By Our reporter
MTN Uganda today announced the winners of the MTN Innovation Awards 2017 at a gala dinner on hosted at the Kampala Serena Hotel. Nine innovations were recognized, each walking away with $3,000 and a plaque. The nine winners were selected by a panel of judges from a nominee list of 45 highly recommended applications.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Olivier Prentout, the Chief Marketing Officer noted that the overwhelming number of entries, over 200, indicated how Uganda was indeed an innovative country.
“Technology presents a real opportunity for transformation of our economy and our nation and we must harness it. But it will take more than just MTN to achieve this; building a sustainable eco-system requires that we come together as stakeholders in Industry, Government, and private sector,” he said.
Adding, “We are also happy to recognize the strong response and participation of youth in our innovation initiatives both the MTN App challenge and the Innovation Awards. Indeed through these platforms, we hope to build a proposition that empowers youth to fulfill aspirations of self-employment and financial independence.”
Representing the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Fred Otunnu the Director Corporate Affairs at Uganda Communications Commission the chief guest at the awards ceremony, said that innovation in Uganda had come a long way with the support of the private sector.
“When the sector was liberalized, a number of milestones have been realized. We are proud that the private sector has been able to drive the innovations as the government remains an enabler. 15 years ago, we could not talk about innovation. It was about the accessibility of services,” Otunnu said.
“I would like to challenge the innovators that they should further their ideas so that more revenues are released. I am happy that the innovations address issues that are pertinent to the issues affecting Uganda,” he added.
The MTN Innovation Awards 2017 took place on the same day that the government commissioned the construction of a government-owned innovations hub. The awards indicate MTN Uganda’s commitment to scale sectors critical to the improvement of lives and communities through digital innovations. The awards are in line with MTN Uganda’s mission to make the lives of Ugandans brighter.
Innovator of the Year
David Gonahasa – Roundbob.com
The entrepreneur behind Roundbob which helps users access and afford travel both domestic and international. By providing a unique travel wallet, users are able to put aside funds for travel up to 12 months in advance. The platform uses proprietary technology to facilitate the booking process with multiple international contracts that allow for varied inventory. The Ugandan market and middle class, in particular, continue to grow, Travel continues to be one of the most desired products for business, health, religion, education and so much more. Travel, however, is very expensive. Roundbob is making travel a reality, providing the market the right information and helping them access travel.
Outstanding Woman in Innovation
The brain behind the M – Voucher app which is championing last-mile digital payments in the agricultural sector by using a system that combines a couple of ICT tools to allow development agencies as well as NGOs to disburse subsidies to smallholder farmers to enable them to purchase improved seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc. M-Voucher uses USSD to allow agro-dealers to use their mobile phones to redeem vouchers in a fast, efficient and transparent manner. It also has a mobile money integration that pays dealers immediately they redeem a voucher from a beneficiary.
Best SME Application
This app aggregates commodities from different supermarkets giving the user an option to select the preferred shopping location. They have a three-pronged system that ensures both the supermarket, in-store picker and Qwicart can operate seamlessly using different applications that are synchronized to operate as one. This ensures that when the user makes an order, it’s received by the picker in the store with oversight from the supermarket owners and managers.
Most Innovative Mobile App
Best Education Application
Addresses the issue of feedback to parents concerning their children’s education. This includes child performance and analysis, upcoming school events, child track record access, staff directory access to inform teachers in case a student doesn’t make it to school, easing fees payment using mobile money or Interswitch, and a chat platform so that parents can give feedback.
Best Financial Services Application
This app tackles payments using purpose-bound digital coupons as well as cards. The purpose-bound coupons eliminate misuse of funds in such a way that they can be redeemed only for the intended purpose and are not transferable to any other purpose. The cards serve mainly the financially excluded people such as students in secondary schools. With these cards, parents can easily send pocket money or pay school fees using mobile money. The app requires simple configurations on the system to have merchants on board or even to register cards. The fact that the app rides on MTN mobile money is an added advantage in that, they can serve any part of Uganda that has an MTN signal.
Best Health Application
Protecting Infants Remotely by SMS (PRISMS)
Protecting Infants Remotely by SMS (PRISMS) is an app that provides timely management plans (both treatment and investigations) to the healthcare provider by SMS so as to assess and treat an infant based on the symptoms they are currently exhibiting that can then be input into the app and a response from the server is received within 5 seconds. The suggested management plans returned from each SMS response are offered by expert pediatricians. This app is already saving lives of infants where it is used.
Best Agriculture Application
This app is championing last-mile digital payments in the agricultural sector by using a system that combines a couple of ICT tools to allow development agencies as well as NGOs to disburse subsidies to smallholder farmers to enable them to purchase improved seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc. M-Voucher uses USSD to allow agro-dealers to use their mobile phones to redeem vouchers in a fast, efficient and transparent manner. It also has a mobile money integration that pays dealers immediately they redeem a voucher from a beneficiary.
Best Media and Entertainment Application
This is an app with a fully comprehensive and socialized events management system that caters to event creation, user engagement, social media promotion, ticket sales and door verification, event analysis and collections. It combines crowdfunding using a unique chat- based payment system