Nokia, AppCampus, and infoDev, a global innovation program of the World Bank, today announced collaboration with mobile innovation hubs across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The move will empower these hubs to act as scouts and agents for local talent, fast-tracking their access to AppCampus funding.
AppCampus, a mobile application accelerator program, was established in 2012 and is managed by Aalto University in Finland, in partnership with Microsoft and Nokia.
The announcement made at the Global Forum on Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship in South Africa, launched twenty six awards per annum for the best mobile innovation ideas to be made via the mobile innovation hub network, starting with infoDev’s mobile application labs in South Africa, Kenya, Armenia and Vietnam, as well as mobile application hubs in Egypt (TIEC), Nigeria (CC Hub) and Mexico.
The value of each award ranges from 26,000 Euro (US$ 33,000) to 70,000 Euro (US$ 90,000) depending on the complexity of the solution or business model behind the idea. The prize winners will be able to compete with other global firms at the AppCampus, in the hope that their application will be commercialized by one of the large mobile carriers.
“By working jointly with the mobile innovation hubs, we are able to connect more effectively with local developers in emerging markets and provide support in terms of funding, especially for locally relevant innovations,” says Pekka Sivonen, Head of AppCampus.
The hubs and mLabs will be responsible for scouting talent and vetting ideas to be submitted to the global pool.
infoDev’s mLabs foster regional entrepreneurship, employment and competitiveness by providing open spaces where developers can find training, mentoring, technical expertise and access to financing. In a short time, mLab-supported startups have brought over 120 commercial apps to market. The best new entries from this network will compete against each other each quarter for the available awards.
“The AppCampus collaboration showcases our commitment to strengthening the growing mLab network around the world and infoDev’s vision of supporting emerging market entrepreneurs in conquering local, regional and global markets”, says Jussi Hinkkanen, vice president corporate relations for Nokia Middle East and Africa.
“We want to support those who can excel with some level of mentorship, skills training and seed financing. We provide potential job-creators better access to markets, which is what we are all about,” Valerie D’Costa, infoDev’s Program Manager commented.