Water contamination solution e-Maji has been named winner of the Southern African AMPION Venture Bus, following a pitching battle between nine startups born on the bus.
The AMPION startups pitched to a panel of judges at AfricaCom last week, in a bid to win prizes including exposure to investors, free media support, an office space, access to a network of mentors and an investor roadshow to Europe.
e-Maji, a hardware solution for testing and identifying chemical water contamination was awarded the first prize, with judges telling the startup it deals with “a very real need”.
“While your market is in Africa, e-Maji has a real global reach,” the judges said.
The Road Rules app for studying and practicing for learner driver’s licences in six southern African countries was awarded second prize. According to the judges, the app presented “definitely the most robust and clearest business model”.
Volunteer and organisation matching platform My Time for Change took third place, with the social enterprise impressing judges with its “easy, scalable model”.
“It’s a very effective way to create change for good,” the judges said.
The other startups to pitch at the event included farming information app Mlimi; M.E.M – which hopes to manufacture DIY solar charger kits -; the Shining Homes domestic cleaners’ booking platform; school management system KT Learn; School-It-Up – a marketplace for used school materials -; and Da-Mark.com, a digital marketplace for the informal sector.
The first Venture Bus – the West African route – departed Lagos, Nigeria, headed for Abidjan, Ivory Coast; with the HaltEbola ebola information app named winner.
The East African bus set off from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Saturday, November 15 headed for Nairobi, Kenya.