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A Tech Mind With A Creative Spirit Competes For Top Prize At BE Smart Hackathon

A Tech Mind With A Creative Spirit Competes For Top Prize At BE Smart Hackathon

Jayla Williams’ passion is problem-solving, which is fortunate as the year 2020 delivered a surplus of practical problems that need solutions. The Fisk University sophomore is competing for the first time in Black Enterprise’s annual BE Smart Hackathon, hosted by American Airlines.

As part of a five-member team of Fisk tech wizards, Williams is contributing to a data-crunching project that will help airlines accommodate travelers with respiratory issues. As she explains it: “We can provide safe departure times and make sure passengers with health issues aren’t surrounded by people when they arrive at the airport.”

The effort is a creative technical adaptation to life under a pandemic designed to protect both lives and jobs – a perfect distillation of the BE Smart ethos, and a telling example of Williams’ creative spirit.

Speaking from her home in Hillsboro, Oregon, near Portland., where she distance learning her way to a degree in computer science, Jayla talked about her journey and where it might take her.

“I was born in Los Angeles, but we moved to Oregon when I was one. I have always been creative. I enjoyed art, painting, singing, playing instruments. I studied flute for seven years. I especially enjoyed writing songs. I guess I’ve always been attracted to the idea of creating something from nothing – making something just from the tools I have around me.”

At first glance, one might not see how a love for the creative arts connects a budding career in technology, but for Williams, it was a natural transition. She excelled at math and science, earning a 4.0 average in high school. College was a given, but where?

“I applied to 31 colleges and most accepted me, including Fisk. To be honest, I really wasn’t looking hard at Fisk; it was not my number one

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Yalla Fintech 2020 hackathon opens to applicants to boost financial inclusion

Yalla Fintech 2020 hackathon opens to applicants to boost financial inclusion

UAE-based FinTech Galaxy is accepting applications for its virtual hackathon that will focus on developing tools that can expand financial inclusion for businesses and individuals in the Arab world.

The Yalla FinTech hackathon is a partnership between FinTech Galaxy and German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit to boost financial inclusion. Start-ups and tech firms can now submit their proposals to address technical challenges in digital lending, financial awareness and cybersecurity.

“We are home-grown with a track record and a global FinTech network that enables us to bring together start-ups, progressive banks and ecosystem partners from the Arab markets. In doing so, we harness a common goal, embracing FinTech innovations for better livelihoods,” Mirna Sleiman, founder and chief executive of FinTech Galaxy, said of the hackathon’s launch.

In the Middle East and North Africa, two out of three people do not have a bank account, according to the World Bank.

Financial inclusion is critical for the region’s competitiveness, for employment creation and for raising incomes and reducing poverty, according to the lender.

Businesses need access to financial services in order to invest, innovate and manage cash flow and costs, while households benefit from financial inclusion as a safe place to save and access loans, according to the World Bank.

The latest wave of technology such as artificial intelligence, big data, cloud services and distributed ledgers is affecting financial services at an unprecedented pace. The digital transformation in finance can stimulate competition and product variety for the benefit of communities and businesses in the region, according to FinTech Galaxy, which facilitates the development of applications, products, and services on its online platform, FinX22.

The digital platform enables the screening, interaction and collaboration among innovators, financial institutions, and regulators, allowing them to crowdsource and prototype FinTech solutions prospectively in Fintech Galaxy’s

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