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Absa-backed hackathon adds depth to Botswana’s tech skills pool

Absa Bank Botswana has lauded participation of young entrepreneurs in its inaugural virtual hackathon, organised to encourage growth of SMEs and Fintech start-ups.

Launched in January, the hackathon saw 14 teams compete to develop innovative solutions and concept models designed to solve operational challenges faced by SMEs

Innovatium took first place and received P50 000, BSSR won second spot and pocketed P30 000, while Code Brewers came in third place and was awarded P15 000.

The top three teams also participated in an incubation programme involving tuition from industry experts on various aspects of entrepreneurship and technology.

Announcing the winner, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said: “Growing the information and communications technology sector remains one of the government’s focus areas.”

Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane, Managing Director, Absa Bank Botswana said digitisation is changing business models, and this has prompted the Bank to support skills and innovation within the technology space.

“We are constantly looking for digital solutions and ideas to transform and revolutionise our industry as well as support young talent to pursue their ideas,” said Pheko-Moshagane.

She pointed out that the Bank continues to collaborate with partners like the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) and the Botswana Innovation Hub to help develop the country’s small business and start-up ecosystem.

“These partnerships are another way in which we will seek to collaborate on efforts relating to innovation, technology and skills development in our community,” said Pheko-Moshagane.

Absa Botswana Chairperson Neo Moroka added that the Bank recognises that over the past decade ICT has helped create the most rapidly growing industry sectors, driven efficiency in business operations, and developed the essential building blocks to a knowledge-based economy.

“We can no longer deny the critical role that the growing ICT sector plays in our daily lives. Moreover, as we continue to navigate the challenges posed by COVID-19, it is evident that technology has assumed a prominent place in the running of any business,” said Moroka.

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