Wema Bank Plc has announced the commencement of application entries for tech talents across Nigerian universities through its hackathon initiative, tagged “Hackaholics 4.0.”
Tunde Mabawonku, the bank’s executive director, of digital services, while speaking on the commencement of the entries for Hackaholics 4.0 in a press conference held recently in Lagos, noted that the initiative is aimed at enhancing innovation among Nigerian youths.
Mabawonku said this year’s Hackaholics is focused on building finance beyond technology and will be looking at entries with innovative solutions on how to solve gender violence and promote entertainment, among others.
The Wema executive also noted that the bank will reward the three best innovative ideas with N3 million, N2.5 million, and N1.5 million respectively, while stating that it will specially recognise and give N1 million to any outstanding female-led tech startup across the country.
According to Mabawonku, through the project, the bank would be engaging 10,000 tech entrepreneurs, producing 5000 solutions, creating six pitch centres and having almost one million footfalls during the campaign. He explained that Hackaholics is a major innovative project of Wema Bank for start-ups, and the company is ready to host the largest campus hackathon this year.
“We have been doing this for the past four years, and in that period, we have been able to bring in over 200 sharp guys to come and code and give us options and solutions for the future. We are doing this because we want to continue to groom tech talents, not just for the current needs of the economy, but also for the next generation,’’ Mabawonku said.
“As we plan the next eight decades of Wema Bank, we need to innovate and help encourage others to innovate. We try to get the best and brightest and give the country ideas on how to transform our organisations to become world-class”, he added.
Olusegun Adeniyi, the bank’s chief digital officer, said the bank has successfully disrupted the digital banking ecosystem by producing the first digital bank and creating unique experiential banking with ALAT.
“We have been driving with the mindset of innovation. We are looking to be an ecosystem of platforms, a hub for fintech and other players. We are moving to the next phase of digital unbundling,” Adeniyi said.
Babatunde Mumini, the chief transformation officer of the bank disclosed that the Hackaholics programme began in 2019 and its scope and teaching had since been expanded to leverage the tech skills of young Nigerians to drive innovation and solve society’s tech problem.
Solomon Ayodele, the bank’s head of innovation, said six universities would be covered this year as against three last year, which includes Babcock University, Lagos State University, the University of Abuja, the University of Benin, the Federal University of Tech, Akure, and the University of Lagos.