Women in Fintech: Govt seeks to close gender gap 

Ms Ssebugwawo (L) and Dr Maggie Kigozi (R), handover a certifcate to Joshua Kato, one of the few male  participants in the Women in Fintech Hackathon last  Friday.  Photo | Ismail Musa Ladu  

What you need to know:

The Women in Fintech Hackathon had since September 10 been engaging and training 20 women-led teams in a number of innovations, among which included digitising of ticketing and booking.  

The Minister of State for ICT Joyce Nabosa Ssebugwawo has said government is deliberate on closing the gender gap that exists between male and female innovators in financial technology (Fintech). 

Speaking during the third edition of the Women in Fintech Hackathon in Kampala at the weekend, Ms Ssebugwawo said Fintechs continue to be dominated by men but there have been deliberate efforts together with other stakeholders to improve participation of women, especially in coming up with innovations that are not only handy, but also solve problems, many of which are faced by women. 

“We are happy that [a number of] partners are exploring women’s formal and informal income-generating opportunities that add value to livelihoods using digital solutions,” she said, noting that to address the gender gap in financial inclusion, the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance has been mapping out challenges that stand in the way of women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment as well identifying opportunities. 

The Women in Fintech Hackathon, which is an initiative of HiPipo and a number of partners, has since September 10 been engaging and training 20 women-led teams in a number of innovations, among which included digitising of ticketing and booking, developed by Team Oliwa Events. 

Other innovations included the Go Green crowd funding platform, Academic Personal Assistant, which enables payment of tuition through WhatsApp and a Land Resource platform that helps in leasing and acquisition of  land. 

Dr Maggie Kigozi, a seasoned businesswoman and leader, told participating teams and young tech entrepreneurs that there was a lot of space in the technology space through which they could innovate to make their mark and support growth of Uganda. 

However, she noted, that it was important that innovators maintain high levels of integrity by delivering innovations that are reliable. 

The third Women in Fintech Hackathon, which ended with a summit on Friday, also recognised innovators with the overall winner - Team Elevation – walking away with a cash prize of Shs4m. 

Team Elevation was awarded overall winner for their innovation that enables women in rural areas to swiftly get maternity services to avert complications. 

About 80 innovators, developers and tech enthusiasts, majority of whom were women, participated in the week-long hackathon that was organised by the HiPipo with support from the Gates Foundation, Mojaloop Foundation, Cyberplc Academy, Modusbox and Level One Project. 

Ms Damali Ssali, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda chief of programmes and project officer, said on the sidelines of the Women in Fintech Summit that plans are underway to roll out tailor-made innovations that will make it easy for women in businesses across all sectors of the economy to accept digital payments without fear of the incurring losses.  

Rewarding innovators        

The third Women in Fintech Hackathon saw all the participating teams and individuals from across East Africa receive a share of the $10,000 (Shs38m) collective prize money with Team Elevation walking away with Shs4m in addition to automatic qualification for the Women in Fintech Incubator programme that will run until January 2023.  

The cash prize seeks to help innovators roll out their innovations to the market as soon as possible.