A team of Egerton University graduates, who came up with a mobile-based web application that allows youth to access the latest campus news though their mobile phones, have emerged the winners of this year’s Safaricom Appwiz Challenge.
Now in its second year running, the Safaricom Appwiz Challenge is an annual challenge that seeks to help identify and develop successful early stage mobile technology based companies.
The winning solution, named Magazine Reel, compiles news stories from various sources and presents it in an easy-to-read format that suits university students who do not necessary conform to the traditional media consumption habits that characterize the news flow across most channels.
“While there are many people who still wait to watch the news every evening and read newspapers every morning, studies have shown that there are many tech-savvy youth who would rather access the news content on the go through their smart devices”, said Joe Ogutu, the Director for Strategy and Innovation at Safaricom.
He added, “ Through the Safaricom Appwiz Challenge, we continue to support young entrepreneurs interested in establishing Mobile and ICT start-ups in Kenya through mentorship, training and rapid product development to ensure that start-ups develop and provide innovative, quality and relevant solutions to address challenges and needs faced by our consumers”.
Magazine Reel currently has over 250,000 page views monthly. The app will be available on Safaricom’s App Store, and comes shortly after Safaricom announced that it was setting up the region’s most advanced 4G network, setting the stage for more local content developers to take advantage of increased connectivity. The company witnessed a 24.3% increase in data usage for the half year financial period ending August 2014.
Mobile application developers participating in this year’s Safaricom Appwiz competition were required 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.
Ujirani, a community based security application, scooped the top honours in the Mobile for Good and Community Development category while Guide Rig, a solution that allows businesses to communicate to their clients and market their products, won in the Smart Business and Cloud Innovation category.
Smart Travel a solution that helps in road safety won in the Infrastructure and Utilities category.
The overall winner took home Kshs. 1.7 million, while the runners up were awarded Kshs. 1.2 million. Category winners were rewarded with Kshs. 200,000. The amounts will be disbursed on an agreed milestone basis between the start-up and Safaricom based on continued development of the apps.
Last year’s winners included M-Ledger, an M-PESA based financial journal available on Android platform which Safaricom acquired recently to enable M-PESA customer’s track and monitor their mobile payments thereby displaying Safaricom’s commitment to supporting start-ups.