They say opportunity knocks once and the question is whether you will answer or not. Developers have a chance to take part in a 3 month developer challenge sponsored by Safaricom. Today Safaricom launched the 3rd edition
of the Safaricom Appwiz Challenge. The challenge targets Kenyan innovators in mobile ICT.
Safaricom is running the initiative in partnership with @iBizAfrica (Strathmore University). Appwiz aims to nurture and mentor ICT-driven start-ups focused on mobile technology. Appwiz was f introduced in 2013, and has since incubated close to 30 tech start-up solutions including Safaricom M-Ledger and Magazine Reel, both of which are now commercially successful and sustainable businesses.
Joseph Ogutu, Safaricom Director for Strategy and Innovation says that that mobile technology creates a platform for innovative solutions for everyday needs and also creates a space for these to be turned into sustainable businesses. The aim of the competition is to transform lives through innovation and create opportunities for self employment.
“We identified a gap in the market, where one of the main challenges start-ups face is the lack of funds to transition from prototype to market-ready product. So we developed a competition and training module that covers all the basics these innovators need to build successful start-ups. We’re asking them to participate in groups of three, so that we can help them appreciate the value of teamwork in a business as we nurture their start-ups.” added Mr Ogutu.
The Appwiz programme takes participants through a 3-month training curriculum tailored specifically for technology start-ups, offering mentorship and coaching from industry leaders and leading entrepreneurs, as well as training in entrepreneurship skills.
Last year’s overall winner, David Mabiria, whose solution Magazine Reel today has close to 200,000 active users and 1.5 million page views monthly, said: “Our main challenge as an up and coming start-up was getting started. I did not have the required capital and my management skills were lacking. The training we got as a team last year really opened our eyes to a lot of things we were doing wrong and provided the support we required to make our business, Soma Media, successful.”
Another solution – Safaricom M-Ledger, a runner-up in the first edition of the challenge – was acquired by Safaricom from Dynamic Data Systems and launched into the market in November 2014. The app currently has over 150,000 active users.
This year the top three innovative businesses and ideas will be selected from four categories including: Customer engagement solutions, Safaricom product excellence solutions, Mobile convenience and Out of the box solutions.
The Safaricom Appwiz Challenge Grand Winner will receive a cash grant of Ksh1.5 million, while the 1st Runner-up and 2nd Runner up will receive Kshs.1million and Kshs. 500,000 respectively. The submission period kicks off on 20th July 2015 and closes on 16th August 2015.