Safaricom has this week launched the 3rd edition of the Safaricom Appwiz challenge, a 3 month developer challenge targeting Kenyan innovators in mobile ICT. This initiative is a partnership between Strathmore University and Safaricom. It aims at nurturing and mentoring ICT driven startups focused on mobile technology.

According to Joseph Ogutu, Safaricom Director for Strategy and Innovation growth of the mobile technology has presented a great platform for tech startup to not only create innovative solutions to everyday needs but to transform these into sustainable businesses. The competition is meant to transform lives through innovation by supporting young ICT enterprises so that they can help create opportunities for self-employment of Kenyans. Safaricom identified a gap in the market, where one of the main challenges faced by startups was lack of funds to transition from prototype to market ready product. Hence a competition and a training module was developed to cover all the basics that innovators need to build successful startups.

Since inception Appwiz has since incubated close to 30 tech startups including Safaricom M-ledger and Magazine Reel. 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. Last year’s overall winner Magazine Reel has close to 200,000 active users and 1.5 million page views per month.

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 Appwiz grand winner will receive a cash grant of Kshs 1.5 million while the 1st and 2nd runner up will receive Kshs 1 million and Kshs.500, 000 respectively. The submission period started on 20th July 2015 and closes on 16th August 2015.