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Mbarara University Engineering Students Triumph at 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon

Written by on August 19, 2023

A triumphant wave swept through the Mestil Hotel in Kampala as a trio of brilliant engineering students from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) emerged victorious in the grand finale of the 2023 Women in FinTech Hackathon.

The resounding announcement was made amidst an atmosphere of anticipation at the 2023 Women in FinTech Summit, graced by the esteemed presence of Hon Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo, the Minister of State for ICT. The summit, a culmination of the week-long Hackathon that unfolded from 10th to 17th August, was the much-awaited crescendo.

The champions, known as “E-Parking,” consist of three remarkable young talents: Christine Amutuhaire and Charity Ainembabazi, both pursuing Biomedical Engineering, and Elian Mwesiga, a trailblazer in Software Engineering.

Despite being in the nascent stages, E-Parking’s winning creation has taken the form of a financial technology-powered innovation that promises to revolutionize parking experiences within Ugandan cities. Their pioneering mobile app holds the promise of reshaping how parking is perceived and managed.

The dynamic trio showcased a fully functional minimum viable product (MVP) that seamlessly demonstrated how their digital platform could streamline parking processes and optimize resource management.

E-Parking’s MVP boasts an array of cutting-edge features, including QR Code-Initiated Parking, Real-Time Payments facilitated by Mojaloop software, App Tokens for Payments, and Session Alerts.

In a fiercely competitive arena that featured over twenty-five teams, including notable contenders like BorePay and Business Banking Hub, E-Parking emerged triumphant. The journey of their innovation, driven by dedication and meticulous planning, culminated in a moment of exultation.

“We are absolutely thrilled. We believed in our product but winning came as a delightful surprise. The Hackathon has been an exhilarating experience. This victory validates our solution. We are committed to pushing it forward and launching it on a broader scale. We express our gratitude to all participants for their robust and positive competition. Special appreciation goes to HiPipo and its partners for orchestrating an exemplary Women in FinTech event,” exclaimed Christine Amutuhaire, the exuberant leader of the E-Parking Team.

BorePay, the runners-up, have been diligently developing a pioneering USSD-based payment platform. Their creation is poised to ensure consistent access to safe water for rural communities by channeling boreholes’ repair and maintenance fees from residents, supplemented by diverse forms of fundraising. Meanwhile, Business Banking Hub has conceptualized an inclusive bulk payment solution tailored for the unbanked informal sector.

Hon Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo lauded HiPipo for pioneering technology-driven women’s empowerment, affirming the government’s unwavering commitment to supporting initiatives that amplify the voices and capabilities of women and youth.

“While Uganda’s female population stood at 50.71% in 2020, women remain disproportionately underrepresented among the banked. The challenges they face in accessing digital technology, acquiring skills, and embracing financial products are significant,” remarked Hon Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo.

She continued, “HiPipo’s Women in FinTech training strides in as a bridge across this divide. We applaud HiPipo and its partners for their dedication to levelling the playing field. Their resolute dedication propels Africa closer to harnessing its complete digital potential, ensuring that digital financial services benefit all. The collaboration between HiPipo and the Ministry of ICT is pivotal. It’s about more than providing services; it’s about understanding the deeply ingrained social norms that hinder women’s financial ascent. This insight, complemented by research from the Level One Project, affords a comprehensive perspective on these challenges.”

In a remarkable show of parity, the top seven teams were recognized for their outstanding contributions: E-Parking – 4 million UGX, BorePay – 2 million UGX, Business Banking Hub – 1.5 million UGX, FinHub – 1 million UGX, HPaysa – 1 million UGX, Tax on Point – 1 million UGX, and Simbula Tugende – 1 million UGX.

The Women in FinTech Hackathon, Summit, and Incubator Program, meticulously executed by HiPipo in collaboration with Level One Project, Cyberplc Academy, Crosslake Technologies, INFITX, Ideation Corner, and Mojaloop Foundation, have once again demonstrated the remarkable potential of women in fintech. As the fourth consecutive year concludes, the initiative continues to propel the advancement of women in technology, fostering sustainable growth and fostering transformative financial products that cater to diverse needs.

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