As the sun rose on the third day of the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon, a sense of purpose and determination filled the atmosphere in Kampala. With participants hailing from both Uganda and Kenya, this event stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, diversity, and innovation in the world of Financial Technology.
The day commenced with eager teams, each composed of passionate individuals boasting diverse backgrounds and skill sets, converging to refine their initial concepts into fully-fledged Financial Technology solutions. Under the theme of “Entrepreneurship and Startup Guidance,” the day promised wisdom and insight from none other than Damali Ssali, Founder of the Ideation Corner and Chief Programs and Projects Officer at the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU).
Ssali’s morning presentation reverberated with the essence of collaboration and innovation, drawing parallels to the transformative journey of HiPipo itself. With HiPipo’s history intertwined with pioneering ideas that transcended obstacles, her message carried the weight of experience. Emphasizing the importance of testing ideas, finding supportive allies, and nurturing passion, Ssali advised the aspiring entrepreneurs to believe in their ideas before others do.
“Patience” emerged as a resounding theme in Ssali’s guidance. She underscored the necessity of patience in the journey of idea realization, citing HiPipo’s more than 15 years in business as a prime example of time’s role in maturing concepts. “You also have to have the flexibility of mind to adapt to the idea,” Ssali noted, emphasizing the importance of learning and growth.
Throughout the day, the diversity of ideas among the teams came to the forefront. From connecting housemaids with customers to innovative solutions for savings and credit in agriculture and small businesses, the scope of innovation was breathtaking. Car owner assistance during emergencies and reimagined modes of payment for Uganda were just a few examples of the remarkable range of ideas.
The facilitators, reflecting emotions of intrigue and admiration, provided insightful feedback as they delved into the teams’ presentations. Encouraging deeper exploration, challenging assumptions, and exploring the wider implications of innovations, their guidance fostered an environment of growth and critical thinking.
Collaboration emerged as a consistent thread, as teams realized the intersections in their solutions. This collective spirit showcased the potential of unified efforts to yield an even greater impact. Trust was highlighted by Paul Baker, the Principle Product Manager at INFITX, as a cornerstone in payment solution development, emphasizing the importance of building user confidence.
The afternoon session, led by Marion Kirabo, a legal associate at Matrix Advocates, focused on Business Registration, Intellectual Property, and Regulations. The need for close attention to legal developments, such as the National Payment Systems Act, of 2020, underscored the evolving landscape for Innovators and Tech Start-Ups.
The 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon, now in its fourth year, transcends being a mere competition. It is a platform for sharing, learning, and igniting ideas with boundless potential to transform lives. Part of the broader Women in FinTech initiative, which includes a Summit and Incubator program, the Hackathon is a collaborative effort by HiPipo in partnership with Level One Project, Mojaloop Foundation, INFITX, Cyberplc Academy, Crosslake Technologies, and Ideation Corner, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The culmination of the Hackathon will be marked by the Women in FinTech Summit on August 18th, 2023. Here, outstanding teams and individuals will be recognized and rewarded, sharing in the USD 10,000 collective prize money. Winners will also earn coveted spots in the Women in FinTech Incubator program, propelling them into a realm of innovation, growth, and success within the dynamic realm of financial technology.
In a world constantly reshaped by innovation, the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon stands as a beacon of transformation, a catalyst for change, and a testament to the enduring power of collaboration and innovation.