Team Chura from Kenya, has been selected as the winner of the Ericsson Innovation Awards (EIA) for sub-Saharan Africa for its app that allows subscribers to switch, buy and cash your airtime across networks in a multi-sim environment.
The winner was announced on 18 November in Cape Town.
When operational, the app aims to ease movement across networks through services that enable the exchange of airtime from one network provider to another. The app also allows users trade in their airtime for money and enables simultaneous distribution of airtime to multiple phone numbers on networks in Kenya.
Taking home the sub-Saharan African EIA top prize of $10 000, the winners beat off strong competition from runners-up Guavay, an undergraduate team from Tanzania and third-placed P.O.I Information Technology Services, a small enterprise in Ethiopia.
The jury motivated their choice by saying: “Team Chura’s app brings a number of services that adress regional challenges, including speed, reliabilty and coverage. The App shows a strong business potential and creatively addressing the theme “Future of City Life”.
Open to students and start-ups from across the region, teams that entered the EIA competition for sub-Saharan Africa were asked to develop ideas that use ICT to improve the quality of urban life. Each entrant was required to come up with an innovative idea, a business plan and a description of why it should be chosen as winner.
Although the regional EIA has come to a close, the global competition is still ongoing with registration ending November 30, 2015. The EIA 2016 is open to all current students in teams of two to four people. At the close of registration, 10 semi-finalists will be announced on 18 December 2015.
The teams will each work with two selected Ericsson experts to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) and business plan for their idea. Four teams will be chosen by the jury to participate in the EIA 2016 grand final in in Stockholm, Sweden.
The winning team will receive a cash prize of E25 000, with a second-place prize of EUR 15,000 and two runners-up prizes of E1 000 each. Career-enhancing incentives are also on offer for students in both competitions: all participants will be invited to apply for Ericsson opportunities, and semi-finalists will be interviewed for internship or full-time positions.
Tumi Chamayou, vice-president and head of strategy, marketing and communications at Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa, says: “In an environment where most people have sim cards registered to more than one network, this solution creates an ease for managing and optimizing airtime. We congratulate Team Chura for emerging winners of this competition and wish them the best in their endeavors.”