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Syngenta Design Challenge Announcement

challenges

January 28, 2015

Syngenta is one of the world’s leading companies with more than 28,000 employees in 90 countries dedicated to the purpose of bringing plant potential to life. Syngenta teamed up with Microsoft in 2014 to create a better way to train farmers in rural Kenya. They have a prototype being piloted but are looking for talented designers to make the interface simpler and more fun for farmers.
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They are looking for designs catered to farmer’s needs that are engaging and easy to use. Here is a list of the key activities and dates:
Activity                                                                               Date
Farmer insight gathering trip to Olenguruone                Jan 30
Submit draft of digital wireframes                                     Feb 3
Receive feedback on wireframes from Syngenta             Feb 4
Final design submissions                                                      Feb 5
Top 3 designs present to entire group                                Feb 5
Winner announced                                                                  Feb 5
Page designs will be for the following functionalities:
 Farmer registration (i.e. names, mobile number, farm size, key crops)
 Educational video launch page
 Plant doctor diagnostics
 Commodity prices in various markets
 Demo farm training registration
 Weather information page
Submission for the competition should be done in digital wireframes. The judging committee will comprise of: farmers, agricultural extension experts and the lead developer for the project.
The winner will be awarded with Ksh 50,000 cash prize. This is guaranteed to be unique experience to design for a community that has previously had little access to apps. Join this exciting event! Sign Up HERE.

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The Nokia X is Here!

challenges, Mobile Testing

March 14, 2014

The long awaited launch of the Nokia X went down yesterday at the Sarova Stanley Hotel in Nairobi. The Nokia X launch in Kenya comes second globally following the first official launch of the new Nokia X series of devices in India last week.

Nokia-X-Dual-SIM

The new range of Nokia X smartphones, featuring the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and the Nokia XL run a customized Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) rom modified to offer Microsoft services such as OneDrive, Skype and Outlook. Some of the new/outstanding features in these devices include:

The Fastlane
Fastlane is designed to offer fast, smooth access to the user’s favourite apps. It also displays recent apps, photos, Facebook posts and more on a single screen. You get to the fast lane by swiping to the right/left from the home screen.
Customizable Home screen
My experience with the Nokia X felt much like a mash-up of the Lumia and the Asha. With the Nokia X, the user can resize and rearrange apps with resizable tiles, group apps into folders, and get Android widgets for the things they need the most.
HERE Maps
With the Nokia X, the user gets free offline maps with HERE Maps, and enjoys free worldwide turn-by-turn navigation with HERE Drive.
Nokia Mix Radio
This features is for the music lovers. It allows the user to listen to new songs and mixes based on their favourite artists.
Free Calls on Skype
This is another interesting additional feature that comes bundled up with these new devices. With every purchase, the user will get one month of free Skype calls to mobiles and landlines worldwide.
Nokia’s own app store
Nokia ditched Google’s Play Store and introduced its own version of the store stocking purely android apps. Local apps such as the Ma3route app, Daily Nation app, Nairobi News app, Mledger Mpesa app, among many more are already available for download.

nokiax_dev_banner

Some of the key features of the Nokia X include: (Slight variations with the Nokia X+ and the Nokia XL)

Display:

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  • 4 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
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  • 16M colors
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  • ~233 ppi pixel density

Capacity:

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  • 512 MB RAM
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  • 4 GB Internal Storage
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  • microSD expandable up to 32 GB

Primary Camera:

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  • 3.15 MP
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  • Camera resolution: 2048 x 1536 pixels

Power management:

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  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4
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  • Maximum standby time: 28 days (17 days with dual SIM)
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  • Maximum talk time (2G): 13.3 h (10.5 h on 3G)
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  • Maximum music playback time: 26 h

 
The Nokia X is expected to start retailing in Kenya next week at an entry price of Ksh 12,499 whereas the Nokia XL will be available tentatively from next month.
 

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Alumni of PIVOT and mLab training set the pace at Transform Africa

challenges, PIVOT East, Training

November 3, 2013

An alumni of PIVOT 25 this week emerged winner at this year’s Transform Africa summit held in Rwanda. Hehe Limited, headed by Clarisse Iribagiza, received US $7,500 (Rwf4.8 million) cash prize. The company was one of 25 finalists of PIVOT 25  held in 2011. PIVOT 25 was the first edition of the m:lab’s regional mobile startups competition and conference which is currently named PIVOT EAST. Alumni of the m:lab’s mobile entrepreneurship training program also continued to excel with two of its past trainees taking the second and third position respectively.

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George Mwangi and Mukeli Mati on each side of Rwanda’s President Kagame – Photo Courtesy of New Times

On second position was George Mwangi’s Mobicraft Solutions winning US $5,000 cash prize. George Mwangi was in the m:lab’s  fifth wave, a four month infoDev funded mobile applications development and entrepreneurship training course early 2013. Mobicraft Solutions winning product is a faith based SMS product.
Mukeli Matei with Fishmate, a service that links Kenyan fish farmers with their markets was placed third. Mukeli was one of the beneficiaries of the m:lab’s first wave of mobile apps and entrepreneurship training in 2011. Fishmate gets US $3,000 ahead of other ICT entrepreneurs from across Africa.

Other winners were South Africa’s Powerbox, a phone charging innovation startup and Ghana’s Mnotify Ltd, which received US$2,000 cash each. The Transform Africa summit was graced by Heads of State from African countries including Mali, South Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda Burkina Faso, Gabon,  and Kenya
The Transform Africa Summit is a concept of the Rwandan Government aimed at pushing for a major ICT revolution across the continent. This 2013 summit held from 28th – 31st October attracted over 1,500 delegates.

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Waabeh makes it to the finals of VentureOut Internalization Challenge

challenges

October 18, 2013

Discovering African audio content buying has been a problem for a while now. International solutions do not address the local market and even those that have the content don’t have payment solutions that make it easy for local purchases. There is almost no discovery, distribution, monetization, collation and marketing of African content to the scale achieved with external media

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Waabeh, Africa’s audio market place (music & online-radio) solves the problem of discovery and distribution of audio content from the continent. Currently Waabeh is available on the Web, and as native apps for Android and Windows 8, all with delightful and easy to use design that takes the headache out of discovering new as well as vintage African sounds and puts the focus back on what is important; hearing what you love.

Since inception to date, Waabeh has over 8,000 downloads, with 1,500 plus registered users, over 227,000 users plays/strems music on their website and over 1000 downloads on google play and Samsung App store.  75% of the content is premium.

Waabeh

The team, from left; Jeff maina Lead Designer, Tim Rimbui COE and King’ori Maina CTO

Recently Waabeh applied for an international challenge called VentureOut Internalization Challenge which is an initiative of infoDev  and CRDF Global to propel expansion-ready mobile entrepreneurs into enticing international markets. The program helps entrepreneurs through hands-on training, virtual learning opportunities, mentorship, international exposure, and seed funding.

Waabeh is the only startup from East Africa that made it to the finals of the challenge. They will be competing against 12 other startups from all over the world for $10,000 in seed funding in the Dragon’s Den in Chisinau, Moldova during an international mobile meeting on 30th – 1st November. For more information on ventureOut Challenge, visit their website

For more information on Waabeh, visit their website, you can also check out their android app here and Android app demo here.

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UpStart Africa Nairobi auditions are here!

challenges

October 17, 2013

Over the last two weeks UpStart Africa has toured Kisumu and Mombasa looking for creatives, developers and marketers to join the inaugural Kenyan tech based business reality TV show that premiers mid November. Most people think that all talent in the country is based in Nairobi, the auditions have told a different story. The turnout has been

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great and the contestants have been nothing but impressive.

Upstart Africa’s vision is to use television to inspire thousands of young people across Africa to take up technology and entrepreneurship as a viable alternative to job seeking. Participants on the show will form teams each made up of three individuals with different skill sets that complement each other.

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Upstart Africa Kisumu Auditions at Tom Mboya Labour College Kisumu

The teams will then work on ideas that use tech to solve real world problems. Mentors will guide the teams along each step. A panel of VCs will act as the elimination panel. The winning team wins $50,000 investment.

On Saturday (19th) and Sunday (20th) of October 2013 the Nairobi auditions will take place at the

Kenya National Theatre. Interested individuals can sign up for the auditions by going to http://auditions.upstartafrica.tv.

If you have any queries feel free to contact the Upstart team through;

Twitter handle @upstartafricatv or

Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/upstartafrica).

This article is written by the Upstart team

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ICT4Ag Hackathon National Winners Announced

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October 14, 2013

The ICT for Agriculture (ICT4Ag) international conference and its parallel hackathon (dubbed “Agri-hack championship”) will take place from 4th – 8th November 2013 in Kigali Rwanda. The conference seeks to examine how ICTs are truly empowering producers and consumers along the entire value chain. Earlier this year, the Technical Center for Agricutural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) placed a call for expression of interest for hubs to hold national events across East Africa. 9 Hubs, which are among the key ones in East Africa, were selected. Each of these hubs organized national hackathons or selection events.
The winning teams from each hub’s national event are as follows:

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  • Hive Colab (Uganda)- The Agripreneur – Digital Platform to connect and harmonize key Youth stakeholders along the agricultural value chain. By Byamugisha Donald and Denis Izakare
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  • OutBox (Uganda)- ENSIBUUKO: Leveraging mobile and web technologies to improve access to finance for better household livelyhood. By David Opio and Gerald Otim.
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  • iBiz Africa (Kenya) – Kosmerc Systems: Mobile app providing location based information to farmers on favourable crops, seeds, fertilizer, farm management and soil type. By Jeffrey Cherogony and Clinton Busolo.
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  • C4DLab(Kenya)-  FARM DRIVE: Digital book keeping app to enhance credit-worthiness for a 21st century farmer by James Macharia Kimani and Caroline Mbithe Muteti.
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  • Habaka Madagascar Innovation Hub – HighHay: Project Management application for farming by Joelisata RABEHARISOLO and Miradontsoa Asafa ANDRIANARISON.
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  • Buni Hub(Tanzania) – AgrInfo: Farm Plots GIS by Rose Peter Funja and Grace  Slyvester Makanyaga.
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  • Kinu Group Limited (Tanzania) – HabariMazao: SMS, USSD, and Web based platform for collection and sharing of market price data – from markets to the farmers by Elilaki Bariki Guard and Ntomoka Sugwejo Kaboda.
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  • IceAddis (Ethiopia) – mAgric: by Mr. Nebiyou Yirga Wolde and Dr. Abeselom Samson Joseph
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  • iHub (Kenya)– was selected as non competing hub. They will send a team to showcase their product but will not compete with the teams from the other hubs. The team that will represent iHub is Smart Agriculture- Automatic weather stations that sends updates on when to plant to farmers, etc via sms by Tom Ekajja  and Cyrus Baraza.

CTA1During the Finals of the Agri-hack Championship in Kigali (04 to 07 November 2013), all applications will be fined-tuned. National teams will received advices from key stakeholders and users. Each national winner will get a prize. After a pitching session, the best three applications selected by a panel of judges will receive awards as described below:

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  • Cash Prizes

5000 Euros for the Overall winner
4000 Euros for the Runner Up winner
3000 Euros for the Second Runner up.

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  • Six month incubation and mentoring

The winning teams will be offered incubation and mentoring for six month in the hubs that they are affiliated with to support finalization of their applications and hopeful kick start their businesses.

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  • Challenges

The teams from each hub were given these challenges to work on:
Challenge 1: How can bi-directional information sharing and communication between farmers and extension workers be encouraged or improved? Key areas of interest include information sharing and advisory on soil fertility, fertilizers, weather information, pests, diseases, access to localized farming inputs, multimedia content and ability to verify counterfeit products
Challenge 2: Through ICT applications, how can access to financial services be made easier for farmers through a disruptive, innovative tool?
The teams will now work on their product as they await the finals where they will be required to pitch infront of expert judges, mentors and fellow entrepreneurs. They will also be required to have working products by the time they are presenting during the finals.
kLab, are the hosting hub and will conduct their national selection event on 19th and 20th Oct. If you are in Kigali and would like to participate in this event,sign up HERE:http://klab.rw/public/event/37.
The Agri-hack Championship is organized by CTA in partnership with various stakeholders including MINAGRI (Rwanda), MYICT (Rwanda) and with the financial contribution of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). m:lab East Africa is the technical manager of this event.
For more information, visit www.ict4ag.org;  Email: [email protected]

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Waabeh in the Finals of VentureOut Challenge

challenges

October 2, 2013

WaabehWaabeh from Kenya made it to the finals of VentureOut Internalization Challenge. Waabeh is Africa’s audio marketplace [Music & online-radio] solving the problem of Discovery and Distribution of Audio Content from the continent.

Thirteen International startups have been announced as finalist in the mobile application internationalization contest challenge with Waabeh from Kenya representing East Africa. The finalists will receive

ongoing mentoring from exceptional entrepreneurs and investors from around the globe who have experience building companies and taking them global.

The finalists will compete before a live audience and a panel of mobile experts for $10,000 in seed funding in the Dragon’s Den in Chisinau, Moldova during an international mobile meeting organized by infoDev of the World Bank on 30th – 1st November.

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VentureOut Challenge is an initiative of infoDev and CRDF Global to propel expansion-ready mobile entrepreneurs into enticing international markets. The program runs from August to November 2013 and helps hundreds of entrepreneurs through hands-on training, virtual learning opportunities, mentorship, international exposure, and seed funding. For more information on VentureOut Challenge, visit their website.

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Pivot East Finalists makes it to Semi-finals of VentureOut Challenge

challenges, Finalist, PIVOT East

September 18, 2013

Semifinalists for the VentureOut Internalization Challenge, have been announced. The mobile application internationalization contest challenge attracted 113 submissions from 19 countries, East Africa having 20 submissions – 13 from Kenya, 5 from Tanzania and 2 from Uganda.

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 24 startups have been selected to the semifinals out of which 12 finalists will be selected. The startups will go through a mentorship program and use the feedback from the VentureOut judges and their mentors to upgrade their applications by September 24th for another round of judging. The top 12 finalists will be announced on October 2nd.The finalists will compete for $10,000 in seed funding in the Dragon’s Den in Chisinau, Moldova during an international mobile meeting organized by infoDev of the World Bank on 30th – 1st November

 Three Pivot East 2013 finalists made it to the semifinals of the VentureOut challenge. The startups include;

 brainshareBrainshare is an academic application that enables students to easily access ebooks, notes and past papers to help them revise and get ready for exams. BrainShare addresses the problem of poor content access by students in Ugandan schools. This is done by ensuring that notes, past papers and ebooks can be supplied to students easily and also enable student collaboration. For more information view their full profile on startups.pivoteast.com here or you can also visit their website www.brainshare.ug

Ma3Route 2 LogoMa3route is a mobile/web/SMS platform that crowd-sources for transport data and provides users with updates on traffic, directions and driving reports. Ma3Route has hit the streets by a storm with over 5,800 followers on Twitter, more than 25,000 posts on the platform, 1,500+ downloads from the Google Play Store, and 6.5+ million serviced requests. Ma3route was one of the winners of Pivot East 2013 in the utility category. For more information on ma3route view their full profile on startup.pivoteast.com here or you can also visit their website www.ma3route.com

JooistJooist is a social gaming network for mobile phones. It enables users to discover, play and share high quality mobile game apps in low to medium end devices. Their revenue model is mostly ad-funded but they have a paid component to it for premium titles. Jooist has strategic partnerships with three of the largest device manufacturers that they use to distribute and monetize the apps via white-label offerings. For more information on Jooist view their profile on startups.pivoteast.com here, you can also visit their website www.jooist.com

 Other startups that made it to the semifinals from East Africa are;

 Waabeh is Africa’s audio marketplace [Music & online-radio]  solving the problem of Discovery, Discovery and Distribution of Audio Content  from the continent. Currently Waabeh is available on the Web, and as native apps for Android and Windows 8, all with delightful and easy to use design that takes the headache out of discovering new as well as vintage African sounds and puts the focus back on what is important; hearing what you love.

Xcommodity is an online commodities market and auction house. It has been designed to complement and enhance the movement of commodities across continents and balance global supply and demand for raw materials with the goals and needs of developing economies.

VentureOut Challenge is an initiative of infoDev  and CRDF Global to propel expansion-ready mobile entrepreneurs into enticing international markets. The program runs from August to November 2013 and helps hundreds of entrepreneurs through hands-on training, virtual learning opportunities, mentorship, international exposure, and seed funding. For more information on ventureOut Challenge, visit their website www.ventureoutchallenge.org

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Get involved in the Agri-Hack Championship!

challenges

August 30, 2013

CTA1The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). From 4 to 8 November 2013, CTA and the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), Rwanda, will organize an international conference on ICT for Agriculture (ICT4Ag) in Kigali. This event will examine how ICTs are truly empowering producers and consumers along the entire value chain. It will showcase the exciting possibilities and incredible developments taking place in this area. In line with CTA’s strategy, the ICT4Ag conference will promote the application of ICTs in the agricultural sector with particular emphasis on value chains, advocacy and policy development.

A regional hackathon on ICT4Ag solutions is planned as one of the key activities that will run in parallel to the conference. In order to make this regional championship a success they are calling out for partners in Eastern Africa Countries for the national champions that will culminate in the finals in Kigali. Private and public sector run innovation, entrepreneurship hubs/communities from that the Eastern Africa region are invited to express interest in being partners nominating and supporting teams to the finals of the regional competition.

Developers can participate in this as early as now by asking the hub/lab/community they are affiliated with to express interest in participating as partners with CTA. To participate as a partner in the ICT4Ag Conference hackathon dubbed “Agri-Hack Championship” read more  HERE, you can also fill this FORM. Hubs in this countries can participate: Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

CTA Logo

Important dates:

–       Hubs/labs have to apply and send their applications by 05 September.

–       Selection by hubs/labs of the team who will go to Kigali (following national hackathon or selection events) by 02 October.

Up to twelve (12) Tech hubs will be selected to organise hackathons or other selection events to nominate participating teams. Teams in the championship will compete for seed grants amounting to EUR 5,000, EUR 4,000 and EUR 3,000 for the first, second and third overall positions respectively. The hubs nominating the three winning teams will also receive a EUR 3,000 grant to undertake post competition incubation and business support to the winning teams for a period of 6 months. Interventions provided during the incubation period will include support to finalise development of winning solutions.

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Apply for VentureOut Internationalization Challenge

challenges

August 23, 2013

hlNGOaCT-7RHFkwUe4LjLsJ4YS6vbH4iDzojjl5Hq0UDo you want to propel your app to new geographies? VentureOut Challenge is giving an opportunity to developers to go global with their applications. VentureOut is an initiative to propel expansion-ready mobile entrepreneurs into international markets.

VentureOut Challenge which is sponsored by infoDev in partnership with CRDF Global will runs from August to November 2013. The program will help hundreds of entrepreneurs through hands-on training, virtual learning opportunities, mentorship, international exposure, and seed funding.

Entrepreneurs will prove themselves through sharing their apps’ current success and potential and plans for future growth into new markets. Top mobile app entrepreneurs from 31 countries will compete in the VentureOut Challenge to enter the Dragon’s Den in Chisinau, Moldova during an international mobile meeting organized by infoDev of the World Bank.

The top 12 entrepreneurs from the competition will meet in Moldova October 30-31, 2013 for the Dragon’s Den, a pitching exposition to compete for $10,000 in seed funding. One selected VentureOut entrepreneur will also get a chance to attend TechCrunch’s Disrupt Europe event in Berlin October 26-29 2013.

m:lab East Africa will provide mentorship and training to the selected startups from East Africa on topics listed as needs for startups.

Apply here!

In order to participate in the competition, eligible applicants must submit an application online that consists of a Mobile App Internationalization Summary here. The deadline for submission of applications is on 2nd September 2013.

For more information on VentureOut Challenge visit their website here

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