There was an usual tension in the atmosphere  at the Mobile Web Ghana Lab this past Saturday. The sense of  competition that filled the atmosphere, was due to the mobile Apps competition that was held at the lab. The event was highly attended by trainees from both the Accra and Kumasi training sessions. The trainees who were put in groups after the training sessions were given the task of developing  their own apps that would suite both local and international markets. The individual projects by each group, formed the entries for the competition.

These various projects, were presented at the competition by the teams who were all competing for the grand prize of 5000 Gh Cedis. The occasion was  also graced by representatives from Vodafone Ghana Limited and SMS Gh, who formed the panel of judges for the event. It was a total display of  creativity as team after team that pitched their ideas, showcased  innovative  ways of  solving  problems that affect Ghanaians in their everyday lives. The target audience for some of the apps included students, workers, travelers, tourists and even patients of hospitals. All the apps that were presented were aimed at making life easier for their  intended users. The apps that were presented were, mATTACH, Wired up, GoInvest, MypAlert, Fiam, MediTEXT, ZoomMobile, SSNITAX, G_rater and ServePlatform. The technological approach taken by these young entrepreneurs in problem solving , is highly commendable. The switch from manual to a more scientific and technological approach in dealing with issues that disturb the society as a whole, is what will gradually close  the gap between Africa and first world countries.

No  matter how impressed the audience were by the various presentations, it was the impression  the contestants created in the minds of the judges that mattered.  The audience were however given the chance to ask a few questions after each presentation. This gave the audience the opportunity to either expose some flaws they noted in some of the presentations  or commend contestants on their efforts. The judges, like everyone else at the event, were thrilled by some of the ideas that the contestants had come up with. Nevertheless, they were not too impressed  about the business aspect  of almost all the presentations. This only drew the attention of  all who were present, to the fact that having a great idea will amount to nothing if it does not make enough business sense. This notion seemed to run through the comments of each of the judges and it affirmed the fact that it was a necessary aspect of pitching an idea to investors, that needs critical attention. It is worthy of note that the presence of the judges at the competition was not only to serve the purpose of deciding whose idea was the best. This was  because most of the comments passed by the judges were free advice given to the various contestants and even to all who were present. At the end of the day, the competition was more of an opportunity to be exposed to what investors really look out for in such presentations.

The winners of the competition, were the guys behind the ‘MypAlert’ app and they were followed closely in second place by the team that developed the ‘Fiam’ app. ‘MypAlert’, is an app that seeks to eliminate the anxieties and frustrations in sending parcels through the transport companies in this country. Messages are sent to both sender and receiver of the parcels informing them  about the current  location of their parcel. When the receiver goes for the parcel , another text message is sent to the sender informing him of the safe delivery of the parcel into the intended hands. ‘Fiam’, on the other hand , also seeks to eliminate the frustrations that come with locating certain places in the country. Be it a hotel, a restaurant or even the nearest ATM machine, this app gives users the opportunity of receiving directions to their desired destinations. The ‘MypAlert’ team walked away with the winning prize of 5000 Gh Cedis and in second place was the ‘Fiam’ team who also walked away with 2000 Gh Cedis.

The closing remarks of the judges were all in connection to the fact that all the teams should still pursue their dreams whether they won the competition or not. And the winners were admonished to take their projects more serious, as winning  the competition is not the end of the road but rather the beginning of the journey.

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Eli Sabblah

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