Day One @ Ignite Hackathon Nairobi

The Ignite Hackathon kicked off yesterday in Nairobi, witnessing over 80 developers register on day one. Other than the busy coding activities, the day was highlighted by an interesting speaker faculty, including James Mwai, winner of the Nokia for Millions Challenge.

The event, organized by eMobilis and sponsored by Nokia, took place in Startup Garage Nairobi, and was first of its kind. According to Ken Mwenda of eMobilis, more events will planned in the future.

Peter Karimi, representative of the main sponsor Nokia, told that they were looking for unique ideas with award winning potential. “Nokia needs to protect its reputation. There’s a reason why our Nokia store has only slightly over 9000 applications published. We are keen on what is published there.” Peter Karimi told the developers.
On a different note, Safaricom’s Head of Digital Innovation Peter Mugambi said that money was available to support social innovations by young developers. He however said that there was a shortage of good ideas.

“Safaricom is now looking for the next big thing. M-Pesa was it a few years ago but that is old news now” Mugambi reiterated.

He also urged developers to grow a wing in the creation of ideas and not just focus on the technical aspect of development. “ If you are going to develop, then you need to understand the sector that you are building for “ he said.

Money is the ultimate goal when it comes to starting up any business. This is what Mbugua Njihia, CEO of Symbiotic.co.ke told the listeners at the event as he urged developers to value their time.

An idea that takes you long enough to execute is probably not so good. It is important to try your luck with another idea if the first doesn’t seem to work out.” Mbugua said.

Having won 75, 000 Euros from Nokia, James Mwai, developer of AroundMe, said that he had been developing for the Nokia platform for a few years. He urged developers to have courage in promoting their ideas as well as exploiting free programming resources on the internet.

On Sunday, 15 developers will be shortlisted for a final pick by the judges. The top winners will bag cash prizes- 1st Prize ($ 5,000), 2nd prize ($ 3000) and 3rd prize ($ 500) while the winning app in the media category will win a contract with Kenya media house Capital FM to develop a news app.

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