicon Pay solution in several women Saccos to help them ease collection of money through the platform and enhance accountability.

To stay on top on their game, Setuba says Silicon Pay integrated new products and services to meet its clients’ evolving financial needs. It for instance integrated mobile wallets to cater for customers who receive money in different currencies across Africa.

It also forged partnerships with key service providers such as e-commerce platform players, to provide more services to its clients.

To make it easy for businesses to onboard, Setuba says that the company uses the tiered Know-Your-Customer (KYC) principle, which he says also, helps them guard against fraud.

“To understand who we are dealing with, we incorporated KYC standards to better understand the customer we are dealing with. We thus take extra steps by asking them to prove their identity, nature of business to make sure the source of a customer’s funds are legitimate,” Setuba notes.

He adds that their systems enables users to monitor their funds on their dashboard in real time and can withdraw through mobile money instantly whenever they need it.

Additionally, the platform enables users to transfer funds instantly to their preferred bank accounts on request and receive the funds in a few hours depending on the time the request is made.

40-Days 40-FinTechs

Silicon Savannah is among the firms taking part in the ongoing second edition of the 40-Days 40-Fintechs initiative, which Setuba says has provided a platform for industry players to showcase their innovations that were less known to the public.

He alludes that Uganda’s FinTech industry is still virgin and thus offers a multitude of opportunities for growth, especially now that businesses are steadily picking interest in digital payments and e-commerce as they seek to reach a wider customer base.

Setuba, however, appeals to industry players to ensure real time funds transfer and same day settlement, noting that this will attract more Ugandans to use Fintech solutions.

The 40-Days 40-FinTechs initiative is organized by HiPipo in partnership with Crosslake Technologies, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation, and sponsored by the Gates Foundation. The HiPipo Chief Executive Officer Innocent Kawooya also notes that FinTechs need to be prepared with appropriate products and have appropriate real time payment systems in place to support an inclusive, interoperable digital marketplace that is both thriving and safe.

SoftPay is aiding business management transformation

By Our writer

Businesses are increasingly adopting emerging technologies across all functions, owing to the ability to improve operational efficiency, deliver better customer experiences and improve profitability.

Among the providers of these emerging technologies are Financial Technology Companies (FinTechs) like NewLife Technologies Sarl, a Cameroon-based mobile application and website development company, whose SoftPay is empowering businesses with a variety of financial solutions across the different functions to improve efficiency.

Using a mobile application for smartphone users and a Point of Sale (POS) option, the SoftPay Business platform offers solutions including inventory, sales, human resources, ticketing and booking and events management.

The solutions help firms collect payments, manage inventory, payrolls, sales, ticketing and event, among others.

According to the NewLife Technologies co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ngala Cyprian Mufor, the SoftPay Business platform seeks to help firms manage their interactions with both current and prospecting customers better.

“The system acts as a record of interactions across all business customer-facing touch points; organising, automating and synchronising them to enable you as a business service all your existing customers and respond quickly to issues and new business,” Mufor says.

He adds: “Businesses can manage their inventory, create invoices and distribute them to their clients and collect payments. They can also sell tickets while event organizers can create an event, sell it out, manage check-in and collect payments.”

How the systems work

The SoftPay Business’ Inventory and Service Management solution, for instance, enables businesses take advantage of a multitude of tools to improve efficiency by ensuring that their inventory and sales are in tandem while the Sales Management system enables businesses to manage every sale they make and receive payments through standard payment methods such as mobile money, Visa and Master card.

Its Human Resource Management system, on the other hand, enables a business to link its business account to other SoftPay users and pay them easily while the Ticketing and Bookings Management solution helps businesses sell tickets on multiple channels while reducing check-in-time at entry to the business site.

The PayForms Management solution allows a business to sell products, services and tickets online without having to build an e-commerce website. They simply share with potential clients a link generated on the platform for the product or service offered, using an SMS or social media.

“We are focused on serving and changing lives through technology. We are struggling to create a system that will support the financial inclusion for Africa.  That is why when you look at our platform, our on-boarding time is very short. Within a few seconds after downloading the Mobile App, the user is ready to use it because the on-boarding procedure has been reduced,” he says, adding that the procedure takes less than 15 minutes for those using SoftPay Business.

Using the MTN Mobile Money and Orange Money APIs, users can easily load their SoftPay accounts from any of these service providers as well as withdraw funds from their SoftPay accounts using their mobile network service provider.

Mufor, however, notes that Africa is still grappling with a number of challenges, including the dominance of cash as a means of business transaction, limited talent in the industry and lack of collaboration and support.

NewLife Technologies Sarl is among the FinTechs participating in the 40-days-40-FinTechs initiatives organised by HiPipo, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox, and Mojaloop Foundation.

The initiative seeks to enable FinTechs to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.

The HiPipo Chief Executive Officer Innocent Kawooya, however, says that FinTech in Africa offers attractive opportunities and that investors are rightfully picking interest in the various startups that are offering a plethora of services, ranging from payments and lending, remittances, cross-border transfers and neobanks, among others.

He adds that FinTech is the launchpad on which the promise of full global financial inclusion will be fulfilled.

Yo Uganda: The FinTech that pioneered Uganda’s digital payments journey

By Our writer

Cashless and contactless digital payments are increasingly playing a significant role in ensuring safety, speed, convenience, and seamlessness in business operations globally.

It is this that Yo Uganda Limited, a technology solutions company, is extending to businesses and farmers across Uganda to improve their efficiency.

Established in 2006, Yo Uganda entered the market offering low-cost international calls before venturing into mobile technology to provide Value-Added-Services.

Solutions including mobile money, SMS, Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (USSD) gateways, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), voice solutions, and custom-developed applications, were developed and tailored to customers’ needs.

This followed the launch of MTN mobile money in 2009 and Kenya’s M-Pesa, which had been launched two years before MTN’s mobile money services.

“When mobile money was first launched, the focus was person-to-person and the recipient would immediately go to a nearby agent to withdraw cash. So, we saw an opportunity to enable businesses and other organisations to take advantage of the mobile money service in a way that would enable them to reduce their costs and lower the risks of keeping cash at their premises,” the company’s Managing Director Gerald Begumisa says.

The company later ventured into the mobile payments space, with the launch of Uganda’s first online, publically available mobile payments gateway in 2010, to enable businesses to receive payments from their customers via mobile money as well as make mobile money payments to any mobile money account holder.

Since then, Begumisa says, Yo Uganda has enabled more than 50,000 small medium and large businesses and over 150,000 farmers integrate digital payments into their day-to-day operations and lives.

Begumisa explains that while mobile money was already popular by 2010, there was still a big gap especially in rural areas where farmers were skeptical about adopting digital finance but it has since converted many.

Its Digital Payment Acceptance solution facilitates businesses to transition and to accept digital payments for their goods and services while the Bulk Digital Payment Disbursement solution enables various players, both for-profit and non-profit, transition to digital disbursement of funds such as salaries and vendor payments.

Its Integrating Financial Institutions with Mobile Money Networks solution provides an integration service that allows seamless transfer of funds between financial institutions and Mobile Money Networks to enable a bank account holder to transfer funds from their bank account directly to their mobile phone and vice versa.

Though not yet where they would want the industry to be, Begumisa says Uganda’s Fintech story is taking a good shape with time, with a generally improved market place for work, continued advancement and innovation.

He notes that solutions have been developed by various players over the years, beyond the initial focus on payments to various verticals like Insurance and Agri-Tech solutions.

Additionally, he notes that more has been done to improve the general marketplace, especially given the enactment of the National Payments System Act, 2020, which does not only seek to protect the rights and privileges of payments systems and solutions users but also streamline the industry.

40-Days 40-FinTechs initiative

Yo Uganda is among the firms participating in the on-going second edition of the 40-days-40-FinTechs initiative, organized by HiPipo in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation.

Begumisa says the 40-Days 40-FinTechs initiative provides the needed publicity about the available solutions and products, and offers an opportunity to reach out to more stakeholders in government and private sectors to come on board to push the digitization agenda.

The HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya says FinTech in Africa offers attractive opportunities and that investors are rightfully picking interest in the various start-ups that are offering a plethora of services, ranging from payments and lending, remittances, cross-border transfers and neobanks, among others.

Numida is providing unsecured digital loans to small businesses in Uganda.

By our writer.

While access to credit is what micro and small business owners need to expand their enterprises and work their way out of poverty, it is nearly impossible for them to get bank loans because they lack collateral.

Given that they employ majority of Ugandans and contribute about 30% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, Numida, a Financial Technology Company (FinTech) sought to close this gap and help them access unsecured capital to further increase their impact on society.

Using historical behavioral data and business performance to predict risk, Numida is able to extend digital unsecured and affordable working capital loans to these businesses through a mobile Application.

According to Ana Grajales, the Numida Uganda Country Director, the loans neither require paper work nor collateral and are disbursed within two hours for first-time borrowers, and in seconds for repeat customers.

 “We are working to be the first and largest mobile platform in Africa focused on offering digital, convenient and responsible financial services to semi formal African micro and small businesses. Our target is to enable at least 1 million small business owners on the continent to achieve their dreams by 2030.”

Grajales explains that unlike banks that ask for a multitude of requirements for one to access a loan, Numida only needs three things; one must own a business, have a national identity card or passport or driving permit and a mobile money number registered in their name.

The applicant is, however, required to download the Numida App, fill in the business details and upload photos. Once the loan is approved, money is sent to the applicant’s phone through mobile money.

The FinTech offers working capital loans ranging from Shs 300,000 to Shs 10 million, payable within one to six 6 months.

Grajales says Numida uses Tiered Know Your Customer (KYC), which allows customers to engage with them with minimum requirements.

“Our whole philosophy is lending to informal businesses that may not have all of the documentation or requirements needed by commercial banks,” she notes.

Same Day settlement is a core principle of Numida’s product as it gives convenient loans and services, within 24 hours while transactions are settled on a near-instantaneous basis.

Grajales notes that women business owners account for a third of Numida clients.

“Women are significantly less likely to access capital and are more likely to be more informal. So, lending to female-owned businesses, and building services to support them and other overlooked segments is a core part of who we are,” she says.

COVID-19

Unlike other micro-lenders, Grajales says that Numida continued operating and disbursing capital through the pandemic and has seen its portfolio growing during the period.

She notes that while they had to freeze interest, extend or wave fees for its existing customers that were negatively impacted by the effects of the pandemic, the FinTech acquired new customers and that collections remained steady.

Also important to note is that Numida is partnering with SafeBoda to rollout a capital and micro credit product for its clients.

 “We are very excited to be working with SafeBoda; we are very aligned in our values and keen to support SafeBoda vendors to access financing, grow their business, and increase their loyalty and engagement with SafeBoda,” Grajales explains.

She says that Uganda’s FinTech industry is budding; pushing the envelope of what is possible.

“We have exciting startups across the financial ecosystem with the potential to make economic growth and prosperity possible to more Ugandans,” she says.

Numida is among the firms participating in the ongoing second edition of the 40-Days 40-FinTechs initiative, organized by HiPipo in partnership with Crosslake Technologies, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation, and sponsored by the Gates Foundation.

Grajales commends HiPipo for the 40-Days 40-FinTechs initiative, saying it showcases the diversity and innovation in Uganda’s FinTech space, adding that visibility is important in facilitating attention, creating support and nurturing potential collaboration and partnerships.

The HiPipo Chief Executive Officer Innocent Kawooya lauds Numida, saying it is playing a great role in facilitating financial inclusion, as its product is impacting hundreds of the originally financially excluded people.

Xuldime; promoting e-money in schools, empowering parents monitor children’s performance

By Our Writer

With parents pacing against time juggling a number of things to make ends meet, anything that helps them conclude their children’s school affairs from wherever they are comes in handy.

This is thanks to the emergence of the Financial Technology Companies (FinTechs) that are offering a number of innovative solutions to not only ensure efficiency in service provision but also bring about convenience.

Among them is Xuldime, which provides a digital platform for parents to manage their children’s education expenses, health, academics and other school affairs information, better from wherever they are.

According to the Xuldime Enterprise Leader Laban Jemba, the platform has several capabilities, including helping parents to conveniently pay school fees digitally, using the Xuldime Parents APP or a USSD code by dialing *270*7#.

Xuldime also runs a digital wallet that enables parents to send their children’s pocket money digitally, which is then stored on their wallet smart card to enable them run their shopping at school canteens.

To enable this, the Xuldime system has been integrated with the mobile money platforms –  MTN and Airtel – enabling real-time reflection of funds once it has been deposited on the child’s account. Banks are also now integrating, according to Jemba.

Through the App, parents can also buy scholastic materials for their children and other school needs, from the comfort of their homes or anywhere. To effect this, a parent simply goes to the platform, selects the items they want to buy and pay through the provided platforms.

The items are then delivered to the child at school, who then uses their smart card to authenticate the delivery and receipt of the items.

Additionally, Xuldime also has an attendance and academic performance monitoring solution that enables parents to monitor their children’s school performance.

Its hybrid conferencing and event management platform on the other hand is used by schools to manage their events like school days for people who cannot attend in person to follow. It also helps them disseminate reports and do targeted communication to particular parents.

COVID-19 triggers App upgrade

Jemba says that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic triggered their innovative minds, leading to the upgrade of the attendance application to integrate another App that allows the Ministry of Health and its Education counterpart, with whom it is partnering with for the school-based COVID-19 surveillance, to monitor COVID-19 in schools digitally.

Jemba says this enables schools to comply with the requirement for schools to report any COVID-19 related information daily and also reduces the time they would have spent capturing data manually.

40-Days 40-FinTechs

Xuldime is among the firms participating in the ongoing second edition of the 40-Days 40-FinTechs programme, organized by HiPipo in partnership with Crosslake Technologies, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation, and sponsored by the Gates Foundation.

Jemba applauds HiPipo for the programme, saying it shines a light on the innovations in the industry and also exposes them to venture capitalists and other market stakeholders. He adds that it also helps them to peer network better and to peer learn from each other.

The HiPipo Chief Executive Officer Innocent Kawooya says that FinTech is the launchpad on which the promise of full global financial inclusion will be fulfilled.

“The 40-Days 40 FinTechs LevelOneProject shall show we have the innovators to take on the challenges,” he says.

He notes that FinTechs need to be prepared with appropriate products and real time payment systems in place to support an inclusive, interoperable digital marketplace that is both thriving and safe.

To further grow Uganda’s FinTech industry, Jemba appealed to the government to avail more money to the industry for research and more government funded innovation hubs to help to stirrup FinTech innovations to solve existing challenges. 

Xuldime can be accessed on www.xuldime.com

Pegasus continues to bridge the e-money transactions real-time settlement gap

By Our Writer

The delay in settling digital money transactions is among the reasons most people in Uganda prefer cash to electronic transactions.

This explains why Uganda is still a cash economy, with almost 80% of transactions being cash.

However, Pegasus Technologies, a Financial Technology Company (FinTech), continues to oil the shift from cash to cashless by supporting businesses and entities that want to adopt digital payments do so reliably.

The Pegasus Managing Director Ronald Azairwe, says reliability is a key aspect that must be adopted and delivered by industry players if people are to shift from cash.

“For anyone to put their product out there and accept digital payments, one of the things they require is reliability. Cash offers reliability and that is something we need to understand as people in digital payments. When someone pays cash for goods and services, the transaction is completed immediately,” Azairwe says.

He adds: “People want to understand that even in digital transactions, it can happen in real time and if there is any issue, there will be sufficient support to understand what has happened.”

He notes that Pegasus has positioned itself to support anyone that decides to take digital payments by putting out a number of platforms to aid them.

Among them is the ticketing system, which he says helps people that have adopted digital payments trace payments, in case they were untraceable.

Additionally, Pegasus ensures that payment from a customer to a merchant happens in real time, giving them the same assurance that cash does.

Established in 2007, Pegasus has gained prominence in the development of financial solutions for companies, emerging as a leading payment services aggregator in Uganda with vast experience in development, configuration, deployment, support and maintenance of financial and billing solutions for businesses and institutions.

The solutions include bill payment solution, mobile money aggregation, mobile payments and remittances, loans and savings, card payments, software development and value added services such as SMS, airtime and data loading.

Its PegPay payments platform is currently being used by several institutions including banks, telecoms and utility companies, retailers, Pay-Tv providers and schools, to aggregate and manage financial transactions for both internal and external purposes.

Under the mobile money aggregation solution, an organisation is able to collect money through a USSD, mobile application or web application. Organizations are also able to effect payments to their end user beneficiaries, using the Pegasus platform or through their own platforms after being integrated with an API.

Azairwe commends government for the move to regulate electronic money, saying it will boost public confidence to use e-money. He, however, says government needs to recognize e-value as money.

“Currently, there is no law that allows government to recognize e-value as money. You cannot pay a government institution using e-cash and they accept. That money will have to first go to a bank account somewhere before it is recognized,” he says.

He adds: “We need to see digital payments done to government in real time recognized as value and government can re-use that e-value collected to make onward payments. Once that is done, it will go a long way to close the loop.”

He adds that there is also need for more merchants to participate, saying that the more the merchants, the easier it will be for people to adopt digital payments.

“More businesses should close cash offices and opt for digital payments.”

Pegasus is among the FinTechs participating in the ongoing second edition of the 40-Days 40-FinTechs initiatives organised by HiPipo, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation.

Azairwe commends HiPipo for the initiative, saying it has created awareness about existing solutions in the market.

“You can develop the best thing out there but if people do not know it, they will not use it. This awareness is commendable as it gives us a voice to reach more people. When we started about 15 years ago, there were no such programs and we had to cut our way through the bushes and shrubs. The 40 Days 40 Fintechs initiative is empowering FinTechs which is a step in the right direction.”

The HiPipo Chief Executive Officer, Innocent Kawooya congratulated Pegasus Technology on making 14 years in the industry.

“Pegasus Technologies is among the pioneers in Uganda’s FinTech Industry. Over the last 14 years, they have served and saved millions of customers through their cocktail of products and services. We congratulate them on this milestone.”

He noted that FinTechs need to take advantage of the current COVID-19 challenge to innovate more cashless and real time payment solutions.

“We need to be prepared with appropriate products and have appropriate real time payment systems in place to support an inclusive, interoperable digital marketplace that is both thriving and safe.”

Insure Small Small is using Financial Technology to boost Insurance Penetration

By our writer.

Insurance penetration in Uganda has remained below 2% for a long time, as efforts to increase uptake by traditional players have not yielded much.

This may, however, change as InsurTechs join the market with innovative solutions.

One of the InsurTechs that is helping to set the ball rolling is Insure Small Small – a micro insurance strategy for the “forgotten consumer”.

The Insure Small Small’s founder and CEO, Oscar Ofumbi, says that traditional insurance is broken, evidenced by supplying the same products through different channels, with no regard to innovation or delivery.

This, he adds, has created a forgotten consumer and thus the need to reinvent.

He defines a forgotten consumer as an economically active consumer who has been left out of insurance coverage.

“We hope that by focusing on the forgotten consumer and building user generated demand, we will contribute to the greater ecosystem.”

Ofumbi adds that due to COVID-19 and its economic shocks, access to life saving but high priced essentials like medical insurance has been impacted hence the need to curve out niches attuned to the customer’s need. 

Insure Small Small launched with a micro insurance product for malaria and typhoid dubbed Bomba MED.

This, Ofumbi says, is because statistically, malaria affects 10 million Ugandans, and 23% of Out Patient visits are due to malaria. While the cost for treating malaria is affordable, he says sicknesses strikes when least expected, hence the need for insurance protection.

The Bomba- Dawa plan costs UShs5,000 (USD 1.4) monthly.

How it works 

Ofumbi says that their platform has fused five unlikely verticals into one application across disease diagnosis, treatment, logistics, e-commerce and technology and a user can self-onboard.

“We have built a USSD application *284*89# from which users can self-onboard, buy a policy using mobile money and file a claim. The clinic/pharmacy uses the same USSD code to verify the claim and we make an instant payment to the partner’s wallet via mobile money.”

The InsurTech has also integrated Level One Project best practices, taking advantage of the low cost USSD technology, and weaving it into a futuristic technology, enabling them to programmatically create a USSD-smart contract.

This makes an instant payment upon verification of a claim and since USSD can be accessed on low cost devices, they are thus able to reach the target audience.

Ofumbi notes that InsurTech plays a crucial role, noting that if used rightly, the rich data generated by InsurTechs has potential to positively contribute to financial inclusion through identification of the underserved but potentially profitable niche markets, best served using low cost technology tools.

However, he notes that the InsurTech sector is currently grappling with limited opportunities for strategic partnerships as the indigenous local insurers have zero appetite for innovation while the majority of foreign insurers are filled with decision red tape.

Additionally, the insurance structure presents huge challenges, as InsurTechs are up against incumbents that have deep pockets and reinsurance players that stifle innovation because they refuse to understand innovation which is a new way of doing an old thing.

40-Days 40-FinTechs

Insure Small Small is among the firms participating in the ongoing edition of the 40-Days 40-FinTechs initiative, organized by  HiPipo in partnership with Crosslake Technologies, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation, and sponsored by the Gates Foundation.

He commended HiPipo for the initiative, saying it has brought about teamwork and networking, to enable players complement each other.

“There is a saying that if you want to go near go alone, if you want to go far travel with others.”

“This is a perfect initiative and strategically I foresee opportunities for established teams to acquire smaller ones, merge with others or get acquired thus strengthening the ecosystem.”

The HiPipo Chief Executive Officer Innocent Kawooya says through this edition, FinTechs have shown a plethora of solutions, seeking to solve unique sets of challenges.

“Insure Small Small has come up with an e-health product targeting the underserved, who are the majority. It fully runs on USSD which makes it accessible to anyone with a phone. This is a step in the right direction.”

He adds that FinTech is the launchpad on which the promise of full global financial inclusion will be fulfilled.

Club Tangaza is helping children, women develop love for CODING.

By our writer

When you talk about software engineering, many females will tell you that it is a preserve for males.

This is basically because in addition to being a male-dominated field, most females think that software development is a hard discipline and thus should be pursued by men.

To demystify that belief, however, Club Tangaza, an online coding platform for children and beginners, has come out to demonstrate that anyone, be it a young girl, boy, woman or man, can acquire the software development skill and excel at it.

According to the Club Tangaza co-founder Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi, the company set out to teach the young generation (girls and boys), starting at an early age, coding skills so as to develop the love for it early in life instead of being introduced to them while at college or university.

“Coding is currently referred to as the literacy of the 21st century; so it is only imperative that we teach our generation how to code. Learning to code is like learning any other language and these skills need to be taught at an early age before they become picky,” Kanyunyuzi says.

She adds: “In this era of the internet of things (IOT) devises around us are interconnected and they communicate through code. So, these skills are really very important.”

Coding refers to giving a set of instructions to a computer, which instructions are written in a programming or computer language.

Kanyunyuzi says: “Coding is no longer a reserve for software engineering or computer science students, learners do not have to wait to go to college or university to start learning how to code; anyone can learn how to code.”

Club Tangaza runs three programmes including Tangaza Kids for children aged four to 12, Tangaza Def Club (13 years and above) and Team Techy (13 and above).

To enroll, one visits www.clubtangaza.com, and chooses an appropriate programme, after which they are given feedback and a schedule.

Kanyunyuzi, however, says that while at Club Tangaza both boys and girls are exposed to the same tools, environment, equality in assessment and opportunities, enrollment is still higher for males than females. She adds that males also tend to stay committed throughout the entire course than their female counterparts.

Incentives needed

To increase the number of females embracing technology, Kanyunyuzi says there is need for incentives from both the private and public sectors.

“As private Club Tangaza, we provide discounted prices for girls that enroll for our progrmmes but this is not enough because we are just a small entity.

“We thus call upon leading females in Tech and the government to join this cause. The government should probably roll out these programmes in schools so that they are not only left to people who can afford them but even people at the grassroots because there is that young girl or woman who has not even seen a computer but would love to get involved in shaping the technology trends of our country,” she notes.

Club Tangaza is among the firms participating in ongoing second edition of the 40-Days 40-FinTechs initiative organized by HiPipo in partnership with Crosslake Technologies, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation, and sponsored by the Gates Foundation.

The initiative provides a platform for FinTechs and stakeholders in the digital and financial technology space to exhibit their products and share ideas.

Kanyunyuzi says the 40-Days 40-FinTechs initiative is championing digital inclusion by shining a light on local startups that are providing digital solutions to automate business processes in the country.

The HiPipo Chief Executive Officer Innocent Kawooya says through this edition, FinTechs have shown a plethora of solutions, seeking to solve unique sets of challenges.

He adds that FinTech is the Launchpad on which the promise of full global financial inclusion will be fulfilled.