CheckIt app wins MEST-Vodafone hackathon

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CheckIt, a mobile app that allows users to scan a barcode of bottle of medication to verify its authenticity and contents, won the first MEST-Vodafone hackathon over the weekend.

The two-day event was organised as part of a partnership between Ghanaian incubator MEST and the operator, focusing on the theme ‘Using the Power of Technology to Simplify Lives’.

CheckIt won the GHS5,000 (US$1,500) top prize, with judges saying the appeal, simplicity and potential impact of the app was key to their decision.

“The app follows in the steps of the popular mPedigree that has helped to reduce fake drugs in many shops in Africa,” MEST said.

Road Mates came in second place for its mobile app that shows a user how to get around via “trotros” (shared minibus taxis) and walking, taking home GHS3,000 (US$870).

Vodafone Ghana and MEST said they aimed to use the hackathon to raise awareness and provide answers that will become benchmarks in simplifying lives, leading to economic improvements in the lives of average Ghanaians.

“As a leading communications solutions provider, we recognise our power in driving change in society. This realisation has seen us spearhead a host of useful initiatives to ensure that our customers and communities feel empowered on our platform. We see this hackathon as an extension of this commitment to innovation and we are certain that it will generate the desired results,” said Julius Owusu-Kyerematen, head of strategy and innovation at Vodafone Ghana.

Ekua Odoom, managing director at MEST, said: “Vodafone continues to be a true tech leader in Ghana and we’re elated to partner with them in a way that plays to both of our organizations respective strengths. West Africa needs this kind of support for budding entrepreneurs to solve real-world, local problems through technology. We’re happy to be able to team up with Vodafone and provide such a platform.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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