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Why N6 million is being offered to female techies in the North

Northern Nigerian women have a chance to win a total grant sum of N6 million by participating in a virtual hackathon event for financial services…

Northern Nigerian women have a chance to win a total grant sum of N6 million by participating in a virtual hackathon event for financial services for female entrepreneurs.

The hackathon, organized by Startup Arewa, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), that encourages young people from the North to go into the tech eco-system, will focus on giving female techpreneurs from the region a chance to proffer practical solutions to financial exclusion, especially among women.

They are also expected to proffer solutions to challenges encountered on a daily basis, especially in the areas of savings, payment and credit, which ultimately inhibits expansion of women’s Micro, Small, Medium scale businesses.

The founder of Startup Arewa, Mohammed Ibrahim Jega, noted that the group is creating an ecosystem that stimulates tech entrepreneurship amongst women in Northern Nigeria to allow for innovation.

“According to a report by Price Water Coopers in 2020, 41 percent of micro-businesses in Nigeria were owned by women.

“Reports from Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access, EFInA, also shows that more than 55 percent of financially excluded adults in Nigeria are women and of the 25.1 million financially excluded in the north, 13.1 million are women”, he added.

Who can participate?

The virtual event is open to software engineers and others who desire to develop innovative solutions to tackle the challenges faced by unbanked and underbanked female entrepreneurs in Northern Nigeria.

Registration closes at the 100th team, on or before the 1st of February, 2020.

How to apply

  • According to Jega, interested candidates are expected to apply for the hackathon by logging onto www.startuparewa.ng to form a team of 2 to 5 persons with a team lead.
  • Thereafter, the team lead and team members are expected to join FSI if they are yet to do so.
  • To register the team, the email addresses of all team members are to be filled in.
  • The team lead and team members will then receive a notification email on the successful registration of their team with required next steps.
  • After the receipt of email requesting upload of team’s idea, the team lead is expected to submit idea.
  • Submitted ideas are assessed and best ideas are shortlisted in alignment with the problem statement.
  • The team lead will then submit MVP on behalf of the team upon receipt of an MVP upload request email.
  • Following that, MVPs will be interacted with and assessed by judges.
  • Finally, the winners will be contacted and announced.


The first, second and third winners will be awarded three million naira, two million naira and one million naira respectively.

Combating poverty and unemployment

The hackathon will help encourage a friendly and modern savings attitude thus shifting from the traditional means of savings, Jega noted.

“Business transactions are largely denominated in cash within the informal channels

“Business funds are kept at home because financial institutions are concentrated in the state capital and few distant towns

“Poor record keeping as a result of transacting through informal channels which in turn hampers their eligibility for profit.”

Northern females in STEM

Maryam Lawan Gwadabe, the founder of Blue Hub Saphire, noted that the low female participation is a global issue and not just a northern issue adding that stereotype also has a major role to play.

Maryam Lawan Gwadabe, founder Blue Hub Saphire

“Actually, this is a global issue and not just a northern one, it started from early age where female are provided with dolls and kitchen set to play with while male child are provided with all the techy and robot toys to explore.

“This stereotype made girls to stay away from anything tech and even develop fear for it. I could remember during the boom of internet cafe’ boys got the opportunity to explore the internet while girls where deprived of that opportunity.”

Gwadabe added that females got the opportunity to explore the internet quiet late, giving the male folks an edge over them.

“Females only got the opportunity when internet reached their homes. This gave the male folks who are regarded as ‘first movers’ the advantage to become more skilled in technology than females.

Countering Gwadabe’s view, Aisha Amoka-Mohammed, Program Analyst/STEM advocate highlighted that the number of female techies in the North is on the increase.

Aisha Amoka-Mohammed, Program Analyst/STEM advocate

“I can proudly say the number of female techies in the north is steadily rising. This is because of the constant advocacy for girls in northern Nigeria to engage in STEM.”

Amoka-Mohammed added that culture however plays a huge role in the steady increase of Northern females in STEM.

“Culture indeed still plays a role, the fact that ladies are pushed into courses which are deemed to be ‘easier’ or ‘female like’ thus when it’s said STEM courses allow for intermingling with male genders.”

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