, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 22 – Safaricom Limited has awarded six early stage mobile technology companies with a cumulative cash prize of Sh3.7 million in the just concluded Safaricom AppWizDevelopers’ Challenge.
Among the winners include ‘Tichaa’, an application (App) that allows children to learn Kiswahili in a fun and engaging way that was awarded Sh1.7 million for winning the education category and emerging tops overall.
Developed by a team called ‘Thirst Interactive’, the application 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 – placed second in the challenge and took home Sh1.2 million.
Other winners were Bud Doctor-which won in the health category, the Maasai Moran App which addresses the challenges faced by the Maasaiboy, My Taxi App which won in the games category and SOKONECT-an agricultural app.
The AppWiz Developers Challenge was designed to help local developers form start-ups and partner with industry players in offering enterprise solutions.
The challenge 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 this were short listed to attend a hack-a- thon session from which the top 18 teams were selected to participate in a 3 month incubation process.
“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,” said Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore.
He further noted that there is need to learn how to quickly swim in transformation and adopt them to business products and services.
“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,” Collymore further noted.
So far, 10 of the participating teams have registered companies and some apps like Sokonect-an app that connects farmers to export companies and Smart County-a revenue collection app are already at the pilot stage.
On his part Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed said the life and the success of a country going forward depends on such business ventures.
“Investments in technology, research and Innovation is what will drive the future of this country,” Mohammed said.