Five students from Precious Blood, Riruta in Nairobi are among finalists in a global technology and entrepreneurship competition, Technovation Challenge 2016, that took place this week in San Francisco, California.
The students were presenting their innovation dubbed M-Safiri, a bus booking app during the two day , in which they stood a chance to win Sh1 million (US$10,000) funding to launch their app.
The M-Safiri app was developed through App Challenge, an initiative of Safaricom Women In Technology (WIT). Through the Safaricom Women In Technology (WIT) initiative, students are not only mentored but also introduced to the basics of coding, user-interface design, market research, and entrepreneurship and presentation skills.
The five students, who go by the name Sniper team, came up with M-Safiri to offer a solution to the country’s fast growing transport sector. They have emerged second place in the high school category.
“The M-Safiri app was developed out of a strong urge to solve community problem using modern technology. It is the answer to the difficulties that come with booking a bus or matatu during peak seasons such as the festive seasons, back-to-school or when one is unable to physically go to a bus station to have a seat reserved for them,” the students explain in a brief about the app.
“We are proud of the success that the Sniper Team has achieved through this opportunity to take part in this global platform. The aim of Safaricom WIT is to inspire girls to see themselves not just as users of technology, but as inventors, designers, builders and entrepreneurs who can solve real-world problems through technology,” said Ann Cheboi, a Safaricom WIT member.
Ms Cheboi added that through Safaricom WIT, the girls will work in teams to develop mobile apps, conduct market research, write business plans, and create a “pitch” for funding for these apps that are aimed at solving local community problems.
Each team is supported by an advisor, often a computer instructor from their school and a female role model from the technology industry.
The students were coached by Daisy Ndung’u, a student at Multimedia University and mentored by Anne Cheboi, Josephine Kamanthe and Emily Jematia Bett from Safaricom.