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2017 Review: Editor’s Top 16 African Startup and Innovation Achievements

How Africa performed in the year it was 2017, winning accolades, cash prizes and grants, and being recognized globally. We are glad to say, thanks to all the innovators, tech and startup entrepreneurs that represented.

He we go:

16: Ugandan Fintech Startup Won USD$100,000 Investment in Rwanda
Ugandan Fintech startup, Smart Credit developed by Killer Analytics won capital investment worth USD$100,000 from a group of investors. Smart Credit is a solution to solving barriers to small businesses and credit access stood out during the pitching sessions dubbed “Face the Gorillas” at the Transform Africa Summit 2017 in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali (goo.gl/QJ5xkX).

15: DigiHealth Emerged Overall Winners at the 2017 Up Accelerate Demo Day
The overall winners; DigiHealth – tackled the problem of manual patient data collection that is currently being used in most clinics and hospitals especially in the rural areas. The team developed a web-based platform and a mobile app that digitizes the manual data collection for the users most especially the medical professionals who conduct outreaches – so that the data collected can be accurate, secure, and can be easily transferable from one hospital to another in one way or the other (goo.gl/zFhzeL).

14: 4 Ugandan Were Tech Entrepreneurs Awarded Windows Insiders4Good Fellowships
Windows Insiders, a global community of people using technology to make a lasting impact on the world awarded Insiders4Good fellowships to a total four Ugandan startup entrepreneurs. The community aimed at building and sustaining meaningful relationships with entrepreneurs and problem-solvers who think deeply about the issues confronting their communities around the world (goo.gl/VWVyx4).

13: Rwandan Local Startups Won USD$6,000 in Inaugural Fintech Competition
Three local startups in Rwanda won seed fund to a tune of USD$6,000 at the ‘DataHacks4Fi Competition’ in Kigali. Having happened for the first time in the country, the DataHacks4Fi (Data Hacks for Financial Inclusion) was aimed at leveraging technology to deepen financial inclusion in the small East African country (goo.gl/7fS2v3).

12: Four Ugandan Startups Won USD$10000 Seed Fund in Up Accelerate Program
At least four Ugandan start-up groups have been awarded USD$10000 each, to assist them in the development of transformative solutions to tackle persistent sexual and reproductive health bottlenecks in the country. The four groups were revealed on January 17th,2017 after a pitching session in the Up Accelerate program at Outbox hub in Kampala (goo.gl/fOMe4j).

11: Team JustGo Emerged as the Overall Winners at the 2017 MTN App Challenge
For their mobile app dubbed ‘Just Go’- that intends to solve a problem of queues at bus offices targeting market of people who travel long distances by booking buses through both mobile app and USSD code. The team were crowned the overall winners after at tough decision from the judges (goo.gl/z65tkW).

10: Art Planet Academy Uganda Emerged Winners in the Agriculture Sector at the Anzisha Grand Prize
Art Planet Academy was announced as the overall winner of the Agriculture Sector Prize at the Anzisha Grand Prize – a prize that was sponsored by the Louis Dreyfus Foundation. The award was accepted by Ignatius Ahumuza the Co-Founder of the firm. (goo.gl/RqcCMa).

9: Kenya’s Logistics Platform Emerged Overall Winners at the 2017 Startup Battlefield Africa
Kenya’s Logistics Platform; Lori Systems from Kenya were named the overall winners of TechCrunch startup battlefield Africa, walking a way with a cash prize of USD$25,000 in no-equity cash plus an all-expense paid trip for two to San Francisco to compete in the Battlefield at TechCrunch’s flagship event Disrupt SF 2018 (goo.gl/ix4E3w).

8: Ugandan Innovator Ssekatawa Won Africa’s Entrepreneurship Award
Geoffrey Ssekatatwa, the founder of Ugandan startup Brent Technologies emerged among the 12 top winners in the third edition of the Africa Entrepreneurship Awards 2017. The awards are an initiative of BMCE BANK of Africa aim to support African entrepreneurs (goo.gl/7BzKV2).

7: Ugandan Female Tech Entrepreneur Was Named Among the ‘Best African Female Tech Entrepreneurs’ by WEF
Esther Karwera Co-Founder of Akorion was selected as one of the best emerging female technology executives at the second annual search for Africa’s next generation of top female technology innovators and entrepreneurs ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa which was held in South Africa (goo.gl/cvUkgU).

6: Uganda’s ‘MamaOpe’ Invention Won the 2017 Pitch@Palace Africa Contest
Ugandan engineering graduate Brian Turyabagye alongside his team who participated in the contest had their invention dubbed ‘MamaOpe, or Mother’s-Hope’ a biomedical smart jacket that would distinguish pneumonia’s symptoms – temperature, breathing rate and sound of the lungs – and eliminate most human error, diagnosing pneumonia at a rate three to four times faster than a doctor – were crowned as the winners of the 2017 annual edition of the Pitch@Palace Africa contest (goo.gl/zRVNNd).

5: Rwandan Startup ‘EarthEnable’ Emerged Overall Winner of the 2017 Postcode Lottery Green Challenge
EarthEnable emerged the overall winner of the 2017 Postcode Lottery Green Challenge; an annual competition organized by the Dutch Postcode Lottery that provides a helping hand to starting green entrepreneurs – walked a way with an accolade and a grand prize of €500,000 (approx. USD$587,000 or 2.2 Billion UGX). The startup offers a sustainable and affordable alternative for cement to replace dirt floors which are a major cause of disease, discomfort and indignity (goo.gl/cNBAVd).

4: Kenya’s Kocela Was Listed Among Winners of the 2017 African Fintech Awards
Kenya-based fintech firm; Kocela LTD emerged the winner of the Payments and Transfer Company category at the African Fintech Awards gala event that was held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa managing to take down veterans and powerhouses like Cellulant who were the current hold of the accolade (goo.gl/kxeJJc).

3:Ruth Njeri Waiganjo From Kenya Was Crowned Ms. Geek Africa 2017
Ruth Njeri Waiganjo from University of Nairobi in Kenya beat four of her other competitors in the final held on the sidelines of Transform Africa Summit 2017, to be crowed the 2017 Miss Geek Africa the first of its kind in the continent. Out of the five finalists that were chosen, four of the girls were from Rwanda (goo.gl/ujNTyh).

2:Ugandan StartUp ThinVoid crowned African Startup of the Year
ThinVoid, a startUp based in Uganda was voted as the Africa Startup of the year. The awards were a contest organized by Bonjour Idée with the support of 50+ partners focusing on disruptive startups, with a purpose of adding value to the partners’ actions at the heart of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of innovation and startups, and put them in contact with innovative startups (goo.gl/mAAfSW).

1: Makerere Innovator Alvin Kabwama Landed a Training Deal With NASA
Ugandan Young innovator and founder of innovex, Alvin Leonard Kabwama landed a training deal with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) research center in Silicon Valley, USA. The graduate Electrical engineer from Makerere University joined the NASA researchers at Singularity University for a period of 8 weeks (goo.gl/XuFd15).

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