Four social innovators win Rwf30m Tigo digital changemakers contest prize money


Ndamage poses with a dummy cheque of her Rwf7.5m prize money. / Courtesy

Four social innovators have won a total of Rwf30 million in the Tigo Digital Changemakers 2016 competition that ended yesterday. Erick Joseph, Julien Daniel Mitali, Emile Babu, and Auxilia Ndamage were announced by the telecom firm and its partner, Reach for Change, a non-profit organisation at the Seedstar Africa, a two-day regional summit, which brought together the best entrepreneurs from across the continent in Kigali.

The four beat other two finalists. The 2016 edition had attracted over 100 applicants, according to a statement from Tigo. Each of the four winners will receive Rwf7.5 million, Pierre Kayitana, the telecom firm’s corporate responsibility manager, said.

Kayitana noted, “The winning ventures illustrate focus on digital innovation and financial inclusion.

“From a family wallet to a digitised value chain for farmers, an inclusive online marketplace and a digital platform to supplement the national curriculum, these inventions will improve the lives of many people throughout Rwanda.”

“I feel excited to be among the winners of this competition; this is a vote of confidence in our platform.

“We shall use this prize money to further develop our business. We are confident that our platform will provide a larger market place for the informal sector and therefore increase digital inclusion,” said Babu, one of the winners.

The fifth edition of the Tigo Digital Changemakers competition, launched in October, aimed at identifying and supporting four social entrepreneurs who utilised digital technology to improve society and positively-impact future generations. In addition to the Rwf7.5 million cash prize, each of the four winners will receive business training and access to a global network of other social entrepreneurs under the Reach for Change incubator programme.

Winning apps

Family Wallet by Erick Joseph is a digital application that helps informal workers save a portion of their earnings.

It also tracks their income and expenses to help them build credit, access loans and create a better life for themselves and their families through access to financial services.

Mimschak Star Ltd developed by Julien Daniel Mitali seeks to help high school students assess their understanding of academic subjects to enable them prepare well for their school and national examinations through a digital platform that connects them to learning materials, career development and specialised teachers.

iSOKO, an app by Emile Babu, is a virtual marketplace that aims to enable the informal sector to sell the products and services online. Currently 64 per cent of Rwanda’s economic output is unaccounted for due to informality. iSOKO aims to solve this problem by using mobile technology to formalize this sector and providing them with tools for financial inclusion and empowerment.

Auxilia Ndamage is working to include Rwanda’s farmers in the financial system by digitising the agriculture value chain through her AfroVector app. The innovation will also ease access to information on financial services, like savings products, loans and pensions by farmers so that they can plan for their families future.