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Mobile firm continues scheme to grow tech startups

17 July 2014, 15:05

Nairobi - Safaricom has launched the second edition of its developer competition designed to help identify and develop successful early stage mobile technology companies.

Called the Appwiz Challenge, the contest which will run for a period of four months targets new app developers working in the mobile technology space, with a view to developing solutions to common problems within the Kenyan market.

“At Safaricom, we are committed to ensuring that local ICT start-ups have the opportunity to grow into profitable enterprises. We want to grow the use of mobile technology in transforming lives in line with our agenda. Through this, we hope to complement governments’ efforts in attaining our economic blueprints to become a middle income country by 2030,” said Joseph Ogutu, Safaricom’s Director for , Strategy and Innovation.

Ogutu, who said Safaricom had invested KES 7 million in the competition, noted that the contestants with the most successful mobile technology based solutions would have the opportunity to scale their start-ups through financial support from the prize money and partnerships with both government and private sector thereby making their business more successful.

Information and Communications Technology Board Chief Executive Officer, Victor Kyalo, welcomed the continuation of Safaricom’s initiative.

He noted that with the growing income bracket, mobile applications were fast becoming a key pillar of Kenya’s economy.

“Our vision is for Kenya to become a top ten ICT hub by 2030. Mobile applications will drive us there,” Kyalo said.

Meanwhile, for the challenge, applicants are expected to develop solutions under five categories namely; Mobile for Good and Community Development, Smart Business and Cloud Innovation, Financial Inclusion, Youth, Entertainment, Games and Media and Infrastructure and Utilities.

“Through this challenge, the developers are taught how to attract investments through their solutions, how to manage and market their businesses in addition to mentorship and training,” Ogutu.

Last year’s winners included Tichaa, an app that allows children to learn Kiswahili in a fun and engaging way. It is currently available on the Safaricom Appstore.

The runner-up was M-Ledger, an M-Pesa based accounting manager available on Android.

 – CAJ News

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