Mariam Matiashvili from LEO IPS: About the Coding Challenge for Ukraine hackathon and Ukraine’s financial inclusion in the EU

One of the best examples of the successful integration of Ukraine into the EU can be easily seen in numerous joint projects in the field of financial technologies.

The Coding Challenge for Ukraine hackathon is a great example of a platform for such knowledge exchange. This platform can be used not only by Ukrainian IT specialists and fintech mentors but by official representatives of the European Union as well. СBDO at LEO International Payment System Mariam Matiashvili tells about the hackathon and its significance in the integration of Ukrainians into the European space in an interview with UA.NEWS.

What is the real value of the Coding Challenge for Ukraine hackathon for the LEO International Payment System?

Mariam Matiashvili, First of all, LEO International Payment System is a technology company. Every year we integrate new payment methods and expand our product range. Our team is interested in forming an innovation cluster in Ukraine while creating a developed system of stimulating young people in the field of IT.

The hackathon is one of the best methods to achieve these goals. Participation in such projects gives aspiring participants a chance to develop their products, find necessary specialists for their teams, as well as to receive financial support.

On the other hand, the Coding Challenge for Ukraine hackathon is not only about innovation and stimulation, but also about the integration of Ukrainians into European society.

The main idea is to create a technological solution in response to the challenges of war: Refugees, economic recession, destroyed infrastructure, and many other unpleasant things. It is also worth noting that the majority of the participants are Ukrainians who demonstrate a high level of IT education. They represent a real value for the EU. We are ready to further stimulate the Ukrainian economy, education, and the European vision.”

What does participating in the hackathon mean for you personally?

Mariam Matiashvili, The hackathon introduced me to a lot of talented people who are leading Ukraine towards sustainable development. In joint projects with representatives of the European Commission, the Diia team, UAFIC, and EDFA, we are already preparing the foundation for the post-war reconstruction and development of Ukraine.
This is a network of new contacts and people with common values and plans. I have to confess that personally for me a hackathon is a place of fresh ideas that can be developed into prospects and big projects.”

What role did the European partners play in this initiative?

Mariam Matiashvili, “Already during the award ceremony in Brussels, the organizers of the hackathon admitted that this is a unique case when representatives of the European Commission take part in such an informal technological event.

Today, the European Commission is taking real steps to deal with the refugee crisis. Currently, they are in search of valuable technological solutions for the integration of Ukraine into the EU.

Let me remind you that the presentation was attended by Mairead McGuinness. She is the European Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability, and the Capital Markets. She talked a lot about Ukraine. In addition to financial inclusion for Ukrainians in the EU, she wants to solve issues of overcoming the financial crisis caused by the war.

Mairead focused on the European perspective for Ukraine, which is being formed at an incredible pace today. She noted that the hackathon is a great example of the confident actions, creativity, and skills of Ukrainian fintech, which will definitely benefit Europe.

The participation of the leaders of the European community in the hackathon was of great importance both for the teams and for the organizers. We have attracted their attention, which means we have created a really valuable product.

In addition, their support shows the openness of the EU towards Ukrainian business and people.”

Your colleagues from Belgium, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands attended the award ceremony. How do they feel about the war in Ukraine?

Mariam Matiashvili, Experiences are something common not only for states but for ordinary citizens. First of all, our colleagues were interested in the lives of ordinary people. After that, we discussed the operation of the financial system in the country. Finally, we had only one question: What is the logical conclusion of this war?

There is a clear understanding that the conflict in Ukraine has turned into a problem for the whole of Europe. And everyone wants to solve it as fast as possible. The war has pushed Ukrainians and Ukrainian businesses into the EU market. And this is a new market with many players looking for their niche. People from the EU are more than open to us, and they are even ready to allocate a piece of their space for our people and companies.”