By Prince Osuagwu
As part of its efforts to educate and enable Nigerians to reduce their reliance on cash, the global payments firm, Visa, has announced the launch of the Cashless Lagos Hackathon in partnership with Lagos Innovates, an initiative of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, LSETF.
The three-day event, which is scheduled to hold from 14 to 16 September, will seek to digitize payments for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, and will be delivered by Passion Incubator. The hackathon is open to software developers, programmers, coders, data specialists and designers who have the capacity to create lasting technology-based financial solutions for MSMEs who are beneficiaries of LSETF.
Through the hackathon, participants are required to come up with solutions that would allow the business owners to receive payments, make bulk purchases and keep inventory of their transactions, thereby allowing access to bank loans and government grants.
Kemi Okusanya, Country Manager, Visa West Africa said; “This partnership is part of our strategy to help merchants become more financially responsible. What makes this hackathon unique is that it encourages Nigerians to develop locally relevant solutions, tailored for their specific environment and needs. We are always looking to support innovative programmes that can better equip individuals to manage their money more effectively, and these solutions will achieve that.”
Six teams will present their ideas to the judging panel consisting of representatives from a cross section of business and payments experts drawn from the public and private sectors. Three finalists will be selected based on impact, design, innovation, and customer validation. The winning teams will receive N2million, N1million and N500, 000 grants respectively to be used for the development of the solutions, courtesy of Visa.
Commenting on the partnership, the Executive Secretary, LSETF, Akintunde Oyebode said: “We are pleased to have Visa on board with us for the second edition of our Hackathon. Lagos State is the economic capital of Nigeria and the home of Africa’s leading startups. Our partnership with Visa puts us in a unique position to help uncover, support and apply emerging technologies to some of the biggest transaction challenges faced by entrepreneurs. We are excited by the possibility of leveraging technology, especially digital channels to improve our current cash-based economy.”