HiPipo kicks off 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative for Tanzania

The inaugural 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative for Tanzania has kicked off with a focus on tracing the journeys of financial technology stakeholders from all over the country.

First implemented in Uganda, 40 Days 40 FinTechs is an annual FinTech Innovation initiative presented by HiPipo to recognize and celebrate individuals and organizations who are making significant strides in promoting financial inclusivity through the use of technology.

It is aimed at promoting innovation and collaboration among FinTechs in Africa. The initiative is designed to provide FinTechs and startups with mentorship, training, exposure, and networking opportunities to help them grow and scale their businesses.

“For more than 40 days, the initiative will shine a spotlight on Tanzanian FinTechs that are breaking down digital barriers and transforming lives for the better. We are traversing the entire Tanzania and engaging innovators at all levels. There are several exciting FinTech solutions and each day, a unique story will be told and amplified across media to garner maximum visibility and impact,” Nicholas Kalungi, the HiPipo COO noted while kicking off this project.

He added: “By shining a spotlight on these innovators, we aim to inspire others and create a ripple effect towards the creation and dissemination of technology that enables financial inclusivity. Many startups that have participated in the program in Uganda have gone on to receive funding and support, and have successfully scaled their businesses. We even better outcomes for Tanzania.”

40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative Tanzania is part of HiPipo’s broader Include EveryOne Program that is generously supported by the Gates Foundation and implemented in partnership with Level One Project, ICTC Tanzania, Ideation Corner, Cyber PLC Academy, INFITX, NG Films, Founders Academy and Mojaloop Foundation.

The Include EveryOne program is a beacon of acceleration of FinTech Innovation, empowerment for Women in FinTech and a catalyst for investment and development in the ICT sector. Minus 40 Days 40 FinTechs, other initiatives under the Include EveryOne Program are the FinTech Landscape Exhibition, Women in FinTech Hackathon, Summit and Incubator, Digital Impact Awards Africa and the Digital and Financial Inclusion Summit.

HiPipo is recognized as a premier advocate of digital Innovation and financial inclusion champion, a fervent proponent of the #LevelOneProject. HiPipo has been at the forefront, actively promoting digital innovation, Instant, Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS), and DFS across Africa. With a legacy of advising, mobilizing, and facilitating the adoption of inclusive financial services, HiPipo’s efforts have been nothing short of transformative! For almost two decades, HiPipo has successfully facilitated the inclusive adoption of these crucial services.

HiPipo introduces Level One Project Principles to Financial Inclusion players in Tanzania

HiPipo has kicked off its implementation of the Include EveryOne program in the United Republic of Tanzania with a detailed introduction of the Level One Project Principles to FinTechs, Innovators and other Financial Inclusion stakeholders.

The Level One Project is an initiative of the Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor (FSP) program, which is part of the Global Growth and Opportunity division. The Level One Project is focused on enabling financial inclusion by meeting the needs of low-income users—both individuals and merchants—as well as the digital financial services providers (DFSPs) that serve them.

First released in 2015, Level One Project Principles are a set of industry best practices that guide countries, regions, or commercial organizations working to create real-time retail payments systems that are designed to meet the needs of low-income consumers. The principles include Tiered KYC, Availability on Low-Cost User Devices, Real-time/Immediate funds transfer, Same-day settlement, Pricing Transparency and Irrevocability.  

In essence, these principles remind FinTech players that their solutions must be Accessible, Reliable, Valuable, Affordable, Profitable and Equitable.

“In a world divided by digital disparity, the Level One Project has emerged as a harbinger of hope, charting a path toward a future where financial inclusivity is a tangible reality for millions. This visionary initiative transcends the conventional role of a guide, evolving into a strategic roadmap that envisions a world where every individual, regardless of their economic standing, is seamlessly integrated into the formal financial system,” Innocent Kawooya, the HiPipo CEO noted following a successful workshop in Dar es Salaam.

He added: “We are glad the Gates Foundation developed these Level One Project principles. They simplify financial inclusion for solutions’ designers and end-users. We are excited to be here in Tanzania and happy to work with like-minded individuals and organizations to enhance digital and financial inclusion.”

This development came on the back of the signing of a long-term digitization partnership between HiPipo and the Tanzania Information and Communication Technologies Commission (ICTC) in October. Through this partnership, HiPipo will roll out its Include EveryOne program in Tanzania with a special focus on empowering and transforming Women, the Youth and millions in the Informal sector.

The Include EveryOne program is a beacon of acceleration of FinTech Innovation, empowerment for Women in FinTech and a catalyst for investment and development in the ICT sector. This initiative is set to break new ground through research advisory, stakeholder collaboration, and capacity building for ICT professionals in Tanzania!

HiPipo is recognized as a premier advocate of digital Innovation and financial inclusion champion, a fervent proponent of the #LevelOneProject. HiPipo has been at the forefront, actively promoting digital innovation, Instant, Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS), and DFS across Africa. With a legacy of advising, mobilizing, and facilitating the adoption of inclusive financial services, HiPipo’s efforts have been nothing short of transformative! For almost two decades, HiPipo has successfully facilitated the inclusive adoption of these crucial services.

Tanzania ICTC, HiPipo sign long term partnership

The government of Tanzania has lauded HiPipo’s deliberate digital and financial inclusion efforts that continue to address longstanding disparities, close gender diversity gaps and advocate for equity for thousands of underserved and unserved populations across Africa.

As proof of its commendation of these digital and financial inclusion works, the government through the Tanzania Information and Communication Technologies Commission (ICTC) has signed a long-term partnership with HiPipo.

Dr Nkundwe Moses Mwasaga, the director general of the Tanzania ICTC noted that the partnership with HiPipo is timely as it tackles key issues such as limited awareness about technology solutions, knowledge gap and gender inequality.

To actualize this partnership, HiPipo has already rolled out its Include EveryOne program in Tanzania with a special focus on empowering and transforming Women, the Youth and millions in the Informal sector.

The #IncludeEveryOne program is a beacon of acceleration of FinTech Innovation, empowerment for Women in FinTech and a catalyst for investment and development in the ICT sector. This initiative is set to break new ground through research advisory, stakeholder collaboration, and capacity building for ICT professionals in Tanzania!

“We are ecstatic to announce that a pivotal agreement has been signed and sealed between HiPipo and the Tanzania Information and Communication Technologies Commission. This promising collaboration is aimed at expediting financial inclusion in Tanzania, under the renowned HiPipo Include Everyone Program, with the generous backing of the Gates Foundation,” Innocent Kawooya, the HiPipo CEO noted.

He added: “Through this agreement, expect a showcase of FinTech giants, Women in FinTech innovators, and burgeoning startups from Tanzania. The Include Everyone program activities operated globally by HiPipo will play a crucial role in promoting financial inclusion, driving economic growth, fostering ICT investment, advising stakeholders, and building a resilient, knowledgeable group of Digital Innovators and ICT Professionals in Tanzania.”

Furthermore, the Tanzanian government bestowed HiPipo with the Best Partner in Supporting ICT Innovation 2023 award during the 7th Tanzania Annual ICT Conference held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania recently.

“We are honoured to receive this appreciation from the government of the United Republic of Tanzania. Our dedication remains unwavering in advocating for digital innovation, FinTech Innovation, and Financial Inclusion,” Kawooya noted while receiving this award.

HiPipo is recognized as a premier advocate of digital Innovation and financial inclusion champion, a fervent proponent of the #LevelOneProject. HiPipo has been at the forefront, actively promoting digital innovation, Instant, Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS), and DFS across Africa. With a legacy of advising, mobilizing, and facilitating the adoption of inclusive financial services, HiPipo’s efforts have been nothing short of transformative! For almost two decades, HiPipo has successfully facilitated the inclusive adoption of these crucial services.

Mbarara University students win the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon

A team of three engineering students from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) has won the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon.

The winners were announced at the 2023 Women in FinTech Summit presided over by Hon Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo, the Minister of State for ICT at Mestil Hotel, Kampala. The summit was the climax event for the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon which run from 10th to 17th August.

Named E-Parking, the winning team is made of three engineering students namely; Christine Amutuhaire, and Charity Ainembabazi; both doing Biomedical Engineering and Elian Mwesiga who is pursuing Software Engineering

Though in its early stages, their winning product; E-Parking is a financial technology-powered solution that will on launch ‘introduce a mobile app to revolutionize the parking experience in Ugandan cities’.

To win, these young innovators presented a functional minimum viable product (MVP) that clearly demonstrated how their digital platform would simplify parking processes and enhance resource management.

The E-Parking MVP has features such as QR Code-Initiated Parking, Real-Time Payments enabled by Mojaloop software, App Tokens for Payments and Session Alerts.

They beat stiff competition from more than twenty-five other teams, including BorePay and Business Banking Hub; which came second and third respectively.

“We are super excited. We definitely believed in our product but didn’t see this win coming. The Hackathon has been mind-blowing. This win has vindicated our solution. We intend to continue pursuing it and eventually launch it. We thank all the participants for their health and positive competition. In a special way, we thank HiPipo and its partners for organizing a proper Women in FinTech event,” an overjoyed Christine Amutuhaire, the E-Parking Team leader noted following their victory.

BorePay the team that came second is developing a USSD-based payment platform that will guarantee safe water for rural communities through continuous collection of boreholes’ repair and maintenance fees from the residents in addition to other forms of fundraising while Business Banking Hub offers an inclusive bulk payment solution for the unbanked informal sector.

In her remark, Hon Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo applauded HiPipo for using Technology to champion women empowerment, noting that the government will continue to support initiatives intended to empower Women and the Youth.

“Even as Uganda boasts a female population of 50.71% in 2020, women are extremely represented among the unbanked. They face many challenges, notably in accessing digital technology, acquiring skills, and availing financial products,” Hon Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo said.

She explained: “HiPipo’s Women in FinTech training steps in to bridge this gap. We are proud of HiPipo and its partners for their commitment to levelling the field. Their dedication pushes Africa closer to tapping into its full digital dividend, ensuring all benefit from digital financial services. The collaboration between HiPipo and the Ministry of ICT is pivotal. It is not just about offering services; it is about understanding the deep-rooted social norms that obstruct women’s financial rise. This insight, complemented by research from the Level One Project, offers a deeper perspective on these challenges.”

Top Seven Teams.

The top seven teams were E-Parking – 4m, BorePay – 2m, Business Banking Hub – 1.5m, FinHub – 1m, HPaysa – 1m, Tax on Point – 1m and Simbula Tugende – 1m.

“We received over 100 submissions from which we shortlisted 30 teams from Kampala, Mbarara, Kabale, Kisoro Gulu and Nairobi. On day one of the hackathon, two teams did not turn up. We then remained with 28 teams that actively participated until the final presentations’ day when one team dropped out owing to an emergency that required their attention and physical presence,” Charlotte Neeza, the HiPipo FinTech Event Manager said, adding;

“The remaining twenty-seven teams met the judges on Thursday and demonstrated their solutions. All these twenty-seven teams are FinTech Champions. Because all the twenty-seven teams are winners, they are sharing the USD 10,000 collective prize.”

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 cardinal purpose of these inter-twined initiatives is to champion women’s financial inclusion through active participation in the initiation, development, and rolling out of financial technology products that are well-tailored to serve women and everyone,” Innocent Kawooya, the HiPipo CEO said, adding;

“We are exceptionally supporting efforts towards closing the Gender Gap in Access to Technology, Skills, and Usage of Digital Financial Services. Several of our Women in FinTech Alumni are currently running sustainable Tech companies. We implore the 2023 winners and all participants to continue with their innovations, complete them and launch them.”

Between 2020 and 2022, the Women in FinTech Hackathon, Summit, and Incubator project attracted over 4,000 participants and directly trained more than 300 women. Through dedicated mentorship, many of these Women have since graduated as Software Engineers and Computer Science specialists. Some have ideated, developed, and launched Financial Technology products that are transforming their communities while others have received seed capital from both the project and external contributors to further pursue their dreams.

The Women in FinTech initiative 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.

The 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon concludes on a high, with winners to be announced on Friday

After a long week of solutions’ ideation and development, the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon teams have today pitched their final minimum viable products – MVPs to the Hackathon Jury.

The over 30 teams were each given up to 10 minutes to demonstrate how their developed solutions work. The young and nascent innovators used this time to wow the Hackathon Jury of six judges.

Of the six judges, three attentively followed the presentations physically whilst others followed the proceedings remotely. For each developed solution, the judges were looking out for innovativeness, business value, feasibility, potential impact, and integration with Mojaloop Open Source Software.

The judges also paid a keen interest to adherence to Level One Project Principles such as Same Day Settlement, Realtime Payments, Tiered KYC, and Transaction Irrevocability.

“The fourth edition of Women in Fintech Hackathon has embodied the transformative power of women in technology. Through a systematic approach, the Hackathon has tackled real-world Fintech product development; from problem statement and business case formulation to solution design, prototyping, and MVP dry run. This structured process fostered collaboration, innovation, and skill growth, all while emphasizing inclusivity,” Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi, the Hackathon Lead Facilitator and CEO of Club Tangaza, adding:

“The hackathon’s success has showcased how diverse teams of women can break barriers and lead change in the Fintech sector. This event also highlighted the boundary-less nature of innovation. Such initiatives hold the key to a more inclusive, innovative future for Fintech.”

But even after the final pitches, there was still some more time for learning. Stella Lugalambi, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Hamwe East Africa tipped the participants on Overcoming Challenges and Building Resilience.

Mrs Lugalambi urged the young innovators to consider formalizing their FinTech solutions through registration and in the long run, getting regulator licenses.

“Right now, Financial Technology is regulated by the Bank of Uganda. As an innovator, find out where your product falls and understand what is required to register it. Even if you don’t get a license immediately, at least you will know what is required when that time comes.”

She urged the participants to remain, firm, resilient and focused on achieving their dreams.

“There are indeed problems to do with funding and digitization. Most of your target audience doesn’t even have smartphones and computers, but this should not discourage you. For whatever you are doing, do your best to find ways of funding your businesses without seeking commercial loans fast as they put a lot of pressure on start-ups.”

Overall Winners to be known at Women in FinTech Summit.

With the Hackathon curtains coming down; there was a visible sense of anticipation; with several teams very optimistic and in high spirits while others were evidently anxious.

Even though all participants are financial inclusion champions, the overall winners of this year’s Women in FinTech Hackathon will be announced and receive their share of the USD 10,000 collective prize money at the 2023 Women in FinTech summit on Friday, 18th August at Mestil Hotel, Kampala.

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 past week has been exciting and action-packed. We have seen teams develop their nascent ideas into minimum-viable products. The majority of the teams have indeed put in so much effort and we really appreciate this. To us, all the teams are victors. They have submitted their final MVPs and we shall tomorrow get to know the overall winners.

The Women in FinTech Hackathon, Summit and Incubator Program is implemented by HiPipo in partnership with Level One Project, Cyberplc Academy, Crosslake Technologies, INFITX, Ideation Corner and Mojaloop Foundation and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon Day 6: Teams coached on presentation and pitching

For the past one week, the over 100 Innovators taking part in the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon have been focusing their energies and resources on developing time and lifesaving financial inclusion solutions.

With just one day to the end of this year’s Women in FinTech Hackathon, the participants are putting their best feet forward and tying up all loose ends as they ready themselves for their final submissions on Thursday 17th August.

On Day Six, the teams dug deep into the workings of application programming interfaces (APIs).

According to IBM, an application programming interface or API is a set of defined rules that enable different applications to communicate with each other.

An API ‘acts as an intermediary layer that processes data transfers between systems, letting companies open their application data and functionality to external third-party developers, business partners, and internal departments within their companies.’

Paul Baker, the Principle Product Manager at INFITX took the teams through the workings of the Mojaloop APIs, showing them the different ways, they can integrate the Mojaloop family of APIs in their solutions.

“If your desire for Mojaloop knowledge is more technical, then try running a cut-down version of Mojaloop Locally where the API can be called and the logs of the micro-services interrogated. The Mojaloop Community supports various ways of running Mojaloop locally.”

In preparation for making their final submissions, the teams also had an in-depth pitching and presentation coaching session led by Flavia Eleanor Kasenge, the chief operating officer at EzeeMoney.

In her presentation, Kasenge defined pitching as how you describe the best version of yourself or your business; what you do, how long you have been doing it, and why you are the best at that particular business.

She noted that there are different kinds of pitching such as Elevator Pitch, Investors Pitch and Sales Pitch.

“When at a pitch, introduce yourself using catchy words, replace fear with confidence, be smart, and bring your A game. Stand out from the get-go because first impression is key. Do enough research and master your data –Have enough depth and clearly show an understanding of your business,” Kasenge said, adding;

“Importantly, end memorably; preferably with a life story of how you came up with the product. That conclusion can be as serious as that or as simplistic as a joke.”

Running for the 4th consecutive year, the Women in FinTech Hackathon is part of the broader Women in FinTech initiative that also includes a Summit and Incubator program; all implemented by HiPipo in partnership with Level One Project, Cyberplc Academy, Crosslake Technologies, INFITX, Ideation Corner and Mojaloop Foundation and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon will culminate into 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.

Participants start working on minimum viable products on Day 5 of the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon

Driven by passion and an unsatisfied appetite for success, the over 100 Innovators participating in the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon have their priorities well set out.

It is this desire to succeed that is keeping most of the participants awake throughout the night; some turning the Hackathon venue into their temporary home, taking short naps on wooden desks and the floor before waking up to resume their financial technology solutions’ design and development.

With the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon entering the final and most decisive days, the Teams were introduced to minimum viable products (MVP) on Day 5.

A product Plan defines a minimum viable product, or MVP, as a product with enough features to attract early-adaption customers and validate a product idea early in the product development cycle.

According to Dorothy Kabarozi, a Full Stack Software Engineer and Facilitator of the Women in FinTech Hackathon, the creation of minimum viable products (MVPs) raises the developers’ confidence and opens multi opportunities for partnerships and possible funding ‘because creating an MVP, even if it’s a simplified version, can instil a sense of achievement and sureness.’

“In a Hackathon like this, MVPs encourage participants to think creatively and find innovative ways to address challenges. This empowerment comes from the realization that they have the capability to design solutions that can make a difference in financial inclusion, benefiting themselves and others, “Dorothy Kabarozi said.

She added: “MVPs inspire developers like the young women and men we have here to pursue further opportunities in the tech field and beyond, knowing they have the ability to contribute meaningfully. Lastly, MVPs allow participants to demonstrate the tangible impact of their ideas. This can lead to partnerships, funding opportunities, or further development to scale the solution, which in turn can have a lasting impact on financial inclusion and empowerment.”

Mentorship Sessions.  

Osbert Osamai, the Head ICT Advisory, Research & Strategy at Centenary Technology Services, was the morning mentor and presented on key skills for effective Digital Transformation, urging the teams to interest themselves in learning more support skills as these would complement their competencies in products and solutions development.

“Away from developing great solutions, you need project & product management, communication, decision-making and digital marketing skills. You need emotional intelligence to know what to say when, how and why. You must continue to learn as this will aid your growth. Importantly, continue to seek collaborations and possible partnerships.”

Lyn Tukei, the Communications and Public Relations Manager at Capital Markets Authority, Uganda, took on the PR and Marketing Strategy training. In her afternoon presentation, she noted that successful brands are built by consumers, not companies.

“Ultimately, it’s the way consumers perceive a brand that defines it. It doesn’t matter what you think your brand promises. The only thing that matters is how consumers perceive your brand,” Tukei said, adding:

“You need to work to develop consumer perceptions that accurately reflect your brand or your brand is doomed to limited growth potential.”

Running for the 4th consecutive year, the Women in FinTech Hackathon is part of the broader Women in FinTech initiative that also includes a Summit and Incubator program; all 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.

The 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon will culminate into 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.

2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon Day 4: Teams present Prototype Designs, trained on Financial Discipline and Product Management

Participants in the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon have continued to show significant progress and commitment to using Financial Technology to transform their communities.

Day 4 kicked off with a detailed session on Open Source Software and Mojaloop Security, presented by Paul Baker, the Principle Product Manager of INFITX and member of the Mojaloop Community.

The Mojaloop Open Source session was then followed by the teams presenting their solutions and prototype designs. With examples, they illustrated their solutions’ customer journey and explained how they envisioned them to function.

“From the presented solution and prototype designs, it is evident that a lot of progress has been made by all the teams. Each team is now focusing on delivering a functional minimum viable product (MVP) by Thursday, 17th August,” Charlotte Neeza, the HiPipo FinTech Events Manager noted.

“Compared to last week, the Hackathon is now tense in a very good way as the innovators continue to build their products. Teams are time conscious as they are aware that it is mission critical for them to have their MVPs ready and submitted for a final assessment on Thursday.”

Away from the solutions and prototype design presentations, the participants interacted with two mentors who shared extensive knowledge on Financial Discipline, Investment and Product Management.

Prossy Namubiru, the Youth Supervisor, Retail & Microfinance Division at Centenary Bank, noted that Financial Discipline refers to how well you are able to conform your spending and saving to the plans that you have set to achieve your monetary goals.

“Discipline is a necessary skill for proper financial management. Without it, you will never acquire or accumulate anything. Without it you will never accomplish anything,” Namubiru said, adding;

“Financially, discipline is about controlling your spending and making sure you pay for the things that need to be paid for. If you cannot control your spending, then no matter how much money you make it will never be enough.”

Namubiru noted that Centenary Bank has multiple offerings for young people including youth-friendly accounts, free financial literacy sessions for organized youth groups and low-interest youth loans.

Meanwhile, Mercy Angela Nantongo, a product manager and an emerging media technologist, took the teams on a product management voyage. She explained that product management is a deliberate and continuous process that ensures that both the product owners and customers get the best value possible. She likened a product manager to the customer’s voice within an organization.

“A product manager is like the parent of a child. This is a role we can differentiate from other actors in the child’s life like the doctor that helped birth them, or the teachers that guide them over the course of their lives,” Nantongo said.

“Product managers collect all the problems about the product, segregate them and share them with the responsible people in the product eco-system for resolution. They also plan and execute solutions. While customer support deals with after-sales, product management works more with before-sales.”

She noted that some of the key traits of successful product managers are empathy, optimism, being analytical, strategic and result-oriented.

Running for the 4th consecutive year, the Women in FinTech Hackathon is part of the broader Women in Fintech initiative that also includes a Summit and Incubator program; all 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.

The 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon will culminate into 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.

Innovators urged to be patient with their Ideas. 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon Day 3

Teams from Uganda and Kenya, each comprising enthusiastic individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, are currently in Kampala, diligently working to refine their pitched ideas into Financial Technology solutions. 

As these teams gathered on Day three, a palpable sense of anticipation filled the air with the participants waiting to listen to words of wisdom and encouragement prepared by Damali Ssali, the founder of the Ideation Corner and also, the chief programs and projects officer at Private Sector Foundation Uganda.

In her morning presentation, Ssali emphasized the power of collaboration and the potential of innovation to reshape communities. She spoke about how HiPipo itself had been built on the spirit of innovation, with its history steeped in groundbreaking ideas that had transcended barriers and transformed challenges into opportunities.

“You always have to test your idea and then you roll it out. Find friends who believe in your ideas. Sometimes you may first need to develop your idea before you start talking about it. Don’t talk to people who will tell you it will never work,” she advised the youthful entrepreneurs.

“You also need to be passionate about your idea and push it. You must believe in it first before others do. Those are the most critical steps because many ideas have died in people’s heads.”

“You have to be patient with your idea because they usually don’t materialize immediately. HiPipo has for example been in business for more than 15 years. It takes time. You must have the tenacity to continue every year chasing that dream that you have. You also have to have the flexibility of mind to adapt to the idea. The more you learn, the more you will have the flexibility to tweak your ideas,” Damali Ssali explained.

Throughout the third day of this Hackathon, the diversity of ideas among the teams was astounding – from solutions aiming to connect housemaids to customers to savings and credit solutions targeting farmers and small businesses. There are also solutions focused on providing car owners with reliable mechanics during emergencies, and others reimagining Uganda’s modes of payments.

Throughout Day three, the facilitators listened attentively, their faces reflecting a range of emotions – intrigue, curiosity, and admiration. After listening to the team’s presentations, they provided insightful feedback, pushing the teams to delve deeper into their concepts, challenging assumptions, and encouraging them to consider the broader implications of their innovations.

“You don’t just wake up one day and put an idea on the market. You should consider the time span and the costs involved. If you plan adequately, you will make sure you work within the stated timelines. Look at the function requirements of the idea and find out what you really need,” Simon Peter Kamya, a Ugandan developer and one of the facilitators noted.

Collaborations also continued to blossom among the teams as they realized that their solutions often intersected, reinforcing the belief that collective efforts could lead to even more impactful results.

Paul Baker, the Principle Product Manager at INFITX highlighted that trust is of paramount importance while developing payment solutions.

“Trust builds user confidence. We need to build up a trusted relationship,” he said.

The afternoon mentor, Marion Kirabo – a legal associate at Matrix Advocates took the participants through Business Registration, Intellectual Property and Regulations.

She emphasized the need for Innovators and Tech Start-Ups, in general, to pay close attention to the latest legal developments in the industry such as the National Payment Systems Act, 2020.

Running for the 4th consecutive year, the Women in FinTech Hackathon is not just a competition; it is a platform for sharing and learning, a crucible of ideas that have unlimited potential to transform lives.

This Hackathon is part of the broader Women in Fintech initiative that also includes a Summit and Incubator program; all 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.

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.

Innovators Tipped on Fundraising and Financial Management on Day Two of the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon

Day Two of the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon was a huge success highlighted by participants presenting their refined Problem Statements and Business Cases.

The day started with a deep dive into both the Mobile Money ecosystem and the Mojaloop Open Source Software presented by HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya and Paul Baker, the Principle Product Manager at INFITX respectively.

This was followed by teams presenting their improved Problem Statements and Business Cases.

According to Dorothy Kabarozi, a Full Stack Software Engineer and Facilitator of the Women in FinTech Hackathon, this year’s edition has a variety of fresh innovations compared to the previous edition.

“On day two, we got to know an in-depth description of the solutions that the participants are trying to build for their different communities. There are several interesting solutions this year that we did not have in the previous hackathons. There are several innovations in areas such as Taxation, Forex Trade, Village Loans and Savings, Rural Women and Refugees’ Empowerment,” Kabarozi said, adding;

“The participants are really getting down to serious work now with a special focus on the pain points affecting their target audience. They are more engaged and willing to improve the solutions, which is a positive for them and the project.”

Furthermore, Franklin Ssozi, a senior Software Architect took the participants through the product development journey highlighting the need for all innovators to pay close attention to the KYC (know your customer) principle as it usually determines the success of any solution.

The late afternoon session took a different direction with the participants being trained on Fundraising and prudent Financial Management; two topics that are at the heart of potential success and possible failure of any business. This training was delivered by Vivienne Iga Kikoni, a Digital Finance Professional.

In her mentorship session, Vivienne Iga Kikoni noted that good fundraising starts with good financial management. In very simple terms, she noted that financial management means planning, organizing, directing and controlling financial activities.

“To succeed in business, you need to be specific. Your goal must be well-detailed with clear targets for a month, 3 months, 6 months, one year and five years, etc. Put all this on paper and diligently follow it. Whatever you intend to bring to the marketplace needs to generate income because fixed and operational costs will be incurred, leaving you with a margin of which taxes are paid to leave you with what actually goes into your pocket,” Kikoni said. 

She further noted that there are several pillars of fundraising such as strengthening relationships and support, raising awareness about your cause, providing donors and sponsors recognition, and building your donor base; which, if well executed, will pave the way for fundraising and other engagements.

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.