Congrats to Apps4Africa 2011 Challenge winner Farmerline and the other teams from Kenya and Senegal who have been named winners in InfoDev’s mAgri Challenge. Winners will receive a spot at InfoDev’s Mobile Startup Camp as well as other resources aimed at helping them grow their businesses.
The four winners, along with fourteen of the best startups from infoDev’s business incubator network, will be invited to November’s Mobile Startup Camp. The Camp is designed to accelerate the growth of early-stage entrepreneurs. A five-day program of lectures and hands on workshops will provide participants with an opportunity to refine their product strategies, business models and marketing pitches, sharpen their negotiating skills and network with investors and peers.
It will also include a Demo Day – a pitching competition before a panel of industry experts and angel investors.
“We were looking for prototype-stage startups in a niche market, and were surprised to receive so many applications of high quality,” says Maja Andjelkovic, Mobile Innovation Specialist at infoDev. “These entrepreneurs are showing not only the potential impact mobile agri applications can have in Africa and around the world, but also the considerable talent behind innovation driven startups on the continent.”
Members of the jury representing leading private sector players in the mobile industry were also impressed by the entries.
Ernest Akinola, West Africa Government Relations for Blackberry said “The winners demonstrated robust and well thought through concepts, but many more entries showed niche applications for specific needs within the agri sector. I wish the best of luck to all of the founders who entered.”
Echoing Akinola’s remarks, Arjun Thomas, Global Product Manager for Nokia Life said, “The competition unearthed very interesting applications. As these startups grow, adapting the business case to ensure steady and versatile revenue generation streams will be critical to their success.”
We would like to congratulate all of the applicants, including the four winners and six runners-up below.
mAgri Challenge 2013 Winners
- Farmerline, Ghana: uses voice and SMS to collect data, share new farming techniques, and better link smallholder farmers to other actors along the agricultural value chain. Its survey tool allows agricultural workers and NGOs to conduct immediate surveys with thousands of farmers at a fraction of the cost of traditional techniques.
- Intellect Tech, Kenya: helps farmers and insurance firms track compensation claims in real-time. The platform improves transparency and facilitates faster processing of farmers’ insurance claims.
- mLouma, Senegal: connects farmers to food purchasers by displaying real-time market prices and localizations. The service will improve the efficiency of the agriculture supply chain, helping farmers to get a better price for their produce.
- Price Calculate, Kenya: aids agricultural producers to calculate the competitive price at which they can offer their products. The app educates producers on the market structures between them and their final consumer (local or international), helping them make more informed price decisions.
Apps4Africa 2011 Winner Eric Mutta, founder of Minishop (formerly ‘The Grainy Bunch’), has just closed a $328,000 financing round from Financial Services Deepening Trust [FSDT – http://www.fsdt.or.tz. The deal was part of a competitive SME Finance Innovation Challenge Fund, in which Eric’s company defeated 13 companies to emerge the victor.
The objective of Minishop is improve the way small & medium sized enterprises (SMEs) keep financial records by providing them with an affordable and user-friendly accounting package called Minishop. Better financial records make it easier to apply for loans that can be used to grow the business, increase employment and contribute to government revenues. In Tanzania, of the 130,000 SMEs that should keep electronic financial records, only 900 currently do so (i.e. less than one percent). Eric will use the funds to close this gap, by hiring 7 employees and purchasing 500 laptops to be bundled and sold with Minishop and other supporting systems for mobile payment collection. This ratio is surprisingly consistent throughout most other African countries so there’s a lot of opportunity for Eric’s solution to grow.
“Apps4Africa will forever remain the event that got the ball rolling,” Eric Mutta exclaimed earlier today.
Eric Mutta took home $15,000 in 2012 competition alongside Farmerline, who coincidentally announced funding from IndigoTrust last December.
We’re excited to learn that winners of last year’s Apps4Africa competition, Farmerline, have announced support from IndigoTrust, one of our longtime partners. IndigoTrust has funded Apps4Africa winners in the past, including 2010 winners iCow and NotinMyCountry.
From IndigoTrust’s website:
Farmerline provides access to agriculture information, communications expertise and advisory services for smallholder farmers and other agricultural stakeholders. Their goal is to empower smallholder farmers using information and communications technologies (ICT), by increasing their crop yields and opening up trade networks and opportunities.
Through their activities, Farmerline aim to grow smallholder farm management and production capacity, contribute to improving processes, encourage new skills acquisition, and build local and regional knowledge bases and relationships. Farmerline believe that providing best practice information and access to market are crucial to the success of building the capacities of farmers in Ghana and elsewhere. To test this, they will be deploying a six-month pilot programme aimed at reaching 500 fish farmers (or one twelfth of Ghana’s fish farming population). Farmers will be provided with aquaculture best practice information, advice on record keeping, access to input suppliers and market access information in an attempt to bolster their productivity and incomes. The information will be made available via SMS and farmers will also be able to call a local call centre where operatives who speak Twi, Ga, Fanti, Nzema and Ewe will be on hand to offer advice and support. Farmerline will hold workshops with new users to guide them through the platform and agricultural outreach workers will also be trained in using the platform and demonstrating it to new farmers.
For more, read this recent essay by Farmerline’s co-Founder Emmanuel Addai.
Emmanuel Owusu Addai is the co-founder of Farmerline the Apps4Africa 2011 West Africa 3rd Place Winners. Farmerline was selected as one of two former A4A winners who would present at the first ever DEMO Africa. Here, Emmanuel tells his story and offers advice to those wishing to win funding in the 2012 Competition!
by Emmanuel Addai
DEMO Africa was a whole week of learning and experiencing what it takes to sell your business ideas to the world. Being part of the first ever DEMO on the African continent has strengthened me and our app, Farmerline, as well as wiped out all manner of perception and doubts about what the young African entrepreneurs are capable of. There they were - young men and women from across the African continent with great vision, ideas and creativity - seeking mentorship and investments for their start-ups.
Before the start of DEMO Africa, I had the rare privilege of attending the [email protected] Summit held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi on the ticket of Apps4Africa. It was a day of pure learning. Meeting all the people who matter in the ICT space, discussing about how to push the frontiers of Innovation and Technology using the 4C’s [Capacity, Connectivity, Creativity, Capital], and telling sponsors and participants about Farmerline as well as receiving responses from them, was an experience of a lifetime. They all believe in one thing - Provide the 4C’s to the African youth, and you will be amazed at the innovations they will come up with. It was gratifying to be in the company of all the giants behind this idea [Microsoft, Nokia, infoDev, USAID, DEMO, Appfrica, VC4A, State Department of USA, etc].
More than 40 great presentations were made from 25-26 October, and 5 businesses were crowned as DEMO Africa Lions. My advice is simple - Guys, get your start-up ideas ready. You may be lucky to be a part of Demo Africa 2013! I can’t wait.
A Few Lessons I Learned
First, being a winner of a credible and prestigious competition such as Apps4Africa comes with it a certain amount of responsibility. It is not just about the winning, its about how you will seize the opportunity of all the hype to make it big. Farmerline has got all the opportunity to ride on the wings of the Apps4Africa award to succeed. The credibility that our business has had with this and many other awards is tremendous, and we are poised to convert these successes into a real problem solving machine.
Second, sometimes you need to improvise to save the situation. I accepted to be part of DEMO Africa not knowing how huge the expectation was. Though I was not happy with my presentation, I have come to an important realisation that sometimes I need to respond to situations as it demands. I failed to demo our unfinished application during my presentation only to realise moments after the presentation that people who followed up to see how our application works just loved that ‘unfinished’ app. In hindsight, I should have been bold enough to show it on stage.
Third, never think you are the only repository of good ideas. Others out there have other, sometimes better ideas. Go out there, listen to them, and polish the little you have.
Finally, learn how to break the ice whenever you get on stage to speak, it really helps to diffuse tension. And I will refer to (former Apps4Africa winner) Eric Mutta’s Mini-Shop presentation - people loved to listen to him more and more because they thought they were listening to a story. Congrats to Eric!
My Advice to the Apps4Africa 2012 Applicants:
We (Alloysius Attah and I) entered the Apps4Africa challenge not even believing our own story. After our idea (Farmerline) came third in the West and Central Africa category, we had to put pen to paper, mind to action, and dreams to reality. Everywhere we go, people want to listen to us just because we are winners in a continental competition. Apps4Africa is serious business. Make the best out of this competition, and you will never regret trying.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Appfrica, the organization that facilitates the Apps4Africa competition, for sponsoring Farmerline and Mini Shop to attend the DEMO Africa event, and for believing in me even when I was unsure of presenting.
If I would forget everything that happened in Nairobi, it would never be the inspiring smiles of the Appfrica team (Jon Gosier, Bahiyah Robinson, Marieme Jamme, Thomas Genton, and Babara Birungi) as well as the unending appetite to want to listen to Eric Mutta (Mini Shop) more and more. Thank you all!
Blogger Jim Haughwout recently shared his thoughts on the ways the International Olympic Committee could have embraced the technology and data to really transform the Olympic 2012 experience by making that data available to developers in competitions like A4A…
This year was not just the first Summer Olympics since social media, multi-media mobile phones, and smart phone (and tablet) apps have become the ubiquitous means that over a billion people use to find and share information, opinion, photos and video globally—and instantly. It was also the first Summer Olympics since the rise in use of Open Data Platforms and Apps Competitions to tap the innovation of thousands of people to create better ways to access information (without adding the cost and complexity of hiring thousands of designers, developers and testers).
The IOC could have taken advantage of this by doing four things:
- Creating of an open data platform for access to all data (back to 1896) on events, medals, schedules, athletes, scores, etc. along the likes of NYC Open Data, Data.gov, the German Open Data Set and San Francisco Open Data
- Establishing deals with traditional media to make metadata-tagged, embeddable video and audio available for widely and easily use in Apps
- Writing a social media policy that advocated (rather than limited) sharing on-the-spot comments, updates, photos and videos—promoting event, sport, country and perhaps even athlete hashtags to make social media data easier to find and use
- Launching an Olympic App Competition along the likes of NYC Big Apps, Apps for Development, Apps for Climate Change, Apps4Africa and so many others.
We’re frequently asked to share the contact details and other information about the Apps4Africa winners and their various projects. We’ve been offering these details to various interested parties on request but obviously, as demand increases for this information, it gets harder to meet all requests. Today we’re releasing a public listing of all the winners of funding from our competitions to date! Keep checking back as we improve this page by adding details about each project, what the winners are doing now, and what they accomplished post-A4A!
In this archive you’ll find participant email addresses, team participants, names, and descriptions of their various projects.
Our own Marieme Jamme, who helped to execute Apps4Africa 2011′s West and Southern Africa competitions, was featured on CNN’s African Voices. We’re delighted to see the coverage on such powerful and inspirational individual and friend!
CNN — Senegalese-born Marieme Jamme is at the forefront of the technology revolution that is slowly transforming Africa.
As chief executive of Spot One Global Solutions, a UK-based company that helps information technology organizations gain a foothold in emerging markets, she encourages global investment in African IT infrastructure.
Armed with a strong desire to help Africa realize its potential, Jamme is outspoken about what the continent needs and how she can help.
Hugh Sado of the Zimbabwean winning team UnsApp was recently interviewed by TechZim offering more insight into their planning and growth plans…
The application is meant to be something that someone with an ordinary phone is able to access. A phone that doesn’t have any internet. We are still thinking of how the technicalities in terms of how this will be possible but basically there will be an interaction between the user and our database so that someone can register and will give them information on what is happening, they can give us information on how much they have if they are farmers, or how much they have even if they are not farmers but they know information. We’re still looking into how exactly the information will move between the different users of that information. But will also distribute via regular desktops, laptops, smartphones and also other media like TV and radio.
The Apps4Africa Hub is a community for those who participated in a previous Apps4Africa contest, those who have won an A4A contest, or those who wish to participate in future contests. The Hub is also a place where anyone who has an interest can interact with the Apps4Africa participants. Are you looking to interact with local luminaries who tackle Africa’s hardest problems using technology, then join the community!
Start a conversation, share a big idea, or collaborate with software developers from all over the African continent!
The winners and staff of Apps4Africa were recently interviewed by Uniiq FM in Accra, Ghana.