Nairobi — Safaricom has set aside Sh7 million in the 2nd edition of the Appwiz Challenge, a developer competition designed to help identify and develop successful early stage mobile technology companies.
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.
Safaricom's Director, Strategy and Innovation Joseph Ogutu says this will complement government efforts in attaining economic blueprints to become a middle income country by 2030.
"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," said Ogutu.
Ogutu said that the contestants with the most successful mobile technology based solutions will 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.
Participants must enter the challenge in teams and should have prototypes of their solutions with each group ideally having a maximum of three members.
The competition will operate on the website http://developer.safaricom.co.ke. Registrations and submissions will be done through this portal.
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 added.
Last year's winners included Tichaa, an app that allows children to learn Kiswahili in a fun and engaging way currently available on the Safaricom Appstore, while the runners up was M-Ledger, an M-PESA based accounting manager available on Android.
On his part Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Board Chief Executive Officer Victor Kyalo noted that with the growing income bracket, mobile applications are 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.