Damali Ssali Joins the HiPipo Foundation Board

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Damali Ssali has honoured the invitation we extended to her and agreed to become a Board Member of the HiPipo Foundation. Damali joins Hon. Eng. David Karubanga, Rose Busingye and Innocent Kawooya, with a worthy mention being made of Prof. Maggie Kigozi and Dr. Frederick Wamala – Ph.D, SABSA, CCSP, CISSP who regularly serve in an advisory role for the Board.

Damali is a business & finance expert with a passion for ideas, innovation and technology that fosters Financial Inclusion. She is the Founder and CEO of the Ideation Corner, a platform on which she has profiled a number of individuals whose expertise and initiatives are a cause for optimism that Ugandans can take the lead in their development and march to prosperity. She recently ascended to Uganda’s Ambassador for the United Nations Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization.

And it is mainly through her irrepressible advocacy for the financial empowerment of women that Damali has found a shared passion and common cause with HiPipo. She has thus been a partner, mentor, facilitator, keynote speaker and Chief Guest in a number of our activities. She also, at a moment’s notice, eagerly extends a hand of friendship and words of advice to those we entreat her to engage.

We are greatly excited that as part of the HiPipo Foundation Board, Damali shall take the lead in our Women-in-FinTech initiative, guiding us through existing activities like the Hackathon, Summit and Incubator, as well exploring more avenues to improve and increase our efforts towards a future where women have unencumbered access to the digital financial services they need.

Echoing this, Board Chairman Hon. Eng. David Karubanga said, ’At HiPipo we have been honoured to engage a number of extraordinary ladies, like our dear advisor Professor Maggie Kigozi. Ambassador Damali Ssali fits in that formidable mold, and we are supremely glad she has joined us. With her, and with the continued support of the Gates Foundation, HiPipo should positively change even more lives’.

Overall, it remains the HiPipo Foundation’s objective to continually include those who are passionate to ‘Include Everyone’.

Welcome, Damali!


As part of our continuous efforts to not only improve the quality and variety of digital financial services, with a special emphasis on those that cater for the unbanked and underserved, but also to ensure that the delivery of these services offers rewards to the innovators, HiPipo sought to build on the gains made from the 2nd Women-in-FinTech Hackathon & Summit. And this we have successfully done by engaging the Hackathon’s top teams in the inaugural Women-in-FinTech Incubator. 

The essence of the Incubator is to empower the innovators with entrepreneurial and operational skills to complement their already formidable technical acumen. Thus, over the course of 90 days, the Incubator participants have been part of multiple online sessions and face-to-face group consultations, with even a cocktail thrown in for good measure. The facilitators, who included HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya and Ideation Corner Founder Damali Ssali, covered a vast range of topics to ready the participants for the business journey ahead. Core to the Incubator was to create linkages between the Level One Project principles and how they can be the firm foundation on which a successful FinTech vehicle is built.

We at HiPipo are glad that March 8th, the International Women’s Day, has served up a fantastic opportunity. In conjunction with the Ideation Corner, we intend to also use that day as the conclusion of the Incubator. It was Damali Ssali, who recently ascended to the Ambassadorial role for Uganda at the United Nations Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organisation (WEDO), and is now also an Advisory Board Member of the Africa Continental Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who helped us shape the idea.

It is greatly symbolic for all of us that the day set aside to remind all that women must be given the opportunities to fulfill their potential, that all forms of discrimination and sexism that have been placed in their path need to end, and that the world will only truly bridge its development gaps if women are fully brought into the innovation space, syncs perfectly with what the Women-in-FinTech Hackathon & Summit in particular and indeed the HiPipo Include Everyone program in general, stands for- to break all biases that hinder the acquisition and adoption of life changing digital financial technology.

And to all those that have successfully taken part, we can assure you that this is just the beginning. HiPipo will continue to be there for you as you set forth to conquer the world with your innovations. Our promise of service is the least you deserve for choosing to make the world a better place through the power of digital financial technology. So handing you your certificates on March 8th is just another landmark in our shared journey. Congratulations, dear friends!

Of mood boards, apertures and universal values: #WomenInFinTech #LevelOneProject Incubator

Arthur expounded on what he referred to the ‘values desirable as social beings’. He explained these as the values that are common and constant to every human being, regardless of their background or status. These include integrity, respect, loyalty and responsibility. They work as uniting factors for any team and/or organisation. In fact, it is nigh impossible for productive working relationships to be built without them inculcated into a team.

Emmanuel Kintu continued on the Fundamentals of Photography, detailing what camera modes there are (automatic and manual), and also touched on speed and aperture priority. He alerted the participants to the fact that henceforth they will need to take time to ‘plan’ for what kind of image/photo they want, especially as they communicate about their products/services. Will it look better in black & white? Should the background be blurry in order for the focus to be on the subject in the foreground? Such are the questions they needed to get used to asking themselves.

Steven Kimuli brought in the aspect of a mood board: it being a collection of textures, images and text related to your company, and thus being essential to the creative process so that efforts directed towards design are not haphazard, and are indeed aligned with your desired creative direction. He also gave pointers on what to look out for in order to hire the right team for a design job, alerting all to the fact that design has its own specialisations, and knowing who to approach reduces on the portfolios you would end up sifting through.

For Innocent Kawooya, the Tiered KYC angle he tackled today was to explain how The Level One Project advises financial players to be innovative and flexible about gathering KYC data. The process should not be overly complicated for the targets i.e. the onus is on the innovators to find fitting ways to onboard those they are interested in, ensuring at the very least they now have a transactional account. He also contributed to the values discussion, as part of a response to a participant who talked of an unfortunate time when she went unpaid for services she had provided. His warning to the participants was for them to endeavour to pay their debts, warning of instances to come when the temptation might come to delay a payment instead settling it immediately.

Camera settings, standing out, & time for KYC: #WomenInFinTech #LevelOneProject Incubator

Emmanuel Kintu rounded off his talk on digital camera settings, touching on the aspects of exposure, shutter speed, aperture diameter and ISO (International Standards Organisation). His presentation, as usual, was furnished with a variety of images to illustrate what he was explaining.

Arthur talked about four categories of value: personal, spiritual, family and career. He again stressed how all are interlinked, and should not be developed independent of each other.

Steven Kimuli’s discussion this time round looked at the things a company (or even an individual) needs to do in regards to branding in order to stand out against competitors. This includes one stepping out of their own space and concentrating on what they are doing, and taking time to get to know both the key players and influencers in their industry.

Innocent Kawooya introduced Tiered KYC as the week’s Principle to concentrate on. He thus highlighted the importance of the innovators understanding their target and/or market. This they should do to the best of their ability, and know that it is a never-ending process to which a fair bit of resources should always be readily dedicated.

The value proposition, types of mass communication, and we bring in the ‘light’: #WomenInFinTech #LevelOneProject Incubator

The aspect of the Social Venture Business Model George discussed today was the value proposition. He described how it is 2-way: on one hand there’s the promise by the service provider to the client that what the former puts forth will be of value. And on the client’s side there is the belief that this value will be delivered, experienced and/or acquired. This’ important for the innovators, for it will always be necessary for them to understand what their clients need, and thus what is expected of them to deliver. Or provide value, you could say.

Continuing on mass communication, Francis defined and discussed three types of it: journalism, advertising and public relations. He illustrated the differences between the three, specifically how all might target the same individuals, but are expected to elicit different reactions.

Emma started his talks on the Fundamentals of Photography, first by getting the opinions of those in attendance on what they believe photography to be. Then in his own explanation, Emma stressed how light is central to the concept of photography. He next touched on what exposure is.

Referring to all that had been spoken, Innocent illustrated how HiPipo’s own initiatives and ventures, including 40 Days 40 FinTechs, the very Women-in-FinTech Hackathon the participants had been involved in, and indeed the ongoing Incubator itself, were run along many of the principles of the Social Venture Business Model. Proper execution of these initiatives needed careful application of various types of mass communication. And, of course, documentation was nothing without photography executed in a manner both skillful and timely.

Consideration of the above is what has helped HiPipo make tremendous headway in advocating for and promoting Same Day Settlement, and indeed The Level One Project in general. They should thus also matter to the participants as they set off on their entrepreneurial journey.

#WomenInFinTech #LevelOneProject Incubator – The social good, major league communication, and stacking up those values:

Kasakya George, who you can now call the ‘Social Venture Business Model Canvas Guy’, further defined the model, this time introducing and defining what a social good is, and how the budding entrepreneurs have to take time to look at their purpose for the business and decide whether it is, well, fit for purpose. A clear realisation on how they hope to help their clients might necessitate a ‘system change’, a new model that calls for a more altruistic approach in order to bring onboard those that need the service the most.

Francis introduced the concept of mass communication, defining it and illustrating how it goes hand in hand with mass media. He also touched on two key theories of mass communication (magic bullet and agenda-setting), and asked the participants to take time to understand how they and their products and services fit into the mass communication and mass media ecosystem.

Arthur further expounded on how important values are to the worker and innovator. As one goes through personal growth, there comes a time where they seamlessly transfer that growth, with the values therein included, into the products they create and the organisations they work for. Needless to say, better people make better products, and are better attuned to the needs of those they are supposed to serve.

Innocent Kawooya, CEO – HiPipo concluded the session by urging the participants to remember that all that was being shared has to be aligned with the principle of Same Day Settlement. How they set up as a business, how they communicate, and the values they cherish as an enterprise need to be in service to this principle, and indeed all the others, as will be discussed in time.

#DIAA2021: Standard Chartered Bank Wins Digital Brand of the Year

Standard Chartered Bank was yesterday announced the 2021 Digital Brand of the year. To win this Award, Standard Chartered Bank beat competition from Stanbic Bank and Centenary Bank that came second and third respectively. As such, Standard Chartered Bank retained the same prize it won in 2020.

Digital Impact Awards Africa is a platform that promotes Digital Inclusion, Financial Inclusion and Cyber security. Precisely, the Awards seek to recognize, celebrate and appreciate different individuals and organizations that are spearheading the use of digital mediums to better serve their communities.

The 8th Digital Impact Awards Africa were held on Friday, 10th December at Mestil Hotel, Kampala as part of this year’s Digital and Financial Inclusion Summit organized by HiPipo and supported by Level One Project, Mojaloop, ModusBox and Crosslake Technologies.

The Digital and Financial Inclusion summit explored the strategic trends and technologies that are shaping the future of Digital, Information Technology and Business with special attention to the safety of customers’ funds and security of platforms in the financial technology industry. The summit discussed at length the disruptive impact of COVID-19 on the general business ecosystem and what players must do to recover.

This year’s summit brought together C-Level executives that are spearheading the introduction, adoption and usage of digital and financial services across Africa. Speakers came from multinationals, large enterprises, small and mid-sized enterprises, start-ups, informal businesses (such as market vendors and smallholder farmers) and sole proprietorships (public transport drivers/riders and e-commerce delivery agents), among others.  

 Below is the full list of winners of the 2021 Digital Impact Awards Africa.

Digital Banking Excellence

  1. Standard Chartered Bank (Gold)
    1. Stanbic Bank (Silver)

Banking Innovation Excellence

  • CenteOnTheGo | Centenary Bank

Community/MFI Banking Innovation Excellence

  • Centenary Bank (Gold)
    • Pride Microfinance (Silver)

FinTech Innovation Excellence

  • Digital Ticketing for Transport Services by KaCyber Technologies. (Gold)
    • SafeBoda Business Loans in partnership with Numida. (Silver)

Financial Services Digital Excellence

  • Stanbic Bank (Gold)
    • Standard Chartered Bank (Silver)

Consumer Goods Digital Excellence

  • Movit Products (Gold)
    • Café Javas (Silver)

Utilities and Government Services Digital Excellence

  • NWSC (Gold)
    • URA (Silver)

Technology Services Digital Excellence

  • MTN Uganda (Gold)
    • Rocket Health (Silver)

Digital Campaign Excellence

  • Stanbic National Schools Championship (Gold)
    • Jumia Anniversary (Silver)

Digital Brand of the Year

  • Standard Chartered Bank (Diamond)
    • Stanbic Bank (Gold)
    • Centenary Bank (Silver)

#LevelOneProject: Kuzimba Services wins 2021 #WomenInFinTech Hackathon

Our Reporter.

The week-long Women in Fintech Hackathon came to an end last Friday with Kuzimba Services, providers of online construction and engineering solutions being declared winners after shrugging off tough competition for the top prize.

Organised by HiPipo in partnership with Crosslake Technologies, ModusBox, Mojaloop and Level One Project, the hackathon that culminated into the Women in Fintech summit, also saw all the teams that made it into the top six rewarded with cash prizes in addition to further three months training –incubation program.

Kuzimba services, whose team leader is Eng. Ephrance Eunice Namugenyi, won the top cash prize of Shs4million in addition to further three month training in different aspects, including business side of technology, product management and marketing. Hack Girls – developers of an interoperable payment platform for NGOs were second while PesaJet – with their digital agriculture platform named Farmore came third.

“What was just an idea has turned out to be real and usable. The hackathon has been hectic but we were up to the task. We knew we had a good product that addresses real community needs but winning the overall product has been a huge surprise,” Eng. Namugenyi told Daily Monitor in an interview after her team scoping the overall prize.

She added:  “With Kuzimba web/mobile app, you can quickly get help on estate/site/home building/construction. We provide online and fast engineering solutions, making purchase of building materials and transportation easy as well as providing access to building experts, carpenters, transportation means, architects, interior designers, cleaners and engineers.”

The Women in Fintech hackathon had 16 teams that were women led and women dominated with each team having between two to four members, majority of whom under the age of 30 years. The hackathon introduced the participants to new and emerging tools and technologies that are available to help them create inclusive and instant payment solutions that can ably serve people at the bottom of the pyramid.

Trials and Tribulations.

Although HiPipo and partners, including Crosslake Technologies, ModusBox, Mojaloop and Level One Project, are looking at empowering more women in the technology space, particular in areas of developing innovative and interoperable technologic solutions, there are still numerous barriers hindering women participation in Fintech and technology as a whole.

Discussing challenges and way forward at the Women in Fintech Summit, Founder and Author of Ideation Corner, Ms Damali Ssali noted that cost of both internet and digital transaction remains way beyond what many women, including those in Micro, Small and Medium enterprises can afford. And this explains why only just about 10 per cent of money is being exchanged digitally in Uganda.

As for Ms Doreen Lukandwa, the Vice President Global Enterprises at MFS Africa/Beyonic, women need to be allowed to be revolutionaries as it is through this freedom to invert and innovate that they can eventually develop products that empower them to be better across the economic sectors.       

Offer support.

Nonetheless, Innocent Kawooya, the HiPipo CEO noted that even amidst several challenges, stakeholders both government and private must continue to empower and encourage more women participation in technology at all stages as this is one of the surest ways of closing the gender diversity gap in the technology space.

“Our intention and that of our partners is to ensure that the technological gender gap is closed. Platforms like the Women in FinTech hackathon and summit are just one example of what we are doing to empower women,” Innocent Kawooya said.

 He continued: “We want to see more women in the digital innovation space, support them to not just understand but also innovate digitally. We will also continue working towards inclusive digital solutions as well as creating technologies that support and help populations at the bottom of the pyramid get financially included.”

Additionally, Hon David Karubanga, the HiPipo Patron and MP for Kigorobya County noted that the government of Uganda is committed to enhancing financial inclusion and women empowerment.

He promised to work with HiPipo to present all the sixteen teams’ ideas to the Ministry of ICT and deliberate on how they can be further helped.

Top Six Teams.

1. Kuzimba Online Services – Online Supermarket for Construction and Engineering.

2. Hack Girls – An interoperable finance management solution to enable NGOs and other organisations disburse bulk transactions to final beneficiaries.

3. PesaJet (Farmore) – A digital platform for smallholder farmers offering garden inputs, markets, savings and loans.

4. Green Shares – Digital Payments for fmallholder Farmers

5. Mpa Mpe – A fundraising platform for young entrepreneurs and their businesses.

6. Farmers Financial Development Avenue (FFDA) – A solution that connects farmers to banks, helping them have easy access to credit services.


#LevelOneProject: Damali Ssali urges #WomenInFinTech participants to use the Internet to improve their Products

Kampala, Wednesday October 13, 2021: Participants at the on-going Women in FinTech Hackathon have been challenged to make good use of the Internet as it has several resources needed for product success.

This message was delivered by Damali Ssali, a seasoned Chartered Accountant, Book Author and the Founder of the Ideation Corner on Day 5 of the Women in FinTech Hackathon.

Damali Ssali noted that even though Product Development and Roll-out is a hectic process, putting the Internet to proper use can help fix several issues.

“The internet as a tool contains a lot of resources from product development, research and fundraising among others. The internet will also help you make sure that the product you are developing is not a duplicate of what is already on the market. The internet will help you improve your product. Put it to proper use,” Damali Ssali noted.

Ms Ssali further asked the participants to join FinTech minded and Tech based groups as these too have a lot of technical resources that are crucial for product success.

She later engaged participants in a question and answer session where teams were allowed to ask questions about Technology, Finance, Marketing, and Fundraising.

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.

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 40Days 40 FinTechs initiative.


#LevelOneProject: Primera Muthoni mentors #WomenInFinTech participants on Product Management

Day four of the ongoing Women in FinTech Hackathon was a huge success as participants learnt about Product Management, Prototyping, and the Digital Financial Services Providers (DFSPs) ecosystem.

The day’s mentor, Primera Muthoni; an ICT Product Development Expert and a senior mentor with Girls for Girls, Uganda Program urged the participants to pay utmost attention to product research, and the know your customer (KYC) matrix as the two are key to product success.

Discussing product management, Muthoni noted that the only way to develop a sustainable product is by identifying a problem, knowing the audience it affects and then coming up with a solution.

She further advised the groups to identify their competitive advantage and include it in their product development stages such that it can be compelling to any potential investors.

“An investor wants to see where you are headed. Does your product have a promise? How do the market projections look like?” Muthoni noted.

She added that a good product should have both a product road-map and technology roadmap and this should be realized in no more than 12 weeks.

“By the time the product is ready, make sure you have double or triple-checked it. Leave no room for a foul start because it creates a bad perception about your product,” she said.

Primera Muthoni was the third mentor at the ongoing Women in FinTech Hackathon that has attracted 17 women-led teams of between two to four members each. The teams are coming up with financial inclusion solutions that address their community needs, aided by Level One Project principles and latest technologies.

The other mentors before her were Catherine Namara; a telecommunications engineer, project management expert, an alumna of the G4G (Girls4Girls) STEM and the current head of fundraising and strategy at Girls4Girls and Doreen Lukandwa; the Beyonic/MFS Africa vice president (global enterprises).

During the Day Four morning session led by Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi, the co-founder of Club Tangaza, the Hackathon participants were taken through Digital Financial Service Providers (DFSPs), Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), and Interoperability Models citing that these help to ease the work of the innovators, by providing customers with real time customer transactions, security, efficiency, accountability and convenience.

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.

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 40Days 40 FinTechs initiative.