BusinessDay

How Bethel, Astra, Esusu won EFInA/GIZ hackathon contest

EFInA and GIZ have declared teams Bethel, Astra and Esusu as the winners of its recently concluded ‘MSME Finance… Breaking Barriers’ Ideathon-Hackathon.

The hackathon competition challenged innovative developers to come up with groundbreaking solutions to help facilitate micro-businesses access to finance from formal sources in Nigeria.

As committed financial service providers (FSPs) introduce these solutions into the market, the aim is to facilitate MSMEs’ access to formal credit to increase their overall contribution to the economy.

Team Bethel’s MVP, which clinched the first position with the grand prize of N3 million, is an app that enables microlending among MSMEs, as lenders and merchants alike can digitally access the creditworthiness of potential borrowers as well as log in loan requests through an online and offline mode.

The second and third place positions were respectively won by Team Astra, which offered a solution for farmers in rural areas whereby loans can be accessed by simply depositing their grains as collaterals; and Team Esusu, which provided a digital thrift savings and credit appraisal app for MSMEs.

EFInA/GIZ acknowledged the efforts of all participants, particularly the top 16 teams – Sanwopay, Techmenders, Grader Tech, Pacify, Astra, GodhandX, Esusu, Lamuni, Windscope, Rootech Solutions, Sleek, Athens, Fleek, Bethel, and Include Me – that developed interesting ideas and MVPs with the potential to enable microenterprises to thrive.

Read also: Maaji Noma emerges AFEX’s 2022 ag-hackathon winner

The participating teams took on the challenge of developing creative and innovative ideas, and MVPs that addressed one of the broad objectives and thematic areas such as Financial Management Skills Development, Digitised Credit Appraisal and Lending System, MSME Product Design Toolkit, and Alternative Collateral Options.

According to a statement, the winners of the hackathon were presented with their awards and cash prizes at an event on MSMEs financing held in Lagos recently.

While commending FSI for successfully implementing the Ideathon-Hackathon, Isaiah Owolabi, CEO, EFInA, stated that driving access to financial inclusion is one of the biggest ways to end poverty in Nigeria, “and part of this is ensuring that MSMEs can have access to finance and help accelerate the impact of a lot of interventions.”

He further explained that technology is an enabler hence the reason EFInA and GIZ organised the hackathon, to ensure that innovation and technology are leveraged to accelerate the impact of financial inclusion intervention in Nigeria.

Markus Wauschkuhn, the Cluster Coordinator, Sustainable Economic Development Cluster (SEDEC) and Head of Programme, Pro-Poor Growth, and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria – SEDIN, GIZ, congratulated the winners of the Ideathon-Hackathon.

He stated that the winning solutions when implemented would help break some of the limiting barriers MSMEs face thereby enabling the sector to deliver more gains to the nation.

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