Today was the final day of the Culture Shift Zimbabwe challenge. After a two day long hackathon of refining their ideas, writing code and finally pitching their ideas this morning, 3 out of the participating 6 teams were selected winners and will be further developing their solutions with the assistance of the British Council.
The top team was Openbook who are solving a problem for local writers by creating a local distribution platform for books via biNu. The problem is that local writers can only sell on international eCommerce sites like Amazon and the average Zimbabwean cannot buy on Amazon. Openbooks. The biNu platform is feature phone friendly and also has significant protection for the writers and publishers against illegal copying of the content.
The team has already secured endorsement from the writers association of Zimbabwe and influential voices in the industry like kwaChirere. Openbook will be getting £4,000 over a given period of time, free installation of a fixed broadband solution and 9 month’s worth of broadband. They will also get guidance through the development of their solution.
The first runner-up was Big Eyes. The team is in summary creating a YouTube for low bandwidth connections and one that focuses on mobile devices; feature phones and entry level smartphones. The team also want the application to be used by local filmmakers to showcase their work and possible to be able raise funds for the projects as a result. Big Eyes will get £1,500 as well as the free installation of a fixed broadband solution and 9 month’s worth of broadband. They will also get the mentorship assistance for the further development of their solution.
The second runner-up was Farira. The team is creating a web based eCommerce solution that enables ZImbabwean visual artists to showcase their work and for the international market to discover and purchase Zimbabwean art easily. The team will get the same prizes as the first runner-up. Farira by the way changed names, they were called Zimcreative during the Ideation.
You can see the full list of the teams 6 here.
For us It was two days of learning, getting to know new people and we had such a blast interacting with everyone there. Nothing is given of-course but there’s so much potential in the top 3 solution in terms of successful execution so we’re looking forward to working with them. The other three that didn’t make it to the top, Good to go, 2 Degrees, iCreate. They also have a great chance to refine their solution and work onward as teams even though they didn’t make it today.
If you were not following the event’s live tweeting on Twitter, we encourage you to take time to go through the hashtag #CSZim. Here are a few more pictures we took: