Being part of it’s drive to provide a platform that promotes innovation and digitization, to address financial services issues and social challenges, Wema Bank hosted it’s maiden 3-day hackathon session in Lagos. Themed the “Wema Bank Hackatholics” it brought together hackers and developers as well as stakeholders in the Fintech ecosystem. The MD/CEO of Wema Bank Mr Ademola Adebise in his opening remarks said the hackathon session was a platform for generating ideas, that will be of immense value to the Nigerian financial services industry and economy. Giving the keynote serial entrepreneur Mr Iyinoluwa Aboyeji Co-founder of Flutterwave and Andela emphasized the need for digital financial services, to explore solutions that empowers Nigerians economically. Considering the World Bank report that Nigeria had over 80 million poor people, Mr Aboyeji said the central thrust of the financial services should be creating economic value for the populace. The opening day of the Wema Bank Hackathon featured a panel session with Fintech industry leaders, who shared their perspectives on how solutions can be developed to address socio-economic issues in the country. Some of the key takeaways from the panel session include;
- The need for Fintechs to connect people through innovation
- The need for Fintech to deploy innovation to provide real-time solutions to financial services and socio-economic issues
- The need for Fintechs to demonstrate value which is the basis for effective collaboration with banks, in order to scale financial services.
The Head of Corporate Strategy for Wema Bank Mr Femi Akin-Folarin said “This is about the digital space and what we are trying to do here, is to explore the options from the people who use our digital products. What we have gathered here are some of the brightest brains in Nigeria and what they are doing is trying to hack the problems faced by users, as an interactive bank”. He asserted that Wema Bank was taking people from outside the banks to address the issues in the industry. Head of Innovation, Wema Bank Dr. Constantinos Thanis also said “Wema Bank Hackaholics” was a platform to enhance the innovative profile of the bank. Dr Thanis said in hosting the Wema Bank maiden Hackaholics, the innovation centre reached out to all the digital technology and innovation hubs in the country. According to him 650 people registered with 200 startups applying for the hackathon. At the end of the hackathon session the winning team will go home with $10,000 and will also work with Wema Bank for 6 months to develop products that are suited for the financial services market.