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Team Bethel clinches EFInA/GIZ virtual Hackathon’s N3m prize• Astra, Esusu emerge runners-up

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The 2022 virtual hackathon challenge tagged: ‘MSME Finance… Breaking Barriers’ organised by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) in partnership with GIZ, and facilitated by Financial Services Innovators (FSI), has produced winners with innovative solutions geared towards addressing some of the key challenges hindering access to finance for MSMEs, from formal financial services in Nigeria.

A total of 67 teams (209 participants) registered for the Ideathon-Hackathon, which included four pre-submission webinars by industry experts to support teams in developing relevant solutions.

The participating teams took on the challenge of developing creative and innovative ideas, and minimum viable products (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. A panel of six judges reviewed the ideas developed by the teams. Winners were selected based on the quality of the MVPs, innovativeness, scalability, and potential impact on the economy.

Following numerous evaluation rounds, the selected top 3 winning teams are Team Bethel, which emerged as the winning team in the competition, comprised of Dara Olabampe and Ogheneakpobo Oghoro. The team won a cash prize of N3 million.

Team Bethel’s MVP, E-GET-DEBT is an app that enables microlending among MSMEs, as lenders and merchants alike can digitally access the credit worthiness of potential borrowers and log their loan history through an online and offline mode. It creates a credit history for micro and nano MSMEs even within their community and enhances their chances of accessing loans from financial services providers.

Team Astra finished in 2nd place, comprising Nnaemeka Eziamaka and Michael Eziamaka. The team won the sum of N2 million. Team Astra’s MVP is an app that allows an individual or a group of farmers to use their produce/grain as a form of collateral – Grain-Receipt.

Team Esusu, which included AbdulAzeez Oguntoyinbo, Emmanuel Asaolu, Joseph Ashogbon, Oluwaseun Omale, and Ifeanyi Maduagwu came third, winning the sum of N1 million.

Also, team Esusu’s MVP is a digital thrift and credit system designed for MSMEs to access microcredit, leveraging regular thrift savings schemes to build their creditworthiness and validating KYC data towards enhancing the delivery of digital financial services to the last mile.

In his remarks at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, EFInA, Mr Isaiah Owolabi, expressed gratitude to GIZ and FSI, the implementing partner, as well as the developers and general participants. According to him, addressing the access to finance barriers MSMEs will have a productive impact on the Nigerian economy, tackling some of the economic issues.

On the other hand, 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.

The MSME Finance… Breaking Barriers Ideathon-Hackathon showcased Nigeria’s potential for developing homegrown solutions that promote microbusiness financing from formal financial service providers in Nigeria.

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.

A representative from the winning team expressed immense gratitude to the organisers of the hackathon for the opportunity to showcase their creativity and innovative prowess in the bid to address some of the plaguing issues hindering MSMEs in Nigeria.

The SMEDAN/NBS 2020 Survey reports that the Nigerian MSME sector has about 39.7m businesses and contributes 46.3% to the National GDP, equally accounting for 87.9% percent of employment. The sector has huge potential that is yet to be maximized because of several impeding challenges such as access to finance.

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