Clean water startup E-Maji and car-pooling service JamboCar emerged the Southern and East Africa AMPION Venture Bus winners at the final events at AfricaCom in Cape Town and the Kigali innovation hub KLAB, respectively.
E-Maji, which pitched their smart water quality testing unit measures water quality at a drinking water source in real time and detects any contamination using a built-in GPRS transmitter. The transmitter send GPS coordinates of the contaminated water source to authorities to facilitate a speedy reaction, but not before the unit shuts down water supply using an electronic water valve.
The Taf Makura and Seida Gharsallah the co-founders designed the unit to be used with Africa’s 700 000 boreholes which have proven very complicated and difficult for authorities to maintain and monitor.
Co-founder Taf Makura said: “When we got on the bus we had a very clear and simple objective, we were going to use technology to solve a problem without focusing on the technology itself. We were aware of how technological requirements of any kind can quickly get in the way of mass adoption in Africa. Our technology had to work in the background without placing any technical requirements on the people it was meant to help.”
E-Maji beat M.E.M. (Mens et Manus): online platform allowing entrepreneurs in rural areas to obtain or develop knowledge on product design and development of hardware and software consumer products via a feature phone; Keetla: provides a platform for schools, parents, teachers and students to be efficiently involved in the education process; Road Rules: mobile app to study for ones driver’s license on mobile devices; Shining Homes: a service allowing clients to book cleaners for their homes in a simple and convenient way; Mlimi: platform connecting the agriculture ecosystem allowing for access to inputs, technical information, markets, funding, and a community of like minded stakeholders; Da-mark.com: bridges the gap between the informal and the formal sector in Africa; My Time for Change: easy to use, transparent web platform improving citizen engagement by connecting organisations in need and potential volunteers and SchoolitUp: Working on making education material ( books, uniforms etc.) accessible to everyone by providing an online platform linking both parties.
Meanwhile JamboCar, a car pooling service beat mTunza – an e-Commerce education service for farmers and rural businesses
myDawa – an information and calendar service for medication intake; MobileHathidi – an audio story telling application
Smart Umeme – a service for monitoring solar energy consumption; Glukoa – a diabetes information and community application
and mTiba – a cloud service connecting doctors and patients to emerge the AMPION East Africa winner.
MyDawa came third while Smart Umeme was the runner up.
Betty Ngugi, CEO of Jambo Car expressed her delight after winning first prize:
“I am thrilled to have met such amazing people on the trip with AMPION through East Africa! Ideas turned into lean pitches and strangers became friends. We look forward to building our platform and rolling out our business as a joint African – European cooperation.”
The Jambo Car team has already developed a prototype for the first carpooling marketplace in East Africa.
The AMPION East Africa Tour took a surprising turn when the bus that was meant to drive the group from Nairobi to Kampala did not show up. Staying true to the teams entrepreneurial nature, we came up with a creative solution – with the help of Kigali based friends Jon Stever, manager of The Office and Joan Mazimhaka from Ilume, we contacted RwandAir. Within hours we had agreed on a sponsorship deal and RwandAir made it possible for all Ampioneers to fly to Kigali!
Venture Bus North Africa to travel Tunisia and will feature a specific focus on developing ICT solutions to improve democratic participation and citizen governance. International applicants with expertise in this matter are highly encouraged to apply: