The growth of the mobile technology market presents a great platform for technology start-ups to not only create innovative solutions to everyday needs, but to transform these into sustainable businesses.
In its 3rd edition now, Appwiz a product of Safaricom in partnership with @iBizAfrica (Strathmore University) will be running for the next 3-months in a challenge meant to nuture and mentor ICT-driven startups focused on mobile technology in the local scene.
Appwiz was first introduced in 2013, and has since incubated close to 30 tech start-up solutions including Safaricom M-Ledger and Magazine Reel, both of which are now commercially successful and sustainable businesses.
The mobile technology challenge main aim is to close the gap in the market where on of the main challenges startups face is the lack of funds to transition from prototype to market-ready product. the two parties therefore came up with a competition and training module that covers basic innovators need to build successful start-ups.
Besides training, participants get mentorship and coaching from industry leaders leading entrepereneurs as well as training in entrepereneurship skills.
Last year’s overall winner, David Mabiria, whose solution Magazine Reel today has close to 200,000 active users and 1.5 million page views monthly, said: “Our main challenge as an up and coming start-up was getting started. I did not have the required capital and my management skills were lacking. The training we got as a team last year really opened our eyes to a lot of things we were doing wrong and provided the support we required to make our business, Soma Media, successful.”
Another solution – Safaricom M-Ledger, a runner-up in the first edition of the challenge – was acquired by Safaricom from Dynamic Data Systems and launched into the market in November 2014. The app currently has over 150,000 active users.
This year the top three innovative businesses and ideas will be selected from four categories including: Customer engagement solutions, Safaricom product excellence solutions, Mobile convenience and Out of the box solutions.
The Safaricom Appwiz Challenge Grand Winner will receive a cash grant of Ksh1.5 million, while the 1st Runner-up and 2nd Runner up will receive Kshs.1million and Kshs. 500,000 respectively. The submission period kicks off on 20th July 2015 and closes on 16th August 2015.