Local startup, GO limited yesterday emerged as the winner of the Rwanda leg of Data Hack 4FI (Data Hack for Financial Inclusion), a regional innovation competition that brings together African businesses in data science to develop solutions that promote financial inclusion.
GO emerged the top winner walking away with $5,000 (approximately Rwf4.2 million) with its platform AgriGo that helps inform a farmer about a price range within which they can sale their produce by using data and analytics.
It is this innovative project that saw them emerge the top winners of the competition, which took place at the Kigali Convention Centre (KCC).
Startups were judged on their proven ability to impact more people, level of capacity building demonstrated, use of data and analytics, and the extent to which they were addressing financial inclusion.
Indeed, AgriGo was qualified enough to beat all five teams that were present in the stiff competition. The platform does not only inform farmers about the use of fertilisers, but it also helps expand their market base by connecting them to potential buyers.
With the platform, farmers of maize, Irish potatoes and rice, among other crops, are also able to record their daily activities which may help in easy planning. It is a system that is addressing the challenges that majority farmers across the country face, judges said while awarding them.
On the other hand, Exuuus, another startup won the Women and Youth component of the competition, scooping $2,500 (approximately Rwf2.1 million).
Exuus developed a data management platform that enables savings groups to handle savings group data and other financial sector data to allow them make informed decisions.
The competition which is organised by Insight2Impact (i2i) in partnership with Rwanda’s ICT Chamber and Liquid Telecom is happening for the second time.
The local contest will be followed by a grand finale which will bring together top startups from six countries from the region.
According to Hennie Bester, i2i programme director, the ultimate goal of the competition is to promote the use of data in designing and delivering valuable financial services.
“We want to assist private financial institutions like financial technology companies and other financial service providers to use data to promote the spread of financial services to people who are currently excluded,” he said, adding that the competition is also a demonstration of what can be done with data.
Bester also revealed that finalists from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia will join the finalists from Rwanda during the Transform Africa Summit in May where the grand finale will take place.
Antoine Sebera, the chief innovation officer at Rwanda Information Society Agency (RISA), said that the initiative is line with the country’s overall agenda to promote digital services, reiterating the government’s commitment to support startups.