Safaricom has today announced the winners of the 3rd edition of the Safaricom Appwiz Challenge
The challenge which kicked off in July and saw 13 finalists selected to join a three-month incubation programme that began in September.
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.
Created by Adam Grunewald, Erick Obiero and Sharon Macharia, Lynk aims to provide an 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.
Taking home Ksh.1 million and the 1st runners-up position was 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.
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.
The competition saw thirteen finalists benefit from the guidance of 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.
Winners of this year’s Safaricom Appwiz Challenge will receive the amounts in form of grants towards growing their start-ups. Funds will be disbursed upon milestone agreements with their mentors and coaches.