The third edition of the Safaricom Appwiz Challenge which was launched in July came to an end yesterday. 13 groups participated in a three-month incubation programme, consisting of mentorship and coaching from industry leaders and leading entrepreneurs. They also received training in entrepreneurship skills. Yesterday saw one of the groups with an App refered to as Lynk App win the overall competition and take home the ultimate price.
The incubation period culminated in a Demo Day, following which finalists pitched live to a panel of judges last week. The winner was announced at an awards gala last night Tuesday.
Lynk, a mobile solution that provides a platform for people in the informal sector to meet potential employers and seek job opportunities, was named the overall winner of the challenge, and received the first prize of a KES1.5 million (US$14,685) grant.
“The competition has grown significantly since we launched in 2013 and this year we saw innovators present an even more refined set of ideas to our panel of judges, coaches and mentors,” said Joseph Ogutu, Safaricom’s director of innovation and strategy.
“Given that the issue of unemployment remains a source of concern for Kenya’s economy we have seen Lynk provide an innovative solution to the hundreds of thousands of young people looking for jobs in the informal sector,” Ogutu said.
The second prize was given to Hisa Play, a solution that simulates trading in the stock exchange and equips users with the skills to invest by using system-generated virtual currency to mimic the workings of the Nairobi Securities Exchange. The startup was awarded KES1 million (US$9,790).
Third place and the KES500,000 (US$4,895) went to Mkulima App, an innovative solution that helps farmers reduce wastage of harvest and track their income.
“This competition clearly demonstrates the fact that Kenya has a wealth of creativity and the ability to develop relevant, homegrown technological solutions to our challenges and needs,” said Victor Kyalo, permanent secretary in the Ministry of ICT.
The first and second versions of the competition we’re won by Ticha and Magazine Reel respectively. Magazine Reel is one of the most successful companies to have had the support of Safaricom Limited. They have already collaborated with some of the best companies in the media and advertising industry.