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Bahrain FinTech Bay kicked off the Middle East & North Africa’s first “BENEFIT FinTech Hackathon for Sustainability” in grand style earlier this month. Organized in association with BENEFIT and the Manama Hub of the Global Shapers Community, the event started with 50 participants from across the region.

The inaugural MENA chapter of the FinTech Hackathon is backed by Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and Tamkeen. Knowledge partners include Al Waha, Amazon Web Services, United Nations Bahrain, Ey MENA, Bank ABC, and Global Islamic and Sustainable FinTech Center.

The hackathon will span four weeks before wrapping up in mid-April. It includes a series of workshops that bring along highly experienced mentors, as well as internship opportunities. There will also be separate team building sessions.

At the end of the program, a panel of judges comprising top industry professionals will evaluate the innovative ideas pitched by all participants. Among other perks, the hackathon will ensure that the winner and their ideas receive the attention and exposure they deserve.

“As BENEFIT, we want to be present and engaged when it comes to creating awareness on FinTech tools, specifically on how to harness these tools to accelerate progress on the SDGs. FinTech will bridge the gap and create new pathways to innovation and opportunities for all,” said Abdulwahed AlJanahi, CEO of BENEFIT, during his opening speech at the event.

He further pointed out that the hackathon is an exciting platform for university students interested in getting some early exposure to the realm of financial technologies.

“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.”

In the third week of the program, AWS will organize a “Training for Startups” program where the participants will get to spend some valuable time AWS experts and learn the nitty-gritty of how to launch a successful startup using different AWS solutions and programs.