Kenyan App Wins Nokia Contest

A Kenyan has done it again. James Mwai, the creator of the Ovi Store app AroundMe, has bagged himself a cool 75,000 Euros for his ingenuity and courage to enter the Nokia competition Create 4 Millions Series.

This is the second time a Kenyan has won a Nokia challenge, coming hot on the heels of John Waibochi of Virtual City who bagged 1 million dollars, two years, in Nokia’s Growth Economy Venture Challenge.

With your Nokia N9, users can download the app and use it to locate business and service like restaurants, gas stations and many more. This app, which took two years to develop, has received over 250,000 downloads on Nokia’s Ovi Store. Mwai’s app won in the category of “In the Know” and is the one of three winners from Africa.

Another app from Africa was Mohammed Diab from Egypt with his app I’m Feeling. This app lets you categorize your friends in terms of “Happy”, “Sad” or “Moderate” hence choosing which status updates to read from social networks. Mobiraba developed by David Vannucci from South Africa was a winner in the category of “Fun and Games”.

James Mwai’s app won the prize money of 50,000 Euros in its category. AroundMe also won a special prize from Nokia for Best Series 40 Web App with the Columbian app HeatMap and split the prize money between them. This means James bagged a total of 75,000 Euros. Split or not, this is still a sign of confidence that the world should recognize this part of the world in IT innovations.

With over 1200 entries, the Nokia judges had a hard time to select winners in each of the category. A win for a Kenyan app definitely puts the IT sector on the map. During a recent visit to Kenya, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, committed Nokia to invest more in mobile apps in the country.

The contest winners were announced during the Nokia Developer Day held at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The top ten winners in each category walked away with undisclosed cash prizes.

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