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University student wins MTN’s first KIA Sportage car

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Ben Namanya, a 3rd year student at Makerere University, won the first MTN ‘KIA Sportage’ car in the on-going exciting data campaign. The draw was held on Tuesday 11th November 2015 where his number (MSISDN 256 77 5192524) was drawn as the winning serial number.

“I am extremely happy to be the first winner of the KIA cars, I didn’t think I would win but I was also hopeful that maybe I can win. I am so thankful to MTN Uganda for this campaign and encourage everybody to take part because you maybe the next winner of the KIA car,” said an excited Namanya when he was contacted.

MTN’s Segment Manager Moses Musiime ( R )handing over the car key to Ben Namanya ( L ) 3rd year student from Makerere University after winning in the ongoing Data Campaign of “Buy, Win and drive a car”.

MTN’s Segment Manager Moses Musiime ( R )handing over the car key to Ben Namanya ( L ) a 3rd year student from Makerere University after winning in the ongoing Data Campaign of “Buy, Win and drive a car”.

“I simply bought an Avvio 781 then dialed *157*5# to enter the draw which after I just followed up on the activities of the campaign hoping that I would get announced as a winner and truly to my hopes I have just been rewarded,” explained Namanya.

The KIA car was handed over to Ben Namanya on Thursday 12th November 2015 at Simba Telecom.

MTN Uganda recently launched a this exciting promotion where subscribers could buy a new Avvio 3G smart phone and stand a chance to win one of the three cars.

The on-going promotion, which started 2 month ago, is intended to ignite some excitement into the telecom market while encouraging the usage of data, more especially on the 3G network.

Data is one of MTN Uganda’s key themes for 2015 and to bring this to life the leading telecom giant has continuously invested in a robust 3G and 4G network.

Previously Mapula Bodibe, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer had intimated that despite the fact that data usage had grown; there was still a big potential in the Ugandan market. In Uganda and Africa at large the biggest barrier to entry has largely been lack of affordable 3G smartphones.

 Ben Namanya rejoicing after being handed the KIA Sportage car today 12th November 2015 at Simba Telecom on Kampala road.

Ben Namanya rejoicing after being handed the KIA Sportage car today 12th November 2015 at Simba Telecom on Kampala road.

She said there was need for more 3G devices in the market so as to allow for higher data consumption coming from better customer experience. This grows a more developed information society and even improve customer experience in Uganda.

“MTN Uganda is currently the leading network for smart phones and this new exciting campaign underpins this claim. As we tend to the festive season, we want to give back to you our subscribers by offering affordable high quality smartphones to improve your experience.” she previously said.

According to statistics smartphone entry devices now contribute 64 percent to total sales in the Ugandan market and this is highly attributed to the aggressive sale of affordable smartphones like the Avvio. MTN has the widest, most stable network for any smartphone,” she added.

In this promotion the phones being promoted which include the ‘Avvio 793’ and the ‘Avvio 781’ give users an upgraded data experience. The youth, who use data in a more exciting manner can upgrade from the 2G experience to 3G.

Moses Musiime the MTN Uganda’s Consumer Segment Manager said entering the promo has been designed to be very simple.

“Basically every phone bought is an entry opportunity for the customer to win. Once the phone is bought from any of the MTN outlets, the user has to enter the draw by subscribing to MTN ‘HollaZone’ package by simply dialing *157*5#,” he said.

“After every 20 days, a draw using the data collected from the campaign launch date will be run. There are 3 cars to be won, so every 20 day we shall announce a winner. The draw will be system generated and overseen by an AVIO partner and an MTN official,” he commented.

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Local Business

ISBAT University, Airtel Uganda partner to provide free access to university’s Hybrid Virtual Learning Platform

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ISBAT University has announced a new partnership with Airtel Uganda aimed at providing students with free access to the University’s Hybrid Blended Learning platform.

By Our Reporter

ISBAT University has announced a new partnership with Airtel Uganda aimed at providing students with free access to the University’s Hybrid Blended Learning platform using the Airtel internet platform.

The partnership that is in line with the Uganda government’s efforts to ensure safety for everyone as well as education and business continuity from home will see Airtel provide free access to student numbers provided by the university and will be available to all active students of the current semester (Spring 2020).

Commenting about this partnership during the launch, ISBAT University Vice Chancellor Dr. K.M. Mathew noted that World over Universities adopted such learning and assessment practices for the affected semester(s) in order to save the semester and progress academically.

“ISBAT University’s interactive live virtual classes attracted a vast majority of students with lots of encouragement from the University community. The University’s aim is to ensure that our students are not at disadvantage due to the prolonged closure of the University in the lockdown period and we sincerely hope to save the semester in a timely manner,” he noted.

Airtel Uganda Managing Director Mr. V.G. Somasekhar congratulated ISBAT University upon this essential innovation and encouraged the students to utilize this opportunity to further their education.

Since the lockdown of all Education facilities in March 2020, Airtel Uganda has put in place a number of interventions to ensure Ugandans continue to access their education materials. The telecommunications company recently partnered with Avaya Holdings Corp. (NYSE: AVYA), as well as a number of online education providers to implement remote learning initiatives.

The collaboration between Airtel and ISBAT is going to be a paradigm shift in the higher education sector of Uganda, especially during this unprecedented pandemic situation.

Students will greatly benefit by this unique arrangement, as they will be able to continue with the academic progress in an uninterrupted manner with more enthusiasm and high academic spirit, without spending anything for expensive internet data.

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Local Business

The Innovation Village opens new centre in Mbarara

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By Our Reporter 

The Innovation Village has launched its new location in Mbarara City. This is their 3rd new location since the beginning of the year 2020.

According to CK Japheth, the Team Lead at The Innovation Village, “The Innovation Village is a promise to entrepreneurs. Our motivation is the potential that Ugandans have to contribute solutions to the problems challenging their country.”

“In Mbarara, we have set up a community where women and young entrepreneurs can come to network, connect and meet each other, and our mandate is to ensure that entrepreneurs realize their potential, work through their ideas until they scale into sustainable businesses.” Japheth added.

This launch comes at a time after Mbarara was recently awarded its city status. The district has earned its popularity as the land of milk and honey. This move will facilitate uniform and harmonized growth and development.

Mbarara town is a gateway to western parts of Uganda and Great Lakes region countries of Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo. Its population is about 480,000 people, and is second to Kampala in importance, industry, and infrastructure. Mbarara is also the home of one of Uganda’s biggest universities majoring in science and technology.

The Innovation Village seeks to partner with entrepreneurs that are not just technology enabled, but contribute to different sectors like farming, arts and crafts, agriculture to name but a few.

“Entrepreneurs do not know how to create sustainable businesses around what they do. The Innovation Village will help them sieve through their dreams until they settle for a good idea, that can grow and scale into other regions in the country.” He concluded.

The Innovation Village has other locations catering to the needs of entrepreneurs in Gulu, Jinja and Kampala.

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Local Business

Oner Fruit Juice introduces new flavour

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Oner Juice

By Our Reporter 

Hariss International, the manufacturers of RIHAM products, have announced a new Oner Fruit Juice flavour. The juice now comes in a  Grapes and Berries flavour,giving consumers another option to choose from.

Oner Grapes & Berries is an addition to the already existing flavours of the Oner family – Oner Apple and Oner Mango which were launched into the market in 2014, and have since grown into successful brands.

“We have introduced a new Oner Juice blend of Grapes and berries to grow and diversify the brand’s family while also fulfilling the consumers’ desire for fruit Juice.” Hariss International said in a press statement.

Due to the multiple health benefits associated with the product, market surveys indicate that Oner Grapes and Berries fruit juice is likely to gain wide acceptance among the masses.

The new oner Grapes and berries recipe will also be trading under the renown slogan “Freshness you can taste” a symbol of the brand’s ability to bring freshness and a sweet – natural taste of Grapes & Berries.

The 500ml Fruit Juice is now available in all retail outlets, supermarkets, and restaurants countrywide at a recommended retail price of UGX 2,000.

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BigEye Money

#40days40fintechs: Beyonic is at the centre of facilitating a shift to a cashless Uganda

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By Our writer

While Uganda started efforts to boost a cashless economy over a decade ago, majority of Ugandans still prefer cash.

Available statistics indicate that about 99 percent of the economy is cash-based and only 1 percent is cashless.

However, over the years, several Financial Technology Companies (FinTechs) have heavily invested in helping Ugandans shift from a cash to a cashless economy.

Among them is Beyonic, one of the leading fintech integrators in Africa that aims to eliminate dependency on cash by helping businesses quickly set up and manage digital payments.

The software company entered the Uganda market at the end of 2005 but started operations at the beginning of 2006.

Seeking to answer the question of accountability for organizations and donor bodies, the software company thought of ways of further supporting companies better manage their finances – income and expenditures by setting up a mobile payments platform in 2012 thus unlocking clean, safe, transparent cashless management of project and enterprise budgets.

“There are challenges for use of cash by organizations. Beyonic came to help institutions reduce the use of cash in all their systems. We are here to support and promote a cashless efficient economy,” Ian Mubiru, the Beyonic Country Director said.

He added: “As the fintech space matured, the contrast between the simplicity promised by a digital ecosystem and the cost, complexity, and risk of cash payments became increasingly stark. Payments are hard; especially in emerging markets, and particularly in the last mile. Thus, Beyonic set out to make them easy.”

According to Mubiru, Beyonic is helping free its clients from non-core roles so as to focus on making their businesses and communities thrive.

Its solutions include access, data house and pricing services.

Under Beyonic access, it enables instructions to access over 26 telecoms from across nine countries in Africa. This means that once one connects to the Beyonic platform, they will have access to over 26 networks in the nine countries including Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, among others, from a single sign-on.

In 2018, Beyonic processed close to 10 million mobile money transactions across its system.

Beyonic was also selected as the Instant Payment Notification (IPN) Hub successor entity, effective May 1, 2020, and it is responsible for all ongoing operational aspects of the IPN Hub including future growth.

The IPN Hub was developed by the GSMA in partnership with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and MasterCard Foundation, to provide a single point of integration between mobile money networks and PAYG service providers in Sub-Saharan Africa, accelerating reliable access to utility services at the last mile.

Following the successful piloting and scaling of the IPN Hub, the GSMA elected to transition it to an entity that would continue to scale it sustainability and after a rigorous selection process, it was awarded to Beyonic.

The Data House solution on the other hand is used to store data that can be used for planning purposes by their different clients.

Mubiru said that a lot of data is out there but it is not well organised, thus Beyonic helps companies store and make sense of such data.

Under the pricing services, Mubiru said: “Payments and pricing continues to change over time. At the beginning of our journey, we were just supporting organizations but with time we found out that there was need to support fintechs and other players.”

“We had already developed a lot of application program interfaces (APIs) so we decided to open them up for anyone that needed to use them. We made sure that our APIs integration is as short as possible,” he said.

While others take three months to integrate, Mubiru said they ensured that theirs takes less than a month.

He said their APIs are being used by multiple partners including fintechs, e-commerce players, among others.

While they currently operate in nine countries, Mubiru said the plan is to cover over 20 countries by 2023.

Majority of its clients are women, mostly in agriculture. It is also working with a number of Saccos that offer loans to farmers.

Beyonic is among the firms taking part in the 40-days-40-FinTech initiative, organised by HiPipo under its Include EveryOne programme, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop.

The initiative seeks to enable FinTechs to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.

The initiative will see the participating 40 FinTechs acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using the Mojaloop open source software.

Mubiru applauded HiPipo for the 40-days-40-fintechs initiative, saying the discussion of interoperability with Mojaloop is timely, as the market needs as much solutions as possible.

The HiPipo CEO – Innocent Kawooya said that Beyonic has played a great financial inclusion role in the markets where it operates.

“We are glad that the Beyonic products and services are impacting thousands of people at the last mile. It fits well in the 40-days- 40-fintechs initiative because theirs is a prime story that is transforming the financial sector,” Kawooya said.

He added: “Going forward, as stakeholders we must collaborate and together develop products and services that serve our people. Alone, we may fail, but as a group, we shall overcome all road blocks and collectively serve our people.”

In addition to the 40-days-40-fintechs initiative, HiPipo is also organizing a Fintechs Landscape Exhibition in mid July 2020.

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