Safaricom has now closed submissions for the 2015 Appwiz Developer competition with over 320 participants submitting their entries for the final prize of KES 1.5 Million.
These entries that have been received are currently under review by a panel of industry experts, with majority of the submissions being mobile solutions targeting the Customer Engagement & Mobile Convenience categories.
Safaricom’s Directory of Strategy and Innovation, Joe Ogutu, says, “We’re seeing a shift towards the development of unique solutions leveraging on mobile technology, a departure from past editions of the Appwiz Challenge where entrants focused largely on creating apps. This year we revamped the categories to allow more diverse entries and the applicants have risen to the challenge.”
Safaricom launched the 2015 edition of the 3-month developer challenge on July 20th July with 4 main categories in the contest namely:
- Customer Engagement Solutions
- Safaricom Product Excellence Solutions
- Mobile Convenience
- and lastly, Out of the Box Solutions
The business potential of a submitted solution will be the determining factor that will allow applicants to progress to the interview stage with the panel.
This stage will focus on evaluating the startup’s team structure, prototype of the solution as well as the market potential of the solution. This refers to the ability of the solution to be scaled and innovated against to make money for the team.
The Safaricom Appwiz Challenge is not only focused on solutions that leverage SMS, USSD and cloud for engagement with customers, it also focuses on developing the next generation of mobile technology businesses by working with start-ups to monetize their solutions. Orange is also currently running a similar competition under their Orange Applete Challenge using similar resources for innovation.
With this year’s competition Safaricom is seeking to work with start-ups that are hungry for growth and who have what it takes to participate in the intensive coaching, mentor-ship, training and incubation programme that Safaricom has designed for local entrepreneurs in the mobile technology space.
Safaricom is looking to support local innovation and nurture businesses that they can work with by bridging the gap between great ideas, business funding through the Safaricom Spark Fund (a 1 Million Dollar Safaricom Invesments Kitty) and industry support.
The Safaricom Appwiz contest was 1st held in 2013 and has since incubated close to 30 tech start-ups including Safaricom M-Ledger which was done by one Mr. Kuria Ndungu and later sold to Safaricom as well as Magazine Reel, which has also been commercialized under the Safaricom umbrella.
Participants shortlisted during Stage 1 will proceed to Stage 2 where interviews where they’re expected to present their solution to a panel of judges on Friday 28th August 2015 at Strathmore University.
Finalists from this stage will proceed to a 3-month incubation stage and the top 3 teams will be announced in November of 2015 where they’ll win KES 1.5 Million, KES 1 Million, and KES 500K from first to last.