WINDHOEK – The Namibian Business Innovation Centre (NBIC) and Northgate Technologies have launched the first ever Mobile Innovation Challenge, aimed at encouraging local mobile application developers to come up with mobile applications that are able to solve local challenges.
In order to take part developers need to either form a team of three or take part alone to develop a mobile application. The challenge will see budding mobile application developers winning cash prizes. The first prize is N$50 000, the second prize is N$30 000 while the third prize is N$20 000.
To participate in the challenge entrants need to be a Namibian citizen or legally resident in the country. The innovative idea needs to reach NBIC before or by October 11.
Dorothea Westhofen-Kunz, NBIC general manager quoted a recent report from the world bank that states “there are 650 million mobile users in Africa, surpassing the number in the United States or Europe. In some African countries more people have access to a mobile phone than to clean water, a bank account or electricity.” This sort of data shows the market what a mobile developer has, and a good example of a country that is at the forefront of mobile developments is Kenya, where mobile payments have become a part of the daily lives of individuals since formal banks are unable to reach the rural masses.
Northgate Technologies managing director, Josephat Mwatotele, expressed his dream of seeing more developers looking beyond Namibia’s small population and rather to see the world as their market. “The applications should solve local challenges with a global appeal as that will allow developers to capitilise on the huge market out there,” he said, adding that Northgate Technologies will further assist developers in polishing their application.
Screening for ideas submitted will take place on October 12 when five participants will be chosen from those who would have taken part in sessions between October 3 and 4. Another five ideas will come from the general public.
The second step is for the application demostration in which the top 10 teams would demostrate to judges how their application works. This will take place on October 25.
The judges will look at the team composition, entrepreneurial capability, leadership capability, ability to execute the application and presentation skills of the team.
The judges for the first step are Matengu Katukula from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Prof Hippolyte Muyingi from the Polytechnic of Namibia, Alisa Amupolo from information.na, and Jochen Traut from the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia.
Judges in the second step of judging are Steve Bezuidenhout, a Member of Parliament, Prof Heike Winschiers from the Polytechnic of Namibia, Josephat Mwatotele of Northgate Technologies and Benjamen Adams of MTC.
By Staff Reporter