There are 15 female-led Fintechs participating in this years’ hackathon. Kigozi complimented HiPipo, a local digital and financial inclusion company, for focusing on women-led fintechs, saying women face numerous challenges and that having them innovate solutions for the problems they face is commendable.
Women in financial technology (Fintech) have been urged to be patient if they are to cultivate and grow successful tech enterprises. Speaking during the Women in Fintech hackathon on Monday, Prof. Maggie Kigozi, the Women in Fintech chief mentor, said all entrepreneurs have to hustle for years before breaking through. "You need to have patience; start small, save and run enterprise ethically.
It takes time to build a business, but with persistence, you can make it," she said. Fintechs are firms which use technology to enhance financial processes such as facilitating mobile payments, loan provision, bill payments and money transfers.
There are 15 female-led Fintechs participating in this years' hackathon. Kigozi complimented HiPipo, a local digital and financial inclusion company, for focusing on women-led fintechs, saying women face numerous challenges and that having them innovate solutions for the problems they face is commendable. She, however, cautioned them against rushing for bank credit but rather explore other sources of funding such as family members. "Banks want to give you an umbrella when it is shining but not when it is raining.
When you are still struggling and need money, banks will not look at you because they think you will fail and they lose customers' money. They always want to come in when you are thriving," Kigozi said.
She urged them to take advantage of other available funding lines from the Government and organisations such as Mastercard Foundation, which recently launched the Young Africa Works strategy that targets to enable at least 3 million young people in Uganda and 30 million young people in Africa, to find dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.
Change the narrative The HiPipo chief executive officer, Innocent Kawooya, said they want to change the narrative that women cannot do technology by supporting them to become key players in the Fintech space in Uganda and the African at large.
"It is a fact that most of the big disruptions in technology, especially in the web space, has been by men. We want to bring women on board. We are, however, not alone, the UN and other global foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Foundation are supporting initiatives like these," Kawooya said. Research by DHR International, a global executive search firm, shows that only 8% of fintech directors worldwide are female.
Although there are no readily available statistics, women participation in financial technology in Uganda is negligible. However, the narrative is changing. As part of its ongoing financial inclusion initiative in Uganda and across Africa, HiPipo organised the Women in fintech hackathon and summit under its Include Every One programme, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation.
Developers are convening to develop financial inclusion solutions that address their communities' needs, aided by Level One Project principles and the latest payment technologies such as Mojaloop open source software. Level one principles include open loop interoperability between all providers, instant funds transfers and same day settlement, efficient and tiered Know-Your-Customer, adequate as well as shared fraud service.
Kawooya said having more women involved in financial technology will ensure that products and services on the market are well-tailored to suit their needs. He said while women are the majority, they are less included. "It is important to prioritise women because when women innovate in any sector around technology, they have a big impact because they are more closely related to the problems that people who need such innovations face," Kawooya said. He added that the adoption of ICT-based financial services delivers affordable and innovative financial solutions to the poor, vulnerable and least included groups. "Going forward, we should be emphasising, as stakeholders in technology and financial inclusion, that women are on top of developing solutions that change lives," Kawooya said. Fifteen teams qualified for this year's hackathon which started on September 12, and the summit, with different ideas that seek to solve the immediate problems that Ugandans face .