Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kenyans clinch top slots in IT contest

Correspondent | Nation Kenyans Gerald Kibugi (left), who developed the Shopper’s Delight application, and David Lemaiyan, who developed Olalashe.

Correspondent | Nation Kenyans Gerald Kibugi (left), who developed the Shopper’s Delight application, and David Lemaiyan, who developed Olalashe. 

By IMMACULATE KARAMBU [email protected]

Two Kenyan application developers have scooped Sh2.3 million each as prize money after emerging tops in the just-concluded Android Developer Challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa, a competition organised by Google.

The two developers are Gerald Kibugi and David Lemaiyan who developed the Shopper’s Delight and Olalashe application.

The contest started in April and was designed to encourage creative development of mobile applications in Africa and beyond.

Olalashe is designed to help users call for help when in an emergency through a widget that sends alarm messages and current location of the user to selected contacts.

Shopper’s Delight allows shoppers to compare product prices from different retailers to find bargains and the best buy.

Out of 29 finalists, three applications were picked. The third is Nigeria’s Afrinolly. Over 1,000 developers participated.

“It is a very exciting development showcasing the success of Kenya’s investment into supporting innovation,” said Google.

Kenya has caught the attention of international companies and partnerships that want to transform Information Communication Technology ideas into profitable businesses expected to help the country’s economic goals.

Two months ago, Humanipo, a collaboration between networks of free agents, announced it would invest Sh54 million in ICT startup companies in Kenya.

Three Kenyan ICT startups that won in the contest held by Humanipo will receive between Sh3 million and Sh2 million.

The seed funding will be used to develop the ideas into viable businesses. Google says the same strategy will be used to fund Olalashe and Shopper’s Delight applications.

Google will not have any stake in the two winning companies but instead will provide additional mentoring to the winners.

This is the first time the competition is being held in Africa.

All the three winning applications and most of the finalists will be available on the android platform.

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