Five young Rwandan innovators are in line to win $25,000 (about Rwf19.2 million) after reaching the final of the inaugural continental MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge competition to be held in Cape Town, South Africa.
SteadyPay, a project presented by three Carnegie Mellon University students during the local final live pitching event at the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology, emerged top. SteadyPay is an e-commerce marketplace app that seeks to facilitate hire purchase businesses, enabling buyers who cannot afford to pay for a product at once, to book it and pay in installments.
In second place was MeLife Limited, pitched by Kepler University students to a panel of industry experts on Wednesday.
The app focuses on health technology and seeks to ease access to doctors by patients, allowing a patient to book an appointment with doctors, as well as access information about hospitals and pharmacies. Academic Bridge, which presented an education technology idea, came in third. Members from the three teams walked away with such goodies as smartphones, modems, T-shirts, and vouchers to shop from Kaymu, an online store, with the top two teams qualifying for the continental final in Cape Town, South Africa. The competition, which the telecom firm is conducting in partnership with Jumia, an online store, tasked university students (working individually or in groups) to develop a unique digital application and effective solution that would solve a feasible problem facing the continent.
Ten teams participated in the contest that had initially attracted 70 applicants.
Kizito Masaba, who participated in development of Steadypay, said the challenge presents young Rwandan entrepreneurs a big opportunity to exhibit their potential, and to build their confidence as young entrepreneurs.
Kepler Varsity’s Jean de Dieux Habaguhirwa said many young entrepreneurs lack mentorship and confidence, noting that the challenge has helped his team sharpen their entrepreneurial skills.
Eric Sesonga, the MTN Rwanda consumer marketing manager, said the competition will help Rwanda and Africa in general find digital solutions to the challenges they face in all sectors of their economies.
The first runners-up at the continental contest will walk away with $10,000 (Rwf7.7 million), and will, along with the winner get mentorship from top industry gurus.