SAFARICOM UNVEILS TRAINING FACILITY FOR MOBILE APPLICATIONS DEVELOPMENT

Nairobi, February 2010….. Integrated communications company Safaricom has partnered with Strathmore University and Vodafone to establish a training facility to build the necessary technological capacity to match the needs of the fast growing telecommunication industry in the country.

The facility dubbed Safaricom Academy, will train graduates interested in advancing careers in telecommunications and development of mobile software applications.
The institution will provide entrepreneurial talent with certified qualifications and experiential training in collaboration with globally established academic institutions. Its first program is the Master of Science in Telecommunication Innovation and Development (MSc. TID) to be realized through a collaborative effort with Strathmore University.

Applications for the second intake of the programme are currently opened. For further information, check: http/www.strathmore.edu/mobile/SafaricomAcademy.php
Application Deadline: 23rd May 2011. Only applications submitted electronically via www.strathmore.edu/mobile/register.php will be considered. Speaking during the launch, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said there was need for affordable and relevant applications that can enhance the lives of Kenyans.

According to Collymore, the high unemployment situation in the country coupled with the current availability of data capacity created a huge opportunity for developing and commercializing affordable innovative applications.
"This opportunity can only be effectively exploited through fostering and nurturing of ideas in a supportive environment which can produce applications attractive enough for subscriber consumption," said Collymore.

Strathmore's Vice Chancellor Prof John Odhiambo said the initiative is a good example of linkages between academia and industry. "The academia needs the support of industry in order to produce job ready graduates, and Safaricom is leading the way through this initiative," he said.

In addition, Safaricom has partnered with Vodafone to offer The Betavine Platform which provides an online lab for all Kenyans to develop, test and expose their innovations to subscribers worldwide.

Students in the Academy will also benefit from the @iLabAfrica initiative at Strathmore. @iLabAfrica is a new Centre of Excellence in ICT Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Incubation and Policy Research for Africa.  
@iLabAfrica will work in collaboration with the Safaricom Academy as a continuation of the current partnership to provide students who go through the Safaricom Academy programme a continued support as they undertake their studies as well as a follow-up support once they graduate.

In our experience, many of our students are developing mature applications ripe for the local market. Unfortunately, they have a number of barriers to overcome before they can set-up successful businesses: lack of capital, lack of business experience and lack of physical resources.
@iLabAfrica will provide support to these students in a variety of ways:

  • Access to seed capital and to potential investors.
  • Mentoring programmes to help them develop realistic business plans, register their business, as well as providing advice on IP issues, opportunities of networking, etc.
  • Physical resources such as office space and facilities.
  • Access to relevant Library resources.
  • Access to a variety of mobile phones, short codes, SMS gateways, mPesa pay accounts, etc. for testing their applications

The (MSc. TID) academic program will be run for a period of two academic years after which the students will be awarded the degree. This will be after a series of successful training modules at Strathmore University and eMobilis and a successful incubation period in Safaricom's development garages. During the incubation period within Safaricom, the candidates will serve under the Value Added Services (VAS) Department where they will be managed and trained in Application Development by eMobilis.

All applications developed during this time will be owned by Safaricom and offered as free content to Safaricom customers in efforts to drive up data usage and revenue. The students will then be awarded with the Master of Science in Telecommunication Innovation and Development, recognized globally.

Under the academic programme, an incubation centre will be provided to enable entrepreneurs conduct research and development in a professional, conducive environment under guidance from established specialists.

Apart from enhancing academic competence through certified qualifications, students at the academy will benefit from mentorship and coaching skills through the world renowned eMobilis.  This will expose them to the global market through the Safaricom AppStore where they can market their applications. Purchasers of these applications can pay through the M-PESA money transfer service.

To ensure transparency in the working of the academy and to interface between Safaricom, application developers, and content aggregator, the telecommunication company will launch the Safaricom Innovation Board. The board will be made up of different stakeholders in innovation and application development in Kenya.

The board will play a liaison role of interacting with the innovators and guiding them on how to actualize their ideas. It will also guide application developers on how to refine their applications and how commercialize them. The board is also tasked with identifying those who require further learning or exposure to increasing their skills by exposing them to Safaricom Incubation Centre.

"Through these initiatives, Safaricom is looking at encouraging local innovation, developing mobile applications in the industry, enhancing the use of M-PESA and living to our tradition as the industry's innovation leaders," said Mr. Collymore.
Some 30 recently graduated students have already been recruited by Strathmore University and Safaricom to pioneer the academic programme. The students used the launch occasion to showcase their applications developed during their period in the period in incubation.

Safaricom has in the recent past enhanced initiatives aimed at increasing data uptake and usage in the country. Among them is partnership with device makers to come up with affordable but data enabled handsets and laptops.

These initiatives will increase local content on the Internet and improve relevance and uptake.
Safaricom is also actively working with the Ministry of Information, Kenya ICT Board and other stakeholders in setting up Digital Villages to ensure that Kenyans, especially those living in the rural areas, have access to reliable internet connection. Over 600 Digital Villages are currently connected.

"We will continue investing heavily in this area as we are convinced that this is a natural progression from our legacy leadership in voice and innovation as seen in a steady pipeline of life-changing propositions including the globally-acclaimed M-PESA, a pioneer in its category," Mr Collymore adds.

Voting for The Insyder's SKIZA CHAT Awards Winners opens on Saturday

March 9th, 2011 (Nairobi) ...Voting for The 9th annual Insyder's SKIZA CHAT Awards is set to kick off on Saturday, March 12th.

This follows the release of the official nominees for the awards which took place at the Sankara Hotel on Wednesday. The names were released after a 3 month pre-nomination period, running between December 2010 and February 2011. The awards are sponsored by Safaricom through its Caller Ring Back Tune service SKIZA.

"Safaricom feels honoured to support and be part of this great initiative because we believe it goes a long way in recognising talent among our youth. It also provides us with a platform to engage with the youth, which is a key and growing component of our customer base," said Safaricom Head of Strategy and New Business Nzioka Waita.

Those wishing to vote in their favourite artists can do so by sending a short message to the code 5683, USSD code 5683, online at either - The Insyder magazine website www.theinsyder.com or the Safaricom website www.safaricom.com - or by filling in a form inserted inside every copy of The Insyder magazine.

Voting closes on April 11th, 2011 at midnight. Audit firm Delloite Kenya will tally and certify all the voting entries for the 9th CHAT Awards. The finals will be held at the Carnivore Gardens on Saturday April, 16th 2011 starting at noon to close at 6 p.m.

This year, SKIZA will engage teens throughout the voting process using innovative mobile platforms. A mobile voting application has been created giving the youth opportunity to vote for their favourites and also the latest information on how their celebrity choices are preparing for the event.

In addition, there will be a competition on Facebook that will give teens the opportunity to win VIP tickets. The competition dubbed Chagua na Udondoke will be activated exclusively on The Insyder Magazine's Facebook fan page.

To participate, teens will have to access Facebook through *554#, check into The Insyder magazine's Facebook fan page and vote for their favourite nominees. By so doing, they will get an opportunity to win 1 of 50 complimentary tickets to the finals.

In keeping with the tradition, this year's award theme is 'Revved Up' – inspired by the positive aspects of Kenya's matatu culture.

"To Kenya's youth, the matatu is more than just a mode of public transport; it is a vehicle that allows them to interact with the pillars of youth culture; from fashion and music, to technology and entertainment, the Matatu plays an influential role in their daily lives. Furthermore, let it not be forgotten that the matatu culture has spawned a fully fledged industry that has created thousands of jobs for Kenya's youth, and played a massive role in promoting Kenya's music industry" says Tamima Ibrahim, Editor of The Insyder magazine.

And to make the awards more participatory, the CHAT Awards crew will visit Kisumu and Mombasa to give teens an experiential feel of the awards. The tour to kicks off on the March 15th with the CHAT Awards Mathree Crew driving off to Kisumu and Mombasa in a series of in-school, shopping mall and road show events.

"These will allow those teens who never get the opportunity to attend the final event in Nairobi the chance to "touch and feel" the CHAT Awards, albeit in a small way," says Tamima.

Through the CHAT Awards Mathree Tour, celebrities will also get the opportunity to deliver life skills messages to Kenya's youth. Through the Celeb Mentorship Program, the CHAT Awards will be able to use entertainment industry celebrities to pass this message: To be cool after school, you've got to stay in school. The whole idea is to take celebrities out of their music & entertainment persona, and present them to teens as individuals who succeeded in school, and ultimately in their careers.

This year, the CHAT Awards have added category sponsors to its rooster of key partnerships. There are 3 key category sponsors, including;

Nokia – They come on board as the Official Mobile Device Partner. In the 2011 event, Nokia will be leveraging their sponsorship through their online mobile application platform OVI STORE. Nokia offers thousands of cool mobile apps on their Ovi Store platform and this year, they will be offering a mobile game dubbed 'CHAGUO SUPERSTAR' – which will be available for download for free.

PSI –Through their 'Tumechill' campaign, PSI will be part of the 2011 event as the Official Social Responsibility Partner. Given that teens are the most 'at risk' demography when it comes to HIV/AIDS and STI's – the Tumechill campaign is an obvious partner for the CHAT Awards. Throughout the event, Tumechill will be using celebrities to pass on the message of sex abstinence to the teens. Tumechill will also give school fees scholarships to teens who win awards in the 'Schools Category.' 

Nairobi, February 2010….. Integrated communications company Safaricom has partnered with Strathmore University and Vodafone to establish a training facility to build the necessary technological capacity to match the needs of the fast growing telecommunication industry in the country.

The facility dubbed Safaricom Academy, will train graduates interested in advancing careers in telecommunications and development of mobile software applications.
The institution will provide entrepreneurial talent with certified qualifications and experiential training in collaboration with globally established academic institutions. Its first program is the Master of Science in Telecommunication Innovation and Development (MSc. TID) to be realized through a collaborative effort with Strathmore University.

Applications for the second intake of the programme are currently opened. For further information, check: http/www.strathmore.edu/mobile/SafaricomAcademy.php
Application Deadline: 23rd May 2011. Only applications submitted electronically via www.strathmore.edu/mobile/register.php will be considered. Speaking during the launch, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said there was need for affordable and relevant applications that can enhance the lives of Kenyans.

According to Collymore, the high unemployment situation in the country coupled with the current availability of data capacity created a huge opportunity for developing and commercializing affordable innovative applications.
"This opportunity can only be effectively exploited through fostering and nurturing of ideas in a supportive environment which can produce applications attractive enough for subscriber consumption," said Collymore.

Strathmore's Vice Chancellor Prof John Odhiambo said the initiative is a good example of linkages between academia and industry. "The academia needs the support of industry in order to produce job ready graduates, and Safaricom is leading the way through this initiative," he said.

In addition, Safaricom has partnered with Vodafone to offer The Betavine Platform which provides an online lab for all Kenyans to develop, test and expose their innovations to subscribers worldwide.

Students in the Academy will also benefit from the @iLabAfrica initiative at Strathmore. @iLabAfrica is a new Centre of Excellence in ICT Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Incubation and Policy Research for Africa.  
@iLabAfrica will work in collaboration with the Safaricom Academy as a continuation of the current partnership to provide students who go through the Safaricom Academy programme a continued support as they undertake their studies as well as a follow-up support once they graduate.

In our experience, many of our students are developing mature applications ripe for the local market. Unfortunately, they have a number of barriers to overcome before they can set-up successful businesses: lack of capital, lack of business experience and lack of physical resources.
@iLabAfrica will provide support to these students in a variety of ways:

  • Access to seed capital and to potential investors.
  • Mentoring programmes to help them develop realistic business plans, register their business, as well as providing advice on IP issues, opportunities of networking, etc.
  • Physical resources such as office space and facilities.
  • Access to relevant Library resources.
  • Access to a variety of mobile phones, short codes, SMS gateways, mPesa pay accounts, etc. for testing their applications

The (MSc. TID) academic program will be run for a period of two academic years after which the students will be awarded the degree. This will be after a series of successful training modules at Strathmore University and eMobilis and a successful incubation period in Safaricom's development garages. During the incubation period within Safaricom, the candidates will serve under the Value Added Services (VAS) Department where they will be managed and trained in Application Development by eMobilis.

All applications developed during this time will be owned by Safaricom and offered as free content to Safaricom customers in efforts to drive up data usage and revenue. The students will then be awarded with the Master of Science in Telecommunication Innovation and Development, recognized globally.

Under the academic programme, an incubation centre will be provided to enable entrepreneurs conduct research and development in a professional, conducive environment under guidance from established specialists.

Apart from enhancing academic competence through certified qualifications, students at the academy will benefit from mentorship and coaching skills through the world renowned eMobilis.  This will expose them to the global market through the Safaricom AppStore where they can market their applications. Purchasers of these applications can pay through the M-PESA money transfer service.

To ensure transparency in the working of the academy and to interface between Safaricom, application developers, and content aggregator, the telecommunication company will launch the Safaricom Innovation Board. The board will be made up of different stakeholders in innovation and application development in Kenya.

The board will play a liaison role of interacting with the innovators and guiding them on how to actualize their ideas. It will also guide application developers on how to refine their applications and how commercialize them. The board is also tasked with identifying those who require further learning or exposure to increasing their skills by exposing them to Safaricom Incubation Centre.

"Through these initiatives, Safaricom is looking at encouraging local innovation, developing mobile applications in the industry, enhancing the use of M-PESA and living to our tradition as the industry's innovation leaders," said Mr. Collymore.
Some 30 recently graduated students have already been recruited by Strathmore University and Safaricom to pioneer the academic programme. The students used the launch occasion to showcase their applications developed during their period in the period in incubation.

Safaricom has in the recent past enhanced initiatives aimed at increasing data uptake and usage in the country. Among them is partnership with device makers to come up with affordable but data enabled handsets and laptops.

These initiatives will increase local content on the Internet and improve relevance and uptake.
Safaricom is also actively working with the Ministry of Information, Kenya ICT Board and other stakeholders in setting up Digital Villages to ensure that Kenyans, especially those living in the rural areas, have access to reliable internet connection. Over 600 Digital Villages are currently connected.

"We will continue investing heavily in this area as we are convinced that this is a natural progression from our legacy leadership in voice and innovation as seen in a steady pipeline of life-changing propositions including the globally-acclaimed M-PESA, a pioneer in its category," Mr Collymore adds.

Voting for The Insyder's SKIZA CHAT Awards Winners opens on Saturday

March 9th, 2011 (Nairobi) ...Voting for The 9th annual Insyder's SKIZA CHAT Awards is set to kick off on Saturday, March 12th.

This follows the release of the official nominees for the awards which took place at the Sankara Hotel on Wednesday. The names were released after a 3 month pre-nomination period, running between December 2010 and February 2011. The awards are sponsored by Safaricom through its Caller Ring Back Tune service SKIZA.

"Safaricom feels honoured to support and be part of this great initiative because we believe it goes a long way in recognising talent among our youth. It also provides us with a platform to engage with the youth, which is a key and growing component of our customer base," said Safaricom Head of Strategy and New Business Nzioka Waita.

Those wishing to vote in their favourite artists can do so by sending a short message to the code 5683, USSD code 5683, online at either - The Insyder magazine website www.theinsyder.com or the Safaricom website www.safaricom.com - or by filling in a form inserted inside every copy of The Insyder magazine.

Voting closes on April 11th, 2011 at midnight. Audit firm Delloite Kenya will tally and certify all the voting entries for the 9th CHAT Awards. The finals will be held at the Carnivore Gardens on Saturday April, 16th 2011 starting at noon to close at 6 p.m.

This year, SKIZA will engage teens throughout the voting process using innovative mobile platforms. A mobile voting application has been created giving the youth opportunity to vote for their favourites and also the latest information on how their celebrity choices are preparing for the event.

In addition, there will be a competition on Facebook that will give teens the opportunity to win VIP tickets. The competition dubbed Chagua na Udondoke will be activated exclusively on The Insyder Magazine's Facebook fan page.

To participate, teens will have to access Facebook through *554#, check into The Insyder magazine's Facebook fan page and vote for their favourite nominees. By so doing, they will get an opportunity to win 1 of 50 complimentary tickets to the finals.

In keeping with the tradition, this year's award theme is 'Revved Up' – inspired by the positive aspects of Kenya's matatu culture.

"To Kenya's youth, the matatu is more than just a mode of public transport; it is a vehicle that allows them to interact with the pillars of youth culture; from fashion and music, to technology and entertainment, the Matatu plays an influential role in their daily lives. Furthermore, let it not be forgotten that the matatu culture has spawned a fully fledged industry that has created thousands of jobs for Kenya's youth, and played a massive role in promoting Kenya's music industry" says Tamima Ibrahim, Editor of The Insyder magazine.

And to make the awards more participatory, the CHAT Awards crew will visit Kisumu and Mombasa to give teens an experiential feel of the awards. The tour to kicks off on the March 15th with the CHAT Awards Mathree Crew driving off to Kisumu and Mombasa in a series of in-school, shopping mall and road show events.

"These will allow those teens who never get the opportunity to attend the final event in Nairobi the chance to "touch and feel" the CHAT Awards, albeit in a small way," says Tamima.

Through the CHAT Awards Mathree Tour, celebrities will also get the opportunity to deliver life skills messages to Kenya's youth. Through the Celeb Mentorship Program, the CHAT Awards will be able to use entertainment industry celebrities to pass this message: To be cool after school, you've got to stay in school. The whole idea is to take celebrities out of their music & entertainment persona, and present them to teens as individuals who succeeded in school, and ultimately in their careers.

This year, the CHAT Awards have added category sponsors to its rooster of key partnerships. There are 3 key category sponsors, including;

Nokia – They come on board as the Official Mobile Device Partner. In the 2011 event, Nokia will be leveraging their sponsorship through their online mobile application platform OVI STORE. Nokia offers thousands of cool mobile apps on their Ovi Store platform and this year, they will be offering a mobile game dubbed 'CHAGUO SUPERSTAR' – which will be available for download for free.

PSI –Through their 'Tumechill' campaign, PSI will be part of the 2011 event as the Official Social Responsibility Partner. Given that teens are the most 'at risk' demography when it comes to HIV/AIDS and STI's – the Tumechill campaign is an obvious partner for the CHAT Awards. Throughout the event, Tumechill will be using celebrities to pass on the message of sex abstinence to the teens. Tumechill will also give school fees scholarships to teens who win awards in the 'Schools Category.' 

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