MTN App Challenge: Laundry Services App, Yoza, Wins Hackathon

After a challenging 48 hours of the most electrifying, inspiring and innovative idea generation, with sleep a distant memory for 18 hardworking teams, the innovators in the MTN App challenge presented their results to a panel of judges in a well attended closing ceremony.

MTN’s C.E.O Brain Gouldie (Center) poses for a group photo with the Overall winning team in the MTN App Challenge 2015 that was held at MTN Towers.
MTN’s C.E.O Brain Gouldie (Center) poses for a group photo with the Overall winning team in the MTN App Challenge 2015 that was held at MTN Towers.

The challenge was won by Yoza, an Android app helps users find laundry services.

They have listed a number of service providers and will use the app to connect them to people who need theirservices.

The event was attended by various stakeholders including Mr. James Saaka, Executive Director of the National Information Technology Authority, Michael Niyitegeka, Vice Chairman of the ICT Association of Uganda, who also served as a judge in this weekend’s competition.

Speaking at event, Brian Gouldie, the CEO of MTN Uganda commended the participants for their efforts and energydisplayed throughout the hackathon, while stressing MTN’s commitment to helping youth find gainful employment.

“As Uganda continues to battle challenges like youth unemployment, MTN looks to leverage its position as an industry leader to offer youth opportunities to create solutions that will be commercialized and bring about long-term employment for them,” said Brian Gouldie.

“In line with our vision to deliver a bold, new digital world, we’re looking to continue concentrating our efforts on creation of brand new digital applications to enrich customer experience and deliver value in our propositions while contributing to the nation’s transformation agenda in – the core sectors of Finance, Health and Education,” he added.

“It’s no secret that digital innovations are at the heart of true transformation around the world. The question now is which innovation crosses the $1 billion valuation mark first; even in Africa. To be part of the digital revolution, it is crucial for Uganda to start building a sustainable Innovation Eco-system,” Mr. Gouldie further elaborated.

The CEO also revealed plans by MTN to launch an Innovation Lab later this year, further stressing MTN’s commitment to lead the way in ICT Innovation.

Most of the applications developed this weekend run on Android and utilize MTN Mobile Money as a payment gateway for most of the payments they’re built to facilitate, which presents a great opportunity for MTN.
The apps cut across four key themes of M-Health, M-Business, M-Entertainment and M-Finance and each category winner will take home cash prizes, commercialization support and other merchandize specifically chosen to facilitate their work.

The overall winner will also have an opportunity to visit Huawei’s HQ in China to truly experience innovation excellence.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer, MapulaBodibe said:

“As a leading ICT brand in the market, MTN believes a strong focus on digitization will usher in a new world order for emerging markets. This involves providing and supporting platforms that enable technology infrastructure development and advancement,” said Chief Marketing Officer, Ms.MapulaBodibe.

This month’s MTN App Challenge has been organized in collaboration with Outbox, a leading innovation hub in Uganda,Garage 48 and Huawei. The challenge attracted over 500 developers out of which 100 minds have been selected to turn their ideas into technology innovations.

The challenge was intentionally opened up for both students and non-students with the aim of gathering people from different fields with varying skill sets and uniting them into teams that would hopefully develop tomorrow’s big innovation.