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According to Ms Shamirah Kimbugwe, the Pivot Payments founder and managing director, women in Fintech are very few. Therefore, she says, they have to enhance their skills development to overcome the gender imbalance in the financial technology space.
Women in Financial Technology (Fintech) must develop relevant and desirable innovations if they are to successfully compete in a sector that is dominated by men.
Speaking at the ongoing 2022 Women in Fintech Hackathon, which is expected to end today with a summit in Kampala, Ms Shamirah Kimbugwe, the Pivot Payments founder and managing director, said women in Fintech have to enhance their skills development to overcome the gender imbalance that continues to dominate the financial technology space.
“We are very few in this industry. You can count us. We could be less than 10. But times have changed, the issue is no longer about your gender, it is about what you bring to the table and how competent you are. If you compare, technology is more open for women to exercise our expertise,” she said, noting that as Fintech continue to grow, women innovators need to equip themselves with a spectrum of knowledge that will give them an advantage over men.
Women, she said, must come up with innovative home grown solutions to contemporary social and economic problems, which will allow quick automation and delivery of financial services, which is a key factor in the growth of Uganda.
The Women in Fintech Hackathon, now in its third year, kicked off on September 10 and will end with a summit Friday, in which excellent innovators from 20 teams will be rewarded. The 20 were selected from 50 submissions.
The hackathon, which is an initiative of HiPipo, seeks to close the gender gap in access to technology, skills, and usage of digital financial services as well as providing women innovators and students an opportunity to use digital financial technology to explore business concepts.
“Our ultimate objective is to help achieve a level playing field by guiding the African continent into fully maximising its digital dividend and potential, with the entire populace equitably participating in the use, leverage, dissemination, innovation and adoption of secure digital financial services to improve lives,” Mr Innocent Kawooya, the HiPipo chief executive officer, said.
Participants from across the country have since September 10 be trained and meeting mentors and trainers in Fintech to equip them with basic knowledge that can improve their products.
The winning team of women innovators, which is expected to be announced today, will be rewarded with cash price of $10,000 to fund their innovations.
Ms Karen Byanjira, 21, one of the participants from Sueno team, said her team had developed a platform to help low income earners access utilities such water and electricity on credit.
“We have learnt a lot about how to brand and present our products to the clients and potential investors. We have leant how to develop something that the market actually wants. For the time I have been here, I have also learnt to interconnect our ideas with bigger companies,” she said.
Ms Bridget Akankunda, 27, whose team is involved in innovating an e-commerce platform for beauty products, said the hackathon had helped her team of three understand how they could take their product from being an innovation to the next level.
“It has been fun packed, I didn’t know much about product development, branding and marketing and it has changed my whole perspective. We have been able to rebrand the product and it is stronger than it was before we came,” she said.