Earlier this month, the Luxembourg Tech School (LTS), an extracurricular school programme supporting the development of future digital leaders, held the first international online hackathon bringing together bright young minds from around the world with the aim of fighting poverty with smart technologies.
Today, there are more than two billion people who do not have access to basic financial services. In recent years, digital solutions have aimed to improve financial capability, health and social well-being, increasing individuals’ ability to generate income and manage finances. Building on this idea, the LTS organised, alongside its main financial education sponsor Fondation ABBL pour l’éducation financière and other partners, this international online hackathon.
From 5 to 7 February 2021, nineteen international students and nineteen LTS students joined forces, immersing themselves in this two-day intensive online hackathon to fight poverty.
Coming from Egypt, Armenia and Luxembourg, the students impressed the audience members with their vision, agility and creativity in tackling one of today's most important issues: fighting poverty and helping those who are left behind by the traditional financial services industry. In 48 hours, the students worked tirelessly to build the future of inclusive digital finance products and services, taking the shape of mobile applications for small investments, financial education chatbots, decentralised peer-to-peer lending platforms, and more.
The students challenged themselves to bring to life mature projects, ready to be implemented. Each of the eleven teams was supported by the LTS coaches and a range of international mentors coming from the finance and technology industries, as well as those tackling financial inclusion directly, with concrete experience on the ground (notably on the African market), which provided valuable real-world perspective.
On the Sunday afternoon, after an intensive weekend, the students pitched their ideas in front of a jury composed of Bénédicte Godefroid (Project Manager at ADA), Hilda Moraa (CEO of Pezesha), Eric Busch (CEO of Nexten.io), Rasha Negm (Head of Fintech and Innovation at the Central Bank of Egypt) and Nasir Zubairi (CEO of the LHoFT).
After intense deliberation, the top three prizes went to:
- 1st Prize: Loan4All with a cash prize of €1,600
- 2nd Prize: Savify with a cash prize of €900
- 3rd Prize: Synergy with a cash prize of €500
Yves Maas, Chairman of Fondation ABBL pour l’éducation financière, commented: "The Fondation ABBL pour l’éducation financière is proud to encourage this type of initiative. Firstly, for its ultimate goal, to find innovative solutions to facilitate financial inclusion for all, and secondly, to stimulate the creativity and innovative ideas of young people in the digital area. The approach of this hackathon clearly reflects the conclusions of recent studies revealing that digital financial literacy makes financial education more effective”.
Sergio Coronado, Founder and Chairman of LTS, added: “A very important element in education is the context, we must teach around real business and societal issues. Digital financial inclusion to fight poverty is a very important societal topic and with the impressive ideas and projects the young hackathon international participants came up with after only two days of intensive work, we successfully showed the industry that innovation and quality is possible at an early age".
Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT, concluded: "As can be expected now from LTS, the standards of the projects in the hackathon were incredibly high. It is so inspiring to see these young talents showing such a mature grasp of problems and coming up with practical and well-developed solutions. What they achieve over the course of a few days is amazing. Well done to all".