Two woman-led startups won seed funding round in the Builtbyher Hackathon held by the United Bank Limited (UBL) in collaboration with the LMKT and the National Incubation Centre Karachi (NICK).
The Hackathon focused on empowering aspiring female entrepreneurs to create new technologies to improve Pakistani women’s economic inclusion while promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education amongst young women.
At the event, 13 participating teams pitched innovative solutions driven with the aim of making formal banking accessible and inclusive. The female-led teams took the stage and pitched their solutions to a panel of banking and startup industry leaders.
The panel included the Head of Digital Channels at UBL Aliya Ahmed, the Head of Innovation at UBL Zohair Saif, the Project Director of NIC Karachi Omar Abedin, Program Manager of NIC Karachi Sana Shah, and the Managing Director Bykea Faizan Laghari. The event was also attended by Group Executive Digital Banking UBL Sharjeel Shahid.
After an intense round of pitches, the panel of industry experts selected the two submissions that stood out from the rest.
Team Oval 2.0 won the competition and took home the first prize of seed funding of Rs750,000 for their cutting-edge and innovative solution. Using VR technology, the team gave an immersive look into a complete end-to-end banking experience in the metaverse.
Team FromHer from Gilgit Baltistan won the second prize of Rs350,000. Their solution focused on training women from far-flung areas in the use of digital banking channels and financial rights and literacy as a whole.
Introducing such solutions into Pakistan’s economic value chain will open up new opportunities for economic growth as more of the unbanked population begins to adopt formal banking solutions.
On this occasion, the chief guest of the event, Shazad G Dada, President and CEO of UBL said, “Gender diversity and financial inclusion have always been the top priorities of UBL. We are proud to have sponsored the BuiltByHer Hackathon to support the young women of Pakistan showcase their ideas and talent.”
“As Pakistan’s most progressive and innovative financial institution, we always look forward to participating in initiatives that promote diversity, and digital literacy and contribute positively towards the country’s economy,” he added.
CEO of LMKT Atif Rais Khan lauded the untiring efforts of all the participants, mentors, and judges for coming together as a collective to create a platform for young women to utilize and showcase their talent.
He also shared his excitement about partnering with UBL and said, “Having a banking leader like UBL onboard spearheading the cause for gender inclusion in the economy is an extremely encouraging sign for the country’s future. The role that women play within our society cannot be understated. We must do our best to provide them with the opportunities they deserve.”
BuiltByHer Hackathon 3.0 highlighted the potential of both Pakistan’s creative and driven young women and the economic possibilities that can be achieved through technology and collaboration between industry leaders.
UBL and LMKT are committed to supporting the development and implementation of the most promising solutions that ensure the impact of women’s inclusion in the entrepreneurial landscape of Pakistan.