The demo finals were done five days ago and yesterday the Safaricom Appwiz winners were unveiled. The 3rd Edition of the Challenge kicked off in July and 13 finalists were selected to join a three-month incubation programme that began in September. The 13 finalists received vigorous guidance from coaches and mentors drawn from various ICT-based backgrounds, with the winners being selected based on the sustainability of their businesses, creativity and ability to scale up.
The winners received the money in form of grants and they will use it to growing their start-ups. The funds will be disbursed upon milestone agreements with their mentors and coaches.
Lynk, a mobile solution that provides a platform for people in the informal sector to meet potential employers and seek job opportunities, emerged the overall winner of the challenge to bag the Ksh.1.5 million 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.
Lynk was created by Adam Grunewald, Erick Obiero and Sharon Macharia. The solution has an obligation to provide easy, affordable and reliable solution that will connect thousands of informal sector workers to people in need of on demand services ranging from plumbing and electrical work to gardening, painting and car repair.
“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,” added Mr. Ogutu.
The 1st runners-up scooped Ksh.1 million – Hisa Play. Hisa Play is 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.
Mkulima App, an innovative solution that helps farmers reduce wastage of harvest and track their income came in 3rd place to take home Kshs.500,000.
“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.
“This initiative by Safaricom is proof that partnership and co-creation can spur Kenya’s growth in ICT by connecting young innovators to the business community and consumers, thereby supporting innovation and creating employment,” he added.
This year’s edition of the Safaricom Appwiz Challenge attracted over 320 applications in four categories including Customer Engagement solutions, Safaricom Product Excellence solutions, Mobile Convenience and Out of the Box solutions.
Safaricom Appwiz winners have an obligation to build on their brands and develop solutions that can the world.