DataHack for Financial Inclusion

The Innovation Village has partnered with various players in the financial inclusion field to work on Datahack for Financial Inclusion. This is because the World economy’s operating system is being rewritten. Flows of people, capital, information, and commerce now determine who is winning. As this happens, emerging technologies are changing our society by scale and complexity.

McKinsey estimates that this change is happening ten times faster and at 300 times the scale. Or roughly 3,000 times the impact. Amidst this, new realities are shaping life back home in Uganda as we know it.

Now standing with the youngest population, 69% of Ugandans are 24 years and below. With a current population of approximately 40 million people. 25,000 young people will be joining the labour force every week by 2020. With a theoretical education system in place. A Better option is key in preparing us for a completely new future.

Our work at The Innovation Village is a direct response to this call. Every generation has a revolution. The revolution of this and the next generation is innovation and entrepreneurship.

Globally, Innovation and entrepreneurship are taking on a new role for society today. Technology is changing how we live and connect. As we have experienced at home, it is also an agent for good. As various initiatives have demonstrated what Tech4good can achieve. An example is the Hack4Refugees. Where we have built Digital solutions for refugees and host communities.
The initiative, supported by MercyCorps, UNCDF, and DanChurch Aid. Sought to boost the connectedness of refugees to the wider socio-economic system. So that they become agents of development of their own lives as well as their host community.
The 10 solutions. Currently being accelerated peak to 3 critical challenges faced within the settlement. KUMI-KUMI, One of the solutions. for example, will seek to put refugees back to work and include them.
Given they will earn a living and restore their dignity. They will be able to produce items. starting with art and crafts. And can sell these via an online platform to customers worldwide. From unemployment. Financial Inclusion and an increasing focus on SMEs and renewed drive for SDGs. Progress across these challenges requires an inclusive approach. which with the help of technology can get accelerated.

Think about the impact of mobile money. And how it redefined the pathways for financial inclusion. As an innovation hub, we are in constant search for opportunities. To advance the role technology plays in this transformation. This presents a wave of challenges. with an equal measure of opportunities that need us not to think outside the box but to think like there is no box.

Challenge 1: What do you do with an early ecosystem lacking the critical pillars. To not only support the process to start, to build, and grow sustainable ventures?

Challenge 2: How do you approach this with a focus on sustainability. given there is no self-sustaining Hub in Africa?

Challenge 3: The speed of technology means our life as we now know it is changing faster than our ability to adapt to it. as we are getting used to AI, Machine learning, and IoT, incomes Blockchain. As we adapt to new technologies, we have to remain relevant to the local content.

Collaboration is the new competition.

Our work has always inspired by the need to unlock opportunities. for Uganda’s innovation ecosystem.

This, of course, cannot be easy in an early ecosystem. Given potential partners are also trying to figure the opportunities out. A central theme of our work is we are only as good as the partners we have. DataHack4FI an initiative of I2I presents such an opportunity to explore. In its second season, DataHack focuses on building solutions that advance financial inclusion.

Season one brought together 28 startups to innovate around various datasets. This saw the winning teams competing at a regional stage in Kigali for a chance to win $100,000.

With a different focus, Season two will seek to support Startups from 1–9 years in operation to better understand and make use of their data.

The initiative will pair up companies that have not yet made use of data to drive product refinement/development. with data scientists (fellows). The goal is to show the value of utilizing internal data. To drive business operations and strategy.

From our experience. Initiatives like these, build a collaborative spirit in the innovation ecosystem. which is much needed at this point. DataHack is also supported by Financial Sector Deepening Uganda. Who not only brings along local expertise but also builds constructive partnerships between Technology solution providers and Financial Service Providers.

Why does all this matter? Because innovation remains one of the biggest advantage accelerators for our biggest community challenges. The DataHack wants to achieve this. By promoting the use of data and analytics for evidence-based decision-making. With the aim of better serving the underserved-including women, youth and smallholder farmers.

Skills of the future

During the Hack, we will connect emerging data scientists who will have opportunities to apply their skills to the challenge to deliver valuable financial services to the unserved and underserved across Africa.

Plotting Uganda to the regional and global map

There are six country-level competitions. The top teams from each country will join the DataHack4FI Grand Finale in Kigali, Rwanda.

The startup world is well known for coming with up new disruptive ideas. Organizations are good at scaling up and incremental innovation. Putting this together will spark a new form of collaboration. Thus contributing to a new opportunity.

DataHack is focused on building new local, regional and global collaborations that will go on to impact trends. Trends like financial inclusion, building new skills and leveraging technology for development.

This article first appeared on The Innovation Village Medium Account.