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The first ‘BENEFIT FinTech Hackathon for Sustainability’ in the MENA region, hosted by Bahrain Fintech Bay in partnership with The Manama Hub of the Global Shapers Community, has officially kicked off with 50 participants.
Strategic partners include the Central Bank of Bahrain and Tamkeen Bahrain and ‘knowledge partners’ of the four-week hackathon will be conducting workshops, providing mentors and internship opportunities.
Partners include the United Nations Bahrain, Al Waha, EY MENA, Amazon Web Services, Global Islamic and Sustainable Fintech Center and Bank ABC.
The month-long event will continue until the middle of this month with a targeted weekly programme.
The best innovative ideas will be judged by top industry professionals within the FinTech scene in Bahrain and get exposure for their solutions. Up for grabs are cash prizes, plus more mentorship and internship opportunities for the hackathon winners.
Abdulwahed AlJanahi, CEO of BENEFIT, said: “FinTech will bridge the gap and create new pathways to innovation and opportunities for all.
“The hackathon will be a valuable opportunity for university students – it will allow them to understand the importance of these tools, and how to apply them for sustainable solutions.”
He said the event’s organisers were ‘confident’ innovative ideas will soon be unveiled by the bright participants that could be applied within the financial landscape.
The hackathon kicked off with its first programme – an introductory session on ‘Understanding of sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the role tech can play in having a positive impact’ while obtaining the participants perspective on Bahrain’s priorities.
Industry experts from Ernst & Young MENA and United Nations Bahrain will provide mentorship and stage workshops, helping the youngsters in delegating team roles and responsibilities to gear up for the next few weeks until the final pitches
Design workshop facilitators Tariq Mattar and Bridget Ngcobo have already hosted a ‘design thinking workshop’. And, Amin El Sharkawi, UN Resident Coordinator, has given a personal session entitled ‘The Sustainable Development Goals: Why Now?’ highlighting the opportunities for connecting the industry to sustainability in the context of Bahrain.
Amin said: “The transformative power of skilled youth is beyond imagination. Embracing new technologies such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, blockchain, 3D printing and the genome technology could be the key to accelerating the achievement of sustainable development goals for the people and by the people.
“Artificial Intelligence and financial technology have the potential to accelerate progress towards a dignified life, in peace and prosperity, for all people.”
Amazon Web Services will provide training for startups in the third week of the hackathon. Supporting partners also include Bahrain’s Al Waha Fund of Funds venture capital initiative which will link students to potential venture capitalists within its network.
Khalid Saad, CEO, Bahrain Fintech Bay added: “In collaboration with key FinTech ecosystem players, the FinTech for Sustainability Hackathon provides students with a unique and educational opportunity to learn more about the FinTech industry.
“Our goal is to shed awareness on how FinTech can further develop SDG’s while alleviating Bahrain’s position as a FinTech and Sustainability hub through exposing students to the many unique opportunities that the industry offers.”