FSI, NACOS host hackathon, seek tech solutions for Nigerians

… Developers to get N2.5m prize money

Financial Service Innovators and the Nigeria Association of Computing Students are set to host a hackathon to address dominance of cash transactions within the informal channels in the suburban parts of Nigeria, including university communities.

The FSI and NACOS Innovative Challenge, themed ‘#TechonDemand’, will virtually hold  from October 1 to 9, 2021, and physically from October 12 to 14 at Nile University, Abuja, with over N2.5m prize money up for grabs, according to a statement issued on Monday by Plexus Media Interlinks, the public relations agency to FSI.

“The aim of the event is to address the dominance of cash transactions, manual processes and access to financial services among retailers, small enterprises and individuals in the suburban parts of Nigeria, including university communities and environs.

“It will focus on the digitisation of key sectors such as education, health, financial services and transportation in a manner that makes them all-inclusive, improving access, removing barriers and lowering costs, thereby achieving social, digital and economic inclusion,” the statement read in part.

It pointed out that the FSI and NACOS challenge would be used to provide solutions to activities that include buying and selling of goods and services, savings, investment, remitting of money and commuting from one place to another without the use of cash.

The organisers stressed that the event was informed by the need to provide the best, simple and easy-to-use solution for the unbanked and under-banked communities.

“Cash remains the preferred and dominant option for micro and small businesses, retailers, entrepreneurs and others in the suburban areas, and thus value chain integration will not be maximised. Low adoption of financial services will have a negative impact on the financial inclusion drive.

“Opportunities for businesses to scale are minimal as access to credit is limited, given the challenges associated with manual processes for cash transactions. This also has a negative socio-economic impact on the nation,” they stated.

According to the statement, registration is open to participants till October 1 via bit.ly/TECHONDEMAND.

The participants are to focus at least on one sector by providing a solution that can solve the problem of cash dominance, access to services in that sector, and manual processes, among others.

“The solution should focus on addressing the dominance of cash collections and the integration of a digital system in the transportation sector; an on-the-go learning solution that campus students and lecturers’ community will gladly embrace in the education sector; digitising the healthcare services and making it more efficient and affordable,” it explained.

FSI and NACOS disclosed that team members, whose entries were adjudged the top three would receive prize money, while the fourth to tenth positions would receive consolation prizes.

The prizes include N1m (overall winner), N500,000 (first runner-up), N300,000 (2nd runner-up). The fourth to tenth positions will get consolation prices of N100,000 each.

The partners include EFInA, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, Flourish Ventures, Flutterwave, Wema Bank, Sterling Bank, Zenith Bank, Capricorn Digital Ltd and AXA Mansard.

The Executive Director, FSI, Aituaz Kola-Oladejo, said, “Nation building is our primary focus and we will continue to work with stakeholders in the financial services and tech ecosystem at large to build an integrated, innovative and collaborative ecosystem.

“We are a shared infrastructure for the financial services ecosystem and our primary goal is to discover and nurture talents, even from tertiary institutions, because we believe in home-grown innovative solutions.”

According to her, FSI is set to keep the Nigerian technology flag flying high, while assisting more Nigerian startups to join the global tech community.

“Technology is a veritable tool to take Nigerian citizens out of poverty as well as drive financial, social and economic inclusion,” she added.