South African startups have been invited to apply for the MTN Business App of the Year Awards, which are now in their ninth year and are open to entries from aspiring entrepreneurs and digital innovators across the country.
Categories include Best Consumer Solution, Best Enterprise Solution, Best Health Solution, Best Gaming Solution, Best Agricultural Solution, Best Educational Solution, Best Financial Solution, the People’s Choice Award, as well as the overall App of the Year winner and Best Youth App.
The winners of the competition will win a trip to a tech-related destination to the value of ZAR200,000 (US$12,000), while the top three Best Youth App entrants will each receive a share of ZAR100,000 (US$6,000).
This year’s edition comes with the launch of a dedicated app development and coding initiative, the MTN Business App Academy. The aim of the MTN Business App Academy is to mentor and upskill aspiring talent for a career in app development, which will be done through a six-week online coding programme which feeds into a new category for the app awards, specifically for the developers who went through the academy.
“The MTN Business App of the Year Awards ecosystem continues to evolve and expand. It is now truly a year-long initiative focused on producing the highest calibre of cutting edge and market-ready solutions. At the same time, we are building and deepening a future pipeline of digital brilliance to ensure South Africa, its people, communities and the economy can harness the full benefits of the digital economy and the fourth industrial revolution,” said Kholo Magagane, head of marketing at MTN Business.
As part of the drive to grow an inclusive digital ecosystem, the top three apps from the MTN Business App Academy will be assisted to develop their apps into fully-fledged solutions. A go-to-market strategy will then be devised to implement the solutions, with MTN assisting them to identify a customer, or customers, that are faced with problems that the market-ready solutions can solve.
“All eligible developers selected for the academy will participate in a six-week online coding programme, with the objective being to solve a common social challenge facing South Africa. These are access to education, safety, and access to health,” said Magagane.
They will then move on to take part in a 72-hour hackathon. Participants will use their new knowledge and skills to develop their solution, and a team of tutors will be on hand to help. The solutions coming out of the hackathon will be entered into the Best Breakthrough Developer and Best Youth App categories, and will be part of the overall awards judging process.
Applications are open here until September 29, with the awards ceremony streamed lived on October 29.