NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20 – Kenyan innovators stand to win Sh75 million in a new competition announced by leading mobile phone company Nokia.
The “Growth Economy Venture Challenge’’ is part of Nokia\’s global Calling All Innovators 2010 competition targeting innovators, with participants expected to create a mobile product or service that raises the standard of living or enhances the lives of the local people .
The Venture Challenge, which is not limited to software or hardware that uses Nokia device or software platforms, will consider any submission that enhances the target growth economy and also provides a potential return on the investment.
And since many emerging markets have varying degrees of mobile and Internet adoption, submissions can also expand beyond the mobile phone.
The prize money will be invested in a single winning organisation with the best idea as decided by a combination of judges from Nokia Growth Partners, Nokia\’s venture arm, and Forum Nokia- Nokia\’s organization dedicated to third party developers and other innovators.
Additionally, ten finalists from the contest will be invited to present their ideas and business models to a panel of Nokia business people and private venture capitalists. This will provide an opportunity for the innovators to receive business guidance and possibly other funding from participating venture capitalists.
The competition officially kicks off on February 1 and finalists will be announced by mid May 2010 while the final winner will be announced in June, 2010. The deadline for submissions is April 18.
Nokia will accept innovative ideas in four main categories in the competition namely; Eco/Being Green applications that help to save the planet with innovative, eco-friendly uses, and Productivity applications that make life easier, and helps someone to be more efficient in utilities, business, or personal finance applications.
The other category is Life Improvement applications that positively affect the daily lives of people living in developing countries by using the prevalence of mobile devices to teach children and illiterate adults critical skills, and agriculture health.
The final category falls under Entertainment applications that bring out musical talent and show off the coolest multimedia features, including music, multimedia and games – to bring an element of having fun.
Announcing the competition in Las Vegas, Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo called on innovators to do good by bringing mobile solutions to parts of the world that can benefit most. He explained that mobile solutions can be quite profitable, but not exploitive, leading to financial "win-win" scenarios for both innovators and consumers.
"We\’ve seen what the tech community can do when it focuses on problems that are also opportunities", Kallasvuo said. "We want to channel that energy toward improving lives in the developing world."
As examples of innovations in growth economies, Mr Kallasvuo spoke about several Nokia solutions and projects such as Nokia Life Tools, Nokia Tej and others that can be viewed at http://theprogressproject.com/.
“This competition is meant to bring out the creativity and innovation of local innovators to come up with locally relevant mobile phone technology solutions that can be applied to uplift the living standards of the people,” said Agatha Gikunda, Nokia’s Solutions Manager for East and Southern Africa.
Ms Gikunda said Nokia was ready to assist and collaborate with innovators with ground- breaking applications and solutions that could impact on the economy and help generate employment opportunities, especially for young people.
Interested innovators can learn more and enter their submissions at www.callingallinnovators.com.