The One Money Hackathon event, sponsored by NetOne, TelOne, Finmark Trust and Elevate Trust was held from Friday 13 th to 15 th of July at the TelOne Center for Learning. At the launch breakfast, Mr. Spencer Manguwa of NetOne underlined five reasons behind implementing a hackathon in Zimbabwe at this point in time including;

  • Youth engagement to create employment
  • Use of data for innovation: share the data that MNOs curate with the community for the betterment of Zimbabwe
  • Strategic partnerships with innovation hubs such as Elevate Trust.
  • Creation of a culture of innovation in Zimbabwe. He wants Zimbabwe to start showing that it has the highest literacy rate in Africa by focusing on innovation and practical solutions.
  • Improved competitiveness among MNOs

The Permanent Secretary for ICT reiterated some of Manguwa’s statements emphasizing the need for innovative, data-driven solutions that span across multiple economic sectors. Dr. Kundishora also highlighted the need to protect Intellectual Property (IP) and that any sort of hackathon should also include training on IP rights. He indicated how financial inclusion is a key driver to economic prosperity and encouraged mobile giants to connect everywhere so as to make information more widely accessible. Finmark Trust’s Nikki Kettles echoed the Permanent Secretary’s message of making financial services work for the poor. Finmark Trust is in the process of opening an office in Zimbabwe and their work will focus on cross-border remittances. Throughout the weekend, workshops were held and mentors walked around the room advising hackers on best strategies as well as adding value to innovations. On Sunday, participants presented their market ready fintech solutions to a panel of judges. Five challenges were provided by the partners and five winners emerged from those challenges as detailed below:

  • Challenge 1-Team Hokoyo, loan solution on mobile platform
  • Challenge 2-Team OneTeam, InsureTech
  • Challenge 3-Team Shift One, a quicker way to transact using mobile money
  • Challenge 4-Team Kamifa, an informal e-commerce platform
  • Challenge 5-Team Power Rangers, an edutech product

We are especially proud of Team Shift One as Clive Nyapokoto, who scooped the biggest prize at the event, is a committed member of Impact Hub Harare. Although there were only five winners, all the solutions presented were innovative and inspired. The start-up ecosystem in Zimbabwe is developing at incredible rate, especially with mobile giants like TelOne and NetOne taking interest. Impact Hub Harare continues to encourage similar partnerships on both the local and international stage. Although venture capital is still a nascent idea in Zimbabwe, the start-up environment as a whole is a space to watch.

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