Thirty (30) teams that were carefully curated by HiPipo from a competitive pool of over 100 innovative submissions from Uganda and Kenya have been competing in this year’s Women in Fintech Hackathon developing groundbreaking financial technology (fintech) products and solutions.
After a long week of solutions’ ideation and development, the teams on Thursday pitched their final minimum viable products (MVPs) to a panel of selected hackathon jury comprised of six (6) judges — where only three (3) would emerge as winners.
In a blog post, HiPipo said, “The past week has been exciting and action-packed.” “We have seen teams develop their nascent ideas into MVPs. The majority of the teams have indeed put in so much effort and we really appreciate this. To us, all the teams are victors.”
On Thursday each of the team was given 10 minutes to demonstrate how their innovative solutions worked.
The judges followed the presentations attentively. For each developed solution, the judges looked for innovativeness, business value, feasibility, potential impact, and integration with Mojaloop Open Source Software. In addition, 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.
Even though all participants were regarded as financial inclusion champions, only three teams were sharing the cash prize of USD$10,000 (approx. UGX37.3 million).
In the presence of the Minister of State For ICT, Hon. Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo — who also was the Chief Guest, HiPipo revealed the top seven (7) teams exceptional teams which included: Borepay, Business Banking Hub, E-parking, Simbula Tugende, Taxi On Point, FinHub, and Hpaysa — out of which they would later announce the top three teams.
HiPipo in a statement said, “These seven (7) innovative teams have shown remarkable dedication and creativity in driving financial technology forward.”
After a couple of speeches and panel discussions, HiPipo officially announced the three winners of the 2023 HiPipo Women in FinTech Hackathon — with E-Parking emerging as the overall winner, while Borepay and Business Banking Hub came in 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
HiPipo didn’t reveal how much each received out of the USD$10,000. However, the rewards extend beyond mere financial gain — as the victorious winners automatically earn a coveted place in the Women in FinTech Incubator program, scheduled to run from September to December 2023.
Notably, Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi, the Hackathon’s Lead Facilitator in her remarks said “The hackathon’s success showcased how diverse teams of women can break barriers and lead change in the Fintech sector.” Furthering remarking that “The event also highlighted the boundary-less nature of innovation and such initiatives hold the key to a more inclusive, innovative future for Fintech.”
Stella Lugalambi, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Hamwe East Africa tipped all the participants on overcoming challenges and building resilience. She urged the innovators to consider formalizing their FinTech solutions through registration and in the long run, getting regulator licenses.
“Right now, FinTech is regulated by the Central Bank of Uganda and as an innovator, find out where your product falls and understand what is required to register it,” said Lugalambi. “Even if you don’t get a license immediately, at least you will know what is required when that time comes.”
Lugalambi urged all the participants to remain, firm, resilient, and focused on achieving their dreams.
Concluding her remarks she said, “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 startups.”
The Women in FinTech Hackathon 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.
This is not merely a competition but a launchpad to greatness, offering not only recognition and financial rewards but a pathway to further innovation, growth, and success within the dynamic field of financial technology.