Applications have been invited for the Innovation Challenge to be held at this year’s AITEC East Africa ICT Summit at Oshwal Centre over 20 – 21 November. AITEC has partnered with @iLabAfrica to host the Challenge at the Summit to provide a platform for innovators to showcase their products and compete for awards.
Developers and start-ups are invited to submit applications to make innovation presentations in the following sectors:
- Financial Services
- Government/Public Service
- Transport and Logistics
The top three innovations in each category, as judged by an independent panel of judges drawn from industry leaders, will be awarded a four-month incubation period at @iBizAfrica, the business incubation Centre at @iLabAfrica. Up to three team members for each winning innovation will be included in the project.
Dr Joseph Sevilla, the Director of @iLabAfrica, welcomed the opportunity to identify and develop new talent and product ideas, “We are delighted to be partnering with AITEC for the Innovation Challenge. There is a huge amount of talent with innovative ideas across East Africa and we want to first of all identify the most promising and then help them develop their ideas to a level where they can take them to market on a sound technological and business basis.”
Innovators wanting to enter the Challenge should submit their application at http://bit.ly/16PwBzs
The deadline for submission is 1st November 2013.
Not so many people would get a business idea from observing a child run to and fro the kitchen asking the mom inquisitive questions about the difference between orange the color and orange the fruit! Kevin Mukhwana’s idea bulb immediately lit up after he observed this interesting phenomenon during a visit to his cousin who has a young daughter in class one. “The child kept running to the mom who was cooking and she asked one question after the other until the mom gave the kid her mobile phone to play a game. This was the only trick that kept her from burning the food she was preparing to crisp with the constant interruptions from the knowledge thirsty young princes”, explained Kevin, one of the founders Tichaa. When Kevin shared this with Allan and Jacqueline, they brainstormed and knew they were onto something.
Allan Mukhwana, Jacqueline Njue & Kevin Mukhwana are one of the participants in the Safaricom App Wiz Challenge currently running at @iBizAfrica, the business incubation center of @iLabAfrica Strathmore University. The six months long competition is at its final stage, the incubation stage where participants are developing products to be launched in market by October 2013.
Kevin remembers receiving a call from Safaricom, informing him about the competition. He was contacted as a past participant in the Safaricom App Star challenge. “As a past participant in the developers’ completion, I felt this was another great opportunity to try my luck at building another super application and win some good money in the process. However, the competition has really changed my outlook towards application development because now they have introduced a business aspect to it”, narrated Kevin, a techie with his own web and software development company called Webstar Kenya.
Kevin got the idea to join the competition as a team with his brother, Allan and their friend Jacqueline. Together they enrolled and were among the 18 startups that made it through to the final stage of the completion. Allan, a third year computer science student at JKUAT recalls how they made it through the submission and hackathon stages of the competition. On his take about the competition, Allan said “the competition was really tough because many young techies had brilliant ideas and were very good at coding. We made it through tough interviews and practical programming tests. It’s been a challenging but amazing experience. We are really grateful for all the business skills we have learnt here on how to monetize mobile applications”.
Tichaa is a really simple puzzle game, targeting children between the ages of 3 to 9 years. It runs on any Android mobile phone and tablet. The child will see an outline of an image. She will be required to slide and snap colorful puzzle pieces into place to reveal the image.
Once the kid completes the puzzle, the Swahili word will appear at the bottom of the image, a voice will read the word aloud to teach the child and the child will also be congratulated for completing the puzzle.
“We realized that there are so many educational games for kids but very few for teaching Kiswahili. Young kids learn by repeating words or sounds they have heard. Children also love games and gadgets, they love the mobile phone. We figured this was a unique opportunity to make a game that would not only be fun for the kids but an educational tool as well” explained Jacqueline a second year student at JKUAT.
“During the incubation period, we have managed to develop and test several prototypes of the application. In fact, we carried out a pilot test with some kids who gave us really cool ideas on how to improve the user experience. For example we added a sound replay feature that repeats the name of the object created in the puzzle game every time the child tapped on the complete puzzle. This helped the child to memorize the name until it stuck in the mind. Another thing we have been able to accomplish in the program is to test and measure through Analytics. This has helped us track the application usage and identify patterns of use. We now know that on average, users complete 8 puzzles per session and use it more than once a day. In just the past four days of releasing the application, we have 44 downloads” narrated a very enthusiastic Kevin.
The Lite version of Tichaa is already available for free download on the Google play store. Currently the app is free and we plan to have it in the Samsung app store as well as Amazon in the coming week. “Our product has international appeal, as Swahili is now a language of interest in other non-African Countries in Europe, Asia and America. We hope to release a paid version of the application with more features when we have established a solid user base” said Kevin in conclusion.
This Friday Safaricom AppWiz Challenge participants will have progress presentations. The presentations will take a Pitch Friday format.
Pitch Friday is an event organised by @iBizAfrica on the last Friday of every month. However this there will be a special Pitch Friday just for AppWiz contestants. Each team will present their business idea (app) to a closed panel that will consist of mentors, seasoned entrepreneurs and investors. You will have 5 minutes to present and another 5 to respond to questions from the panel.
For this Fridayś event all teams MUST present. Presentations will start from 12.00 noon and will be in the @iLabAfrica Boardroom on the 4th Floor. We will have some senior staff from Safaricom joining the panel.