Uganda’s HiPipo named among top digital innovation champions

The Global Business Leaders Magazine has named Uganda’s financial technology company HiPipo among this year’s world’s top 20 companies accelerating innovation in the digital financial services market.

Hipipo, which was the only African company on this American magazine’s list, was specifically applauded for championing digital innovation and financial inclusion across Africa under their ongoing Include Everyone programme.

“With a keen interest in women empowerment, HiPipo’s events help reduce the barriers perpetuating the gender gap by providing women with technical and business skills in digital financial services. It enables sustainable and inclusive growth and drives financial inclusion by advocating for reducing widespread interoperability issues leading to the exclusion of poor and vulnerable groups in the financial system,” the magazine noted.

Retail payment systems

Through the implementation of various initiatives, the company supports the creation of domestic and cross-border instant retail payment systems that enable wide economic growth.

The firm is also facilitating the delivery of affordable and innovative financial products to poor and vulnerable groups by advocating for use of digital financial services to support the establishment of sustainable and inclusive growth. It is also supporting fintechs and their collaborators to make it easier and cheaper for customers to engage with the formal financial inclusion ecosystem.

Other companies on the world’s top 20 list include Naborforce, Helpware, Proximity Space, Gulf Data Hub, SMT Energy and Motus Inc. The rankings looked at companies at the forefront of digital innovations across the world, with special emphasis on inclusion.

Championing inclusion

HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya said that appearing on such a list was a testament to the company’s 18-year journey of championing inclusion for everyone.

“It is always refreshing to see our work appreciated by reputable organisations such as the Global Business Leaders Magazine. These are indeed fruits of a dedicated team determined to change lives of people especially (those) found at the bottom of the pyramid,” Kawooya said.

Founded in 2005, HiPipo was started by a team of young enterprising minds who came together with the desire to change and excitement about billboard charts and people awards.

Promoting local music

It began by promoting local music using digital means and awards. The firm eventually started the HiPipo Music Awards in 2012.

Through their Include Everyone programme, the company first organised the Digital Impact Awards Africa in 2013, which eventually led to initiation of other programmes focused on low-income digital users, special interest groups such as women, PWDs, rural organisations and small formal and informal businesses.

Headquartered in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb, HiPipo has conceptualised and actualised several sector-changing initiatives to put Africa’s digital innovators on the required pedestal, helping them solve problems.

These include the 40-Days-40-FinTechs and FinTech Landscape Exhibition, the Women-In-FinTech Hackathon, Summit and Incubator and one of the continent’s most distinguished awards for digital innovation – the Digital Impact Awards Africa.

Main innovations’ beneficiaries

Mr Kawooya said that these initiatives and their related activities, publications and implementations have put HiPipo among the most important conveners of the various players in the fintech and digital financial services space, with its actions and advocacy geared towards having the unbanked and the marginalised as the main beneficiaries of these innovations.

As a result, the company has attracted partners and top funders like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“In future, we strive to continue doing our best. We are planning to implement and scale initiatives on the continent that increase the number of African women in leadership positions through efforts such as the Women-In-FinTech Hackathon, Summit, and Incubator. With financial exclusion persisting in Africa due to various reasons, HiPipo is aiming to accelerate its advocacy for the demand of creating instant and inclusive payment systems across Africa,” Mr Kawooya said.


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