Following a rigorous selection process, involving more than 700 applicants from 26 countries across Africa, the top three finalists in the MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge powered by Jumia, have been revealed.
The challenge, which aims to boost entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as build a stronger and more sustainable business environment on the continent, kicked off in February, and is a joint initiative between MTN, Jumia and the MTN Solution Space based at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business.
Through the entrepreneurship challenge, students were invited to develop a unique digital application or smart solution to address a problem faced in Africa. Applicants heeded the call and hundreds of original ideas covering the areas of E-Commerce Marketplaces, Education Technology, Smart Cities and Solutions, and Health Technology were received.
Over the past few weeks, the ideas were narrowed down, with 11 Live Pitch events taking place from Cameroon to South Africa, to shortlist the top candidates who will eventually pitch their business ideas at the Entrepreneurship Festival in Cape Town in May 2016.
The three finalists are:
1. Pass.ng (Nigeria)
Pass.ng is a web, desktop and mobile-based CBT examination preparatory and testing platform, with a vision to help candidates excel in all the major Nigerian examinations and tests.
2. MedRX (Ghana)
MedRx app is an interactive health platform for all users who have health needs. The app connects users to health personnel from various fields of practice including hospital, pharmacy, laboratory and academia.
3. Vicoba (Tanzania)
Village Community Banks (Vicoba) are an important instrument of development work, allowing people who do not have access to conventional bank accounts, to access informal investment groups. Vicoba app creates a collaborative platform that includes existing tools for financial and task management in a way that is adapted for the African market.
MTN Solution Space Manager, Sarah-Anne Arnold, congratulated the winners and commented: “Universities are resource-rich, highly networked and create opportunities for students to find like-minded co-founders and explore and develop new opportunities together, and are therefore the ideal environments to encourage entrepreneurs. This was shown by the amazing talent that emerged during the incredible week of Live Pitches which took place across campuses in 11 countries, in collaboration with partner universities and sponsors. Congratulations and best of luck to the finalists.”
The top two applications from each region were selected for the semi-finals and awarded the opportunity to undertake a short course from GetSmarter in order to build new capabilities in areas such as Search Engine Optimisation or Digital Marketing.
The finalists will face a panel of experienced business leaders at the Entrepreneurship Festival, where the winning team will be named. The panel includes Jeremy Hodara, co-CEO Africa Internet Group, Professor Walter Baets, Director of the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, and Herman Singh, MTN Group Chief Digital Officer.
“We are incredibly impressed with the calibre of applicants and the level of innovation shown. We are looking forward to the finals and wish our contenders the best of luck. We are certain that whichever team emerges victorious, it is the continent that will be the biggest winner, as entrepreneurship and locally developed solutions are what will enable the growth and development of this continent,” says Singh.
Bankole Cardoso, the Head of Communications at Africa Internet Group added, “From the application phase, we were very impressed with the high quality business models and it was not at all easy for the judges to select from so many promising businesses. Over the last week, we have held over 100 live pitches and given young entrepreneurs across the continent a platform to showcase their business ideas and even more importantly, to receive critical feedback from experienced professionals on our judging panels. The gaps in the African entrepreneurship ecosystem are in capital and mentorship so it was great to undergo an exercise like this that will no doubt force them to improve. I now look forward to working closely with these three finalist teams to prepare them for what’s to come in Cape Town. It is an incredible opportunity for all of them to propel themselves to the next level.”
The winners will be announced at the Entrepreneurship Festival with the top team being awarded the opportunity for incubation at the premises of either the MTN Solution Space at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, or at one of 9 Jumia offices across the continent. The winner will also win a cash prize of US$25 000 towards their start-up and have access to a Facebook Start Programme to the value of US$15 000, which includes tools and services needed to build mobile applications.
Coca-Cola enabling women start retail businesses
By Our Reporter
Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda has handed over coolers to women to enable them start businesses in the retail category. This is part of a bigger Coca-Cola initiative called 5 by 20.
5 by 20 is the Coca-Cola Company’s global commitment to enable the economic empowerment of 5 Million Women entrepreneurs across the Company’s value chain by the year 2020.
According to Flavia Nabaasa, the Business Development & Commercialization Director CCBA in Uganda, the company is well on track to delivering on their global commitment.
“We had a target of empowering 35,000 women in Uganda by the year 2020,” Flavia Nabaasa told media during the cooler handover ceremony held at UMA show grounds on Thursday. “We have so far empowered 33,000 women and are certain to deliver on our global commitment by the end of the year.”
In Uganda, women usually face several challenges when doing business such as lack of basic business skills, lack of financial services / assets and lack of access to peer to peer networks and mentorship among others.
Through the 5 by 20 initiative, women are also offered access to business skills training and connections with peers and company sales executives who are always at hand to offer continuous monitoring of the business which helps in offering the much-needed foundation for building a successful business.
“We believe there is no better investment than women to spur economic growth and foster sustainable development. Women reinvest 90% of their income in their family and community, so by supporting women, we are building sustainable communities through this ripple effect.” Flavia Nabaasa added.
The event was also graced by madam Joyce Kizza, one of the successful Coca-cola distributors who lauded the women for embracing business and encouraged them to continue working hard. She also tipped them on how to run a successful business saying they should always treat their employees as well a customers with respect and always be honest in their dealings.
Meanwhile, the company has this year so far received 1851 coolers which are being issued to customers across the country with women in the retail category being the beneficiaries of this process. The women are also given startup stock to go along with the coolers.
MTN Uganda partners with Baobab Circle to enable customers easily manage their health
By Our Reporter
In another effort to enhance value for its customers, MTN Uganda has unveiled a mobile solution that enables customers to manage their health in order to reduce the risk of complications like stroke, blindness, kidney disease among others.
MTN Uganda partnered with Baobab Circle Limited, a London based health technology company to provide a health application named “Afya Pap” to its customers. Through the Afya Pap mobile App, MTN customers will have access to remote monitoring of their vitals, health, diet and exercise information that helps reduce or delay development of health complications. The App is powered by artificial intelligence for personalized diabetes, hypertension, vitals tracking, meal planning and physical exercise planning.
Customers can download the Afya Pap mobile App from the Google Play store and register to use it. All new users of the App will be given a 14-day FREE trial inclusive of data. Upon expiry of the FREE trial, customers can then buy subscription using MTN MoMo within the Afya Pap App. The available subscription plan is 30 days at ONLY UGX 4,000, inclusive of the data for using the App.
MTN Uganda Chief Marketing officer Somdev Sen said MTN believes in meaningful partnership as a way of making the world a brighter place for her customers and all Ugandans.
“We are all good together. They developed the app and we have the means to make it convenient and affordable for the users. As the mobile device continues to become a central part of our customer’s lifestyle, we intend to create more services for them to use on the phone so they can get more value out of it. With this app, we hope to further brighten the lives of our customers,” Somdev said.
Baobab Circle Limited, a renowned London based health Technology Company with operations in Sub- Saharan markets, the Middle East and spreading its wings in East Africa, specializes in digital mobile intervention programs for remote patient monitoring and applied health signals in the management of chronic conditions.
Spencer Matonhodze, Chief Commercial Officer of Baobab Circle said the mobile application is seamlessly integrated with smart glucometers and blood pressure monitors, allowing users to conveniently test their sugar and BP levels using their mobile phones and store the data, which can automatically be shared with their care partners who could be either a family member and or a personal doctor through a caregiver module. The application also allows 24/7 accessibility to a medical practitioner, nutritionists and sports therapist.
The Afya Pap application was first launched in August of 2015 and is now available in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Egypt among other countries.
The application has won several awards including the Sanofi Diabetes Innovation Challenge (2019), AMREF health innovation challenge (2018) and Nominated for the GLOMO health innovation award at World Mobile Congress (2019) among others.
SafeBoda to offer free medical services to riders in week-long health camp
By Our Reporter
SafeBoda has announced a health camp in which they will offer free medical services including diagnosis and treatment to all its riders.
The health camp dubbed ‘Obulamu bwo bwe bugagga bwo’ will be hosted at the SafeBoda Academy in Kyebando and is expected to benefit at least 15,000 SafeBoda riders and their families, as well as ordinary residents of Kyebando and neighboring areas.
Speaking during the launch ceremony, Shakib Nsubuga, the Innovations Manager at SafeBoda said, “Our SafeBodas spend at least 90% of their time working, and hardly invest time in health-related issues, We believe that this camp will help close the access gap to these crucial medical services and create more positive health outcomes for our drivers and our community at large.”
In her speech, the Honorable Minister for Kampala, Hon. Benna Namugwanya applauded SafeBoda for their continued commitment to improve not only safety in Kampala but also to improve the livelihood and wellbeing of SafeBoda drivers. She stated that the ministry’s doors are open to all and pledged support and collaboration towards the improvement of livelihoods of the people in Kampala.
The week-long event which kicked off on Tuesday will run until Saturday.
Riham excites city dwellers as it launches new soda
By Our Reporter
Hariss International Limited, a food & beverage company has launched a new product, Sky View Orange, under its flagship brand RIHAM.
The new soda was launched with a flurry of fanfare involving a road show through the city suburbs on Tuesday, much to the excitement of the dwellers.
During the road show, the masses were treated to free product sampling and a free entertainment show from dancers, skaters, bikers as well as drift cars.
Speaking to media on the sidelines of the road show, Rachel Luwedde, the public relations manager at Hariss International Limited revealed that the new product has been launched in effort to expand the company’s customer base and to meet the ever growing and ever-changing needs of its consumers.
“As people, we like to have the power to choose. We are therefore introducing this new product on the market to give more options and variety to our customers.” Rachel Luwedde noted.
Sky View Orange is an addition to the already existing Sky view Citrus, which was launched into the market in 2017. It will also be trading under the renown slogan “Go Extreme” as a symbol of the brands ability to evoke high performance, youthfulness and a sense of excitement in its consumers.
Sky View Orange is now available in all retail outlets across the country and will retailing at Ugx 1000/-.
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