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Egerton students win Safaricom app challenge

BUSINESS
By Standard Reporter | December 14th 2014

A team of Egerton University graduates, who came up with a mobile-based web application that allows youth to access campus news though their mobile phones, won this year’s Safaricom Appwiz Challenge.

In its second year running, the challenge seeks to identify and develop successful early seed stage mobile technology based companies. The winning solution, named Magazine Reel, compiles news stories and notices from university administration campuses and presents it in an easy-to-read format that suits university students.

“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 Joseph 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 start-ups in Kenya through mentorship, training and rapid product development to ensure that they develop and provide innovative, quality and relevant solutions to address challenges and needs faced by our consumers.”

Alcohol limit

Magazine Reel currently has over 250,000 page views monthly and over 5,000 daily users. Plans are already afoot to have it on the on Safaricom’s App Store. Start-ups participating in this year’s Safaricom Appwiz competition were required to develop solutions under five categories —Mobile for Good and Community Development, Smart Business and Cloud Innovation, Financial Inclusion, Youth, Entertainment, Games and Media and Infrastructure and Utilities.

Guide Rig, a communication and marketing solution for businesses won in the Smart Business and Cloud Innovation category and were the overall runners up in the challenge. Other category winners were Ujirani, a community based security application, in the Mobile for Good and Community Development category, while in Infrastructure and Utilities category the award went to Smart Travel which is a solution that provides motorists with road information and also helps them know whether they have exceeded their alcohol limit per sitting.

The overall winner took home Sh1.7 million, while the runners up were awarded Sh1.2 million. Category winners were each rewarded with Sh200,000. The amounts will be disbursed on an agreed milestone basis between the start-up and Safaricom based on continued development of the mobile ICT start-up.

Mr Ogutu challenged developers and innovators to take advantage of Safaricom 4G network launched last week, adding that data usage has been on the increase among customers, with a 24.3 per cent growth registered in the half year financial period ending September 2014.

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