Technology has brought immense resources and possibilities to solve most of the world’s problems from agriculture to health and even education. This has led to the creation of an entire sector referred to as social enterprise where entrepreneurs raise capital with the intent of solving these problems and with little emphasis on profitability. The same has been replicated locally although technology has largely not been incorporated into the social enterprise on a wide scale as is the case all over the world. Social enterprise in technology involves leveraging technology tools to create solutions capable of empowering the society and at the same time deal with these problems.
Telco Safaricom through the Safaricom Foundation has established a 50 Million Shillings Technology for Good Innovation fund aimed at growing social innovation locally. The fund targets mobile-based solutions that demonstrate sustainable scalability, offer users value for money and are in line with the pillars of the Safaricom Foundation including health, education, economic empowerment, culture and the arts, water, environment and disaster relief.
The application process is open for the next 21 days starting today and ends 1st October 2015. Interested enterprises should check the Safaricom Foundation website for more information. After the deadline, the applications will undergo shortlisting and evaluation by a team comprising of Strathmore, Safaricom Foundation and Technology Innovation teams for another 1-2 weeks. Five solutions will then be picked for incubation at the Strathmore University’s iLab for three months. The applicants will then receive technical support, mentorship and expert training to allow for the scaling of their ideas. After that they will present their innovation to the Technology for Good committee before receiving funding.
Of interest to note is that this fund is separate from the Safaricom AppWiz challenge, which is on its 3rd edition. The AppWiz is an innovation call to partner with developers come up with products that could plug in to Safaricom network and add value to consumers. The Safaricom App Wiz has in its time incubated close to 30 tech start-up solutions including Safaricom M-Ledger and Magazine Reel, both of which are now commercial businesses.