The second edition of the Payaza Hackathon, a pivotal event dedicated to fostering innovation and driving advancements in the African payments gateway and finance sector, was held successfully over two days starting from November 22 to 23, 2023.
The event saw a convergence of brilliant minds, industry experts, and some of the leading voices in the tech and finance sectors. Building on the success of its maiden edition, themed "Rethinking Payments: Driving Financial Innovations Towards Customer Satisfaction," Payaza Hackathon 2.0 continued to push the boundaries of creativity and problem-solving.
Five outstanding teams—Peerloom, Payverdict, Naya, Iya Finance, and Enigma—emerged from an initial call for participants, showcasing their prowess in developing solutions that align with the event's theme: "Empowering Africa: Leveraging Regenerative AI for a Tailored Financial Journey."
Mentored by industry experts, the teams embarked on a journey to create innovative solutions that could potentially reshape the financial landscape of the continent.
The hackathon had an esteemed panel of judges, some of whom are Adeoluwa Akomolafe (CIO, Wema Bank), Tife Akeju (Country Director, Obsidian Achernar Nigeria), Edwin Enwegbara (Managing Director, Eauxwell Nigeria Limited), Jacqueline Aby (Founder & CEO, MagmaTech), and Kayode Fadahunsi (CEO, Prosperis Holdings Limited), among others, all of whom brought a wealth of experience to the evaluation process.
Honourable Tolani Sule Akibu, Commissioner for Tertiary Education in Lagos State, graced the occasion and emphasised the importance of fostering collaboration between the tech industry and educational institutions. The intersection of academia and industry was a recurring theme in his speech, highlighting the crucial role that education plays in shaping the future of technology.
Deborah Animashaun, a distinguished software engineer at Payaza and a member of the winning team from the inaugural hackathon, shared her journey and insights at the event, with her presence adding a unique perspective and offering encouragement and valuable tips to participants before their presentations.
The teams presented a diverse range of solutions, each addressing specific challenges within the financial sector and beyond. Peerloom's solution, called Creditcheq, for instance, demonstrated an innovative approach to reducing bad loan portfolios by 60% using artificial intelligence. Team Payverdict introduced Ada, a personal marketplace assistant designed to empower vendors to manage orders and close sales more effectively.
Team Naya presented their privacy-focused AI tailored for financial institutions, aptly named Naya, while Team Enigma showcased Afriaid—a web app leveraging generative AI to assist businesses in managing financial data, querying and visualising their data, and providing informed advice.
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Team Iya Finance, staying true to their name, presented a solution aimed at helping individuals better manage their savings and financial goals while building financial literacy skills on the go. Described as "your AI financial mom," the Iya Finance solution resonated with the overarching theme of empowerment and tailored financial journeys.
Following intense interactions with the participants and insightful feedback on refining their products for target markets, the judges reached a unanimous decision on the winners. Teams Iya Finance, Naya, and Enigma emerged as the grand prize winners, first runner-ups, and second runner-ups, respectively.
In recognition of their outstanding contributions, Iya Finance received the grand prize of $5000, Team Naya secured $3000 as the first runner-up, and Team Enigma claimed the second runner-up position, receiving $1500.
Notably, Payaza also acknowledged individual excellence by awarding a $200 cash prize to standout members of each team. Additionally, every participant in the grand finale of the Payaza Hackathon 2.0 received $100, courtesy of the organisers, ensuring that dedication and innovation were duly celebrated.
As the curtains fell on Payaza Hackathon 2.0, the event not only showcased the incredible potential of Africa's tech talent but also underlined the crucial role of collaborative initiatives in driving innovation and progress.