Applications open for Safaricom’s AppStar challenge

Safaricom in partnership with the Vodafone Group has unveiled an Appstar challenge for local application developers, who will be contesting for a grand prize of KSh1 million.

Runners up are set to walk away with a cash prize of KSh500,000 while category winners will get KSh100, 000.

Winning applicants will further benefit from hosting their applications on the Safaricom and Vodacom stores. According to the organisers of the challenge, developers will be at liberty to determine the prices of their apps based on their business models.

The applications store should be ready by the end of October, said Nzioka Waita, director of corporate affairs at Safaricom

Selection of the competition winners from six categories will take place in a two-stage process: local and international competition. The international competition will be held in South Africa in December, where the winner and the runner up of the local competition will be eligible to compete for the international prizes.

Being the biggest mobile operator in Kenya, Safaricom has been in the front line for ICT innovations. In partnership with the Strathmore University, Safaricom launched the Safaricom Academy for entrepreneurial talent provision with certified qualifications and experiential training. Their first programme was a Master of Science in Telecommunication Innovation and Development (MSc. TID) degree qualification.

“Our innovation is now going to be driven by what can transform the community and society,” Safaricom’s chief executive Bob Collymore told The Star.

The programme has an incubation centre for entrepreneurs to conduct their research and development (R&D) in a professional, friendly and supportive atmosphere.

An important clarification for the ideators is that they will own intellectual property for their apps.

Aside from Kenya, the Appstar contest is open to mobile applications from Egypt, Lesotho, South Africa, Qatar and Tanzania.

For key dates, the apps will need to have been submitted by November 2, 2012 with the evaluation set to begin on the November 3 to 16 by a jury, consisting of representatives selected by Safaricom.

Developers can apply for the challenge at the Appstar portal until October 26.

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