Safaricom has awarded six early stage mobile technology startups with a cumulative cash prize of KSh3.7 million (US$43,000) through the Safaricom AppWiz Developers’ Challenge.
The challenge is designed to help local developers form startups and partner with industry players in offering enterprise solutions, and was anchored on entrepreneurship and capacity building within the mobile apps space.
The contest has been running for the last six months and attracted 1,569 applications and 274 mobile-based ideas, 48 of which were shortlisted to attend a hackathon session from which the top 18 teams were selected to participate in a three month incubation process.
Bob Collymore, Safaricom chief executive officer (CEO), said: “The search for sustainable growth is what has brought us here today. Innovation and growth are strongly connected and talking about one without mentioning the other is difficult.”
‘Tichaa’, an app that allows children to learn Swahili in a fun and engaging way, was awarded KSh1.7 million (US$20,000) for winning the education category and emerging top overall.
Developed by a team called ‘Thirst Interactive’, the app has attracted local and international interest and is currently on the Safaricom Appstore and Google Playstore.
M-Ledger, an application that enables customers to manage their M-Pesa transactions, was placed second and took home KSh1.2 million (US$14,000).
Bud Doctor which won in the health category, the Maasai Moran App, which addresses the challenges faced by the Maasai boy, My Taxi App which won in the games category and Sokonect, an agricultural app.
“We can’t cut, spend or tax our way to better days. We need to learn how to quickly swim in these waves of transformation and speedily adapt our businesses, products and services to this change,” said Collymore.
“At Safaricom we have chosen to remove all barriers that might keep anyone out of the information age. Ours is to develop a ‘digital nervous system’ that is quick to respond to these fast-changing demands of a digital age.”
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