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129 teams jostle for N2.5m in FSI, NACOS challenge

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No fewer than 129 contestants, made up of students from Nigerian universities, have thrown their hats in the ring for the Financial Services Innovators and Nigeria Association of Computing Students’ N2.5m innovative challenge

The organisers disclosed this in a statement on Sunday by Plexus Media Interlinks, the public relations agency to FSI.

“There are only two rounds. The first round is ongoing and the contestants (129 teams) are to submit their ideas using a lean canvas.

“The ideas are the proposed solutions to the problem statement,” the Executive Director, FSI, Aituaz Kola-Oladejo, said.

Tagged ‘#TechonDemand’ hackathon, the first round of the competition, virtual, commenced on October 1, 2021, to run through October 9, while the second round, physical, will commence on October 12 through October 14.

Explaining the idea behind the proposed solutions to the problem statement, Kola- Oladejo said the hackathon would address the dominance of cash transactions, manual processes and access to financial services among retailers, micro, small and medium enterprises as well as individuals in suburban parts of Nigeria, including university communities and environs.

“The contestants are to develop solutions that provide an interconnected, integrated, and all-inclusive ecosystem of Nigerian citizens with requisite services that enables individuals, retailers and small businesses to transact with one another seamlessly daily using digital channels.

“The focus is 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 to cashless suburban communities such as tertiary institutions and their environs,” she said.

The solutions to be provided by the contestants are to enable activities that include buying and selling of goods and services, savings, investing, remitting money and commuting from place to place, to be done digitally without requiring cash, she added.

“The contestants are to build a simple and easy-to-use innovative solution best suited for the unbanked and under-banked communities to address the dominance of cash, manual processes, and ease of access,” Kola-Oladejo stated.

She hinted that the teams that made it to the second round would be revealed on October 10.

The judges for the second round include the Assistant Director, Central Bank of Nigeria, and Head, Digital Financial Services Unit of the National Financial Inclusion Secretariat, Stephen Ambore; Innovation Lab Schools Ambassador for Niger Republic and women in tech ally, Binta Moustapha; and Chief Executive Officer, Odyssey Educational Foundation, Stella Uzochukwu-Denis.

Ambore, an alumni of the Fletcher Business School Leadership in Financial Inclusion programme, holds a second degree in Computer Science.

Moustapha is fascinated by Girls Education, Women Empowerment via second chance initiatives and youth entrepreneurship development projects. She has founded several non-profit initiatives in addition to designing and hosting a handful of innovation challenges, including Co-Launching Hausa Hackathon Project for the West African Sub-Region.

Uzochukwu-Denis is an educational technologist, electrical/electronics engineer, a STEM evangelist at Odyssey Educational Foundation with over 10 years experience in the K-12 space. A master educator with Tec novation, a programme that teaches girls to develop mobile apps, she was significant during the creation of the present curriculum in use by Tec novation.

Kola-Oladejo added that the winners would be declared on October 14 after the completion of the physical hackathon.

“We intend for the pitch session to be streamed live on Zoom and YouTube as well.”

 

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