Women innovators challenged on prudent financial management

Women innovators have been told that whatever their inventions and solutions, bad financial decisions can ruin good business.

The advice was part of a mentorship presentation given by Damali Ssali, Head of Programs and Projects at Private Sector Foundation Uganda during the ongoing Women in FinTech Hackathon on September 10.

The mentorship focused on fundraising, financial management and how to break into a highly competitive market for start-ups.

“Good financial management should start with you before you even think of a business, because the principles are actually the same,” Ssali said.

“You need to understand how much money you make in a month, where does it come from and how do you spend it. This will help you make the right financial decisions both personally and professionally.

“The principle of saving is the same whether you have 10,000, 100,000 or sh1m. You have to have the discipline to save a little money. You can find people who earn a lot but with very little savings, then find people who earn modestly but with huge savings.

Now in its third edition, the Women in FinTech Hackathon is part of HiPipo’s commitment to empowering women with the digital and financial inclusion skills they need to get started; innovate, prosper, earn and develop their families and communities.

This year’s edition brought together 20 women-led teams of two to four members each.

The 2022 Women in FinTech Hackathon aims to close the gender gap in access to technology, skills and the use of digital financial services. It will provide women innovators and students with the opportunity to use digital financial technology to explore business concepts.

The hackathon will introduce participants to useful tools and offer an introduction to technologies such as open-source software Mojaloop, as well as guidance from the Level One Project’s commodity hardware.

The skills acquired through this initiative will cover Tier One Project Principles, Inclusive Instant Payments Systems (IIPS), Inclusive Finance and FinTech in general.

According to Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi, lead facilitator of the project, the Hackathon is key to closing the gender diversity gap that is currently seen in the tech industry.

“The technology exists, but it is a male-dominated space. So when HiPipo comes up with such a project, it tries to bring more women into this space. The women who are trained here will contribute to the future not only to close the gender gap, but also to change their communities.It is a learning vehicle that enriches the ladies and inspires them to venture and actively participate in the fintech industry Kanyunyuzi explained.

The Women in FinTech Hackathon will culminate with the Women in FinTech Summit on September 16, where the top performing teams and individuals from across East Africa will be announced and awarded their share of the collective prize pool of $10,000 (sh38m) . The top teams will also automatically qualify for the Women in FinTech Incubator program which will run until January 2023.

The Women in FinTech Hackathon, Summit and Incubator project is presented by HiPipo in partnership with Level One Project, Mojaloop, ModusBox, CyberPLC Academy and Crosslake Technologies and generously supported by the Gates Foundation.

Geraldine L. Melton