The Appwiz Challenge, designed to help identify and develop successful early stage mobile technology companies in Kenya, is an initiative by Kenya’s leading mobile services’ provider, Safaricom. It was launched to help local developers with IT, Business, and mobile app development backgrounds both at the university and post-university levels form start-ups and partner with established industry players to offer enterprise solutions and eventually become sustainable businesses in the technology field.
Only 48 out of a possible 1596 registrations (and 274 mobile-based ideas) were shortlisted to attend a hack-a-thon. This was used to further filter them into 18 teams that eventually took part in a 3 month incubation programme that provided the developers with a platform to nurture their talent further through mentorship from industry experts on SME managerial skills and training on mobile application development.
Participants were expected to develop applications in Agriculture, Health, Financial Inclusion, Education and Entertainment as well as Productivity and Utilities which also served as the 5 main categories on which their final outcomes were judged.
Winners of the competition in the various categories were:
Team Bud Code with their solution, Bud Doctor, which helps a user find any medical specialists in a database via a mobile app whilst eliminating the tedious process of individually finding the specific specialists won the Health category.
Team AppBees Africa with their solution, SOKONECT, which links export companies and consumers to small-holder farmers to help them market their fresh farm produce, won the Agriculture category.
Team Game254 with their solution, The Maasai Man, a casual mobile and web game that highlights the challenges a Maasai boy has to go through to become a respectable Moran won the Games category.
M-Safiri Experience with their solution, my Taxi, a utility service that lets you find and ‘hail’ the nearest empty cab, won the Utility and Productivity category.
Dynamic Data Systems with their solution, M-Ledger, an app that transforms the mobile phone into a financial journey by pulling all MPESA data from a user’s SMS won the Financial Inclusion category and was 1st runner up. They won 1 Million KES from Safaricom.
Winner in the Education category and Overall winner was Thirst Interactive, with Tichaa, a e-learning solution that allows children to learn the Swahili language by interacting with puzzles, sounds, and pictures. Tichaa is already on the Google PlayStore and has more than 1,000 downloads to date. Thirst Interactive won 1.5 Million KES from Safaricom.
The Applications developed during the incubation stage will be uploaded onto the Safaricom App-store for commercialization by the developers.