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Three local startups in Rwanda have won seed fund to a tune of $6,000 (approximately Rwf5 million) at the ‘DataHacks4Fi Competition’ in Kigali.

Happening for the first time, the DataHacks4Fi (Data Hacks for Financial Inclusion) is aimed at leveraging technology to deepen financial inclusion in the small East African country.

It is also part of other series of competitions that will be bringing together data specialists and financial service providers to leverage tools and technologies for crowdsourcing data-driven solutions to real-world problems.

The competition which was launched in November 2016 saw 38 applicants submit their entries before 20 teams were chosen and given a two-week intensive training.

A panel of judges would later choose 10 finalists who were taken through a two-month mentorship programme before overall winners were selected.

HelloJob emerged the overall winners of the competition.

Only three of the ten would later be selected as winners and were announced at an awards ceremony held on Friday, February 17th.

The three winning startups included Hellojob which emerged the first scooping $2,500; UPlus, the first runner-up that walked away with $2,000; and MVend, which emerged third and were awarded $1,500.

Prior to selecting the winners, all the ten semifinalists were allowed an opportunity to pitch their ideas and a group of the jury came up with the three finalists basing on varied criteria, including the relevance of the ideas, the scalability and how sustainable they are.

The competition was organised by the ICT Chamber in partnership with Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) and the awarding ceremony was presided over by the Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana.