App Developers Win Big At Dev:Congress MPower API Hackathon 2013

October 24, 2013 | 3 minutes read
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iSpace, Osu, Accra, GhanaSMSGH and Dev: Congress teamed up for Ghana’s first ever eCommerce Hackathon. The event dubbed the Dev:Congress MPower API Hackathon 2013 was hosted at the iSpace, Osu in Accra.

The winning entry was “Fundr-Africa” a crowdsourcing platform where individuals can create campaigns to generate funds to help with social problems in Africa. It was developed by Osborn Kwarteng, Bright Ahedor, and Kingston Tagoe, and out of the other applications presented, it was judged to have the highest levels of creativity, technical difficulty, polish, usefulness, and overall complete utilization of the MPower API.
The DevCongress team worked out the modality of the event and managed to convince SMSGH, the brain behind MPower, to provide sponsorships. The event brought over 50 developers and web enthusiasts together to take part in collaborative computer programming. As a result, the 60-second presentation time limit was pretty strictly enforced, but teams still had plenty of chance to wow the judges and the audience.
“It’s a value exercise. It allows you to quickly think about a lot of different things,” Yaw Boakye, co-founder of Dev: Congress said of the event. “It’s an opportunity to try something you might not otherwise.”

Hackers were restricted to utilizing first the MPower API plus other SMSGH APIs to work on an application of their choosing. C.T.O of SMSGH, Kwadwo Seinti suggested in advance that some consider creating an application that “benefits the society in some way”.

Fueled by soothing music and fortified by a range of nourishment and cocktails, the young hackers worked for 10 consecutive hours on their applications. The majority of applications hacked at the event revolved around Fund Raising. This goes a long way to emphasize the difficulty and need to apply technology and commerce in the generation of funds for groups and the advancement of socially relevant causes.

The 1st and 2nd runner-ups took home GHs1,000 and GHs500 respectively. Prizes were issued instantly into the winning teams’ MPower account which was projected for all to see. Hackers who were unable to complete their apps were given the chance to do so within 14 days. The first team to present its final app wins GHs500.

The Judges for the event were, Kwadwo Seinti (C.T.O of SMSGH), Alfred Rowe (nCodeDevLab), and Reginald Royston from Berkeley University (Researcher)
The Hackathon also attracted professionals in the banking sector. Attendees found the topics of the event applicable to many different fields. “MPower Payments API is the single most complete API for dealing with Telecos in Ghana and electronic money business”. These were the words of a merchant who has successfully implemented the API for processing payments online.

The event was crowned with a charged party atmosphere with great music from DJ Loft and cocktail engineering by Desny’s Cocktail Engineering.

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DevCongress is a budding developers movement aimed at becoming the most vibrant across the software developers space in Ghana and Africa.

SMSGH remains Ghana’s leading mobile value-added-services company with services and applications in use by more than 7 million mobile subscribers. The company aims at blending communication, content, and commerce to create Africa’s most useful technology aggregation company. Its flagship solutions include MPower, MYtxtBOX, and Jumpfon.

SMSGH In The News – 5 Promising Ghanaian Tech Startups That May Soon Become Multinational

October 16, 2013 | 4 minutes read
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Ghana’s technology and software industry is relatively a younger one and with this comes many challenges for those who are in these fields. Countries like Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria have received some level of international recognition for their software industries. In some of these countries, they have had huge multinational companies buy out some of their budding startups.

In Ghana, the software industry is growing and already is seeing some promising startups that may soon become multinational. In this article, I take a look at five of such startups that are ready to be skyrocketed.

  1. RetailTower

RetailTower is an e-commerce marketing solution. RetailTower enables merchants to create campaigns on price comparison engines.

They seamlessly integrate between e-commerce platforms and comparison shopping engines. With a few clicks, merchants can export their inventory product descriptions, images, and prices from e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento, and osCommerce to publish their products on shopping websites.

RetailTower has over 11,000 online retailers who are all outside of Ghana an indication of their potential in terms of growth and expansion.

The company was adjudged the Utility APP of the Year 2013 at TopAppAwards, Ghana.

2. Dropifi

Dropifi is a smart contact widget that helps small businesses better analyze, visualize, and respond to incoming messages. They promise to help small businesses offer better customer support, capture leads and drive sales through the roof.

Dropifi has over 8000 small businesses as customers all over the world which include TKC Apparel, Colombia International, and ALMA Soul among others.

With the nature of their business and customers, it is expected that they will soon have offices in some countries in Europe and the US to address their growing customer base.

Dropifi has been featured on many international platforms including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and TechCrunch, and was recently selected as the first and only African startup to be among the 500 Startups.

3. Leti Arts

Leti Arts is a startup that is focused on Africa’s superheroes. Leti Arts is bringing Africa’s rich folklore to life through the media of comics and mobile gaming.

This tech company is set to launch The Epic of Ananse, an exciting new comic book series, and mobile game that reimagines the ancient fable of the African trickster god.

With their target market and intentions of running TV series around these superheroes, they might soon expand into other African countries. Already, they have offices in Ghana and Kenya.

Leti Arts has been featured on the BBC World Service, and Polygon, and were recently selected as World Summit Award (WSA) Nominee. They were winners of the Entertainment APP and APP Developer category of the TopAPPSaward 2013, Ghana.

4. mPawa

mPawa is a job-matching service developed by Innokiq. mPawa supports the posting of jobs and the onward notification to blue-collar workers in Africa.

They wish to bridge the gap that exists in the current blue-collar recruitment space; that is getting blue-collar workers into a centralized location and allowing employers to easily reach them.

Their focus on the African continent and the successes in the countries they are already in indicates a possible expansion into other African zones.

mPawa has offices in Ghana and Kenya.

5. SMSGH

SMSGH is a Ghanaian tech company that provides bulk SMS, corporate SMS solutions, mobility, and web solutions among others.

Their story of three young graduates coming together to build Ghana’s first non-telco internet SMS messaging gateway and software is an inspiring one.

They have not only succeeded in building an idea into just a company but a company that sees millions of cedis as yearly revenue. Their turnover is expected to reach GHC10 million in 2013.

SMSGH processes about 10.8 messaging requests every second and over 28 million business-critical & subscriber messages monthly with more than 7 million mobile subscribers relying on them to inform, alert, notify, transact, interact, monetize, and share mobile data.

Their vision of becoming an international brand for business messaging is on course and we might soon see them expand into other African countries.

They were adjudged the APP company of the year 2013 at the Topappawards. One of their products, Mpower Payments was also adjudged the most innovative new app 2013, finance app 2013, top user experience app and was the overall winner, the top app of the year 2013 at the same TopAppAwards, Ghana.

Source: opinionghana.com

SMSGH In The News – MPower Tops Them All At 2nd TopApps Awards

October 7, 2013 | 10 minutes read
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MPower Payments, a Ghana-made simple and seamless online payment app, won five awards including Top App of the Year at the second TopApps Awards this year.

The comprehensive online payment platform, MPower Payments, developed by SMSGH won Web App of the Year, Most Innovative New App of the Year, Top User Experience App of the Year, and Finance App of the Year. Plus the makers of MPower, SMSGH were also adjudged App Company of the Year.

Currently, MPower Payments integrates all cedi-based electronic payment systems including Mobile Money and ATM cards, and links them to both online and offline merchants in a way that enables users to make payments for goods and services online without exposing their details to cyber criminals.

It is very high on security with a green bar SSL, verified by US-based DigiCert on the advice of Dun and Bradstreet. It means in the rarest circumstance where a user’s details are compromised, DigiCert provides insurance cover for the user so it will bear the liabilities.

MPower Payments, which went live online about a year ago, attracted some 4,000 users by July 2013, recording transactions to the tune of GHC120,000 a month.

But currently, two months on, it now has over 15,000 registered accounts, recording more than 10,000 active users doing transactions of up to a million Ghana cedis.

As of July, it had a little over 400 registered merchants, but according to Senior Product Manager, George Mensah “we now have more merchants and many more and bigger merchants are coming onboard to ensure by the second transactions.”

The platform allows users to safely move money even from bank accounts and Mobile Money accounts to their MPower account for online transactions and vis-a-versa.

George Mensah believes the decoration of MPower Payments at this TopApps Awards would drive innovation, relevance, and commercialization in the app/software development industry.

“This goes to show that when you are developing an app you should think beyond the nice features of the app and think about how it can make life easier for people and how you can monetize it,” he said.

MPower Payments is currently a strictly cedi-based platform and active in only Ghana but SMSGH plans to take it to the rest of Africa by the third quarter of next year (Q3-14).

General Manager of SMSGH, Alex Adjei-Bram said the company’s emergence as App Company of the Year was also apt because they have developed several relevant apps like the JumpFon, which provides users with a bevy of mobile entertainment content on short code *714#.

It also has a bulk SMS app called MYtxtBox, and several other SMS aggregation apps for banks, insurance companies, media houses, political parties, and several organizations and individuals across Ghana and parts of Africa.

Meanwhile, at the TopApp Awards, organized by PopOut, eleven other apps, and one individual won competitive and honorary Awards.

The other Award winners include Mobile App of the Year – Nkyea Twi Phrasebook; SMS App of the Year – Infoline, Social App of the Year – Farmerline; Entertainment App of the Year – iWarrior and Kijiji; Utility App of the Year – Retail Tower and Health App of the Year – MoTech.

The others are Education App of the Year – MyPassCo; eGovernance App of the Year – 233Law, and Esoko won Agriculture App of the Year, while Eyram Tawiah of LetiArts was adjudged App Developer of the Year for developing iWarrior and Kijiji, believed to be Africa’s first game app in Apple Store.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Hon Victoria Hamah, Deputy Minister for Communication, emphasized the fact that “data is the future” and the apps which are developed locally must be “relevant to the business community and civil society”.

She emphasized the fact that with the continuous increase in bandwidth and mobile subscriptions, the country is ready for a data consumption revolution that requires the development of more apps.

The Deputy also said she was thoroughly impressed with the quantity, quality, and relevance of the apps exhibited at the Awards.

In her welcome address, Madam Dorothy Gordon, Director-General of Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, revealed that apps developed from Ghana are ranked higher in terms of quality and finishing than most from other African countries, in the World Summit Awards, of which she is a judge.

PopOut, the organizers of the annual TopApps Award hope to host a more elaborate and highly competitive awards event next year with sponsorship and strategic partnership.

Managing Director of PopOut, Maximus Ametorgoh believes “this will create a sense of competition among the app developers and also empower the youth through the creation of innovative applications.”

“We want to be able to give more prizes by way of cash, resources, and packages to winners next year. We want the Telcos and other industry players to come on board. We live in the age of apps. Apps are the drivers of data consumption,” Ametorgoh said.

He further contended that the “internet is used to consume content online so there is the need to collaborate to create apps so subscribers can consume more data. People do not use the internet because it is cheap or free. They use it because of the content they want to consume. If there is no relevant content, people will not subscribe to or use the internet even if it is free.”

TopApps Award is an annual applications exhibition and award event which gives app developers in Ghana the opportunity to showcase their innovative apps and games to technology and business participants as well as win awards for their outstanding products. The apps are judged based on their market relevance, originality, and innovativeness.

Partners for TopApps Award 2013 include Google (Ghana), Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, Nokia, Erke Ghana, EventStreet Africa, TelecomEye, GhanaBusinessNews and Citi97.3fm. TopApps Award is a PopOut initiative.

Source: www.myjoyonline.com

A similar story was also published on www.citifmonline.comMPower Payments, a Ghana-made simple and seamless online payment app, won five awards including Top App of the Year at the second TopApps Awards this year.

The comprehensive online payment platform, MPower Payments, developed by SMSGH won Web App of the Year, Most Innovative New App of the Year, Top User Experience App of the Year and Finance App of the Year. Plus the makers of MPower, SMSGH were also adjudged App Company of the Year.

Currently, MPower Payments integrates all cedi-based electronic payment systems including Mobile Money and ATM cards, and links them to both online and offline merchants in a way that enables users to make payments for goods and services online without exposing their details to cyber criminals.

It is very high on security with a green bar SSL, verified by US-based DigiCert on the advice of Dun and Bradstreet. It means in the rarest circumstance where a user’s details are compromised, DigiCert provides insurance cover for the user so it will bear the liabilities.

MPower Payments, which went live online about a year ago, attracted some 4,000 users by July 2013, recording transactions to the tune of GHC120,000 a month.

But currently, two months on, it now has over 15,000 registered accounts, recording more than 10,000 active users doing transactions of up to a million Ghana cedis.

As of July, it had a little over 400 registered merchants, but according to Senior Product Manager, George Mensah “we now have more merchants and many more and bigger merchants are coming onboard to ensure by the second transactions.”

The platform allows users to safely move money even from bank accounts and Mobile Money accounts unto to their MPower account for online transactions and vis-a-versa.

George Mensah believes the decoration of MPower Payments at this TopApps Awards would drive innovation, relevance, and commercialization in the app/software development industry.

“This goes to show that when you are developing an app you should think beyond the nice features of the app and think about how it can make life easier for people and how you can monetize it,” he said.

MPower Payments is currently a strictly cedi-based platform and active in only Ghana but SMSGH plans to take it to the rest of Africa by the third quarter of next year (Q3-14).

General Manager of SMSGH, Alex Adjei-Bram said the company’s emergence as App Company of the Year was also apt because they have developed several relevant apps like the JumpFon, which provides users with a bevy of mobile entertainment content on short code *714#.

It also has a bulk SMS app called MYtxtBox, and several other SMS aggregation apps for banks, insurance companies, media houses, political parties, and several organizations and individuals across Ghana and parts of Africa.

Meanwhile, at the TopApp Awards, organised by PopOut, eleven other apps, and one individual won competitive and honorary Awards.

The other Award winners include Mobile App of the Year – Nkyea Twi Phrasebook; SMS App of the Year – Infoline, Social App of the Year – Farmerline; Entertainment App of the Year – iWarrior and Kijiji; Utility App of the Year – Retail Tower and Health App of the Year – MoTech.

The others are Education App of the Year – MyPassCo; eGovernance App of the Year – 233Law, and Esoko won Agriculture App of the Year, while Eyram Tawiah of LetiArts was adjudged App Developer of the Year for developing iWarrior and Kijiji, believed to be Africa’s first game app in Apple Store.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Hon Victoria Hamah, Deputy Minister for Communication, emphasized the fact that “data is the future” and the apps which are developed locally must be “relevant to the business community and civil society”.

She emphasized the fact that with the continuous increase in bandwidth and mobile subscriptions, the country is ready for a data consumption revolution that requires the development of more apps.

The Deputy also said she was thoroughly impressed with the quantity, quality, and relevance of the apps exhibited at the Awards.

In her welcome address, Madam Dorothy Gordon, Director-General of Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, revealed that apps developed from Ghana are ranked higher in terms of quality and finishing than most from other African countries, in the World Summit Awards, of which she is a judge.

PopOut, the organizers of the annual TopApps Award hope to host a more elaborate and highly competitive awards event next year with sponsorship and strategic partnership.

Managing Director of PopOut, Maximus Ametorgoh believes “this will create a sense of competition among the app developers and also empower the youth through the creation of innovative applications.”

“We want to be able to give more prizes by way of cash, resources, and packages to winners next year. We want the Telcos and other industry players to come on board. We live in the age of apps. Apps are the drivers of data consumption,” Ametorgoh said.

He further contended that the “internet is used to consume content online so there is the need to collaborate to create apps so subscribers can consume more data. People do not use the internet because it is cheap or free. They use it because of the content they want to consume. If there is no relevant content, people will not subscribe to or use the internet even if it is free.”

TopApps Award is an annual applications exhibition and award event that gives app developers in Ghana the opportunity to showcase their innovative apps and games to technology and business participants as well as win awards for their outstanding products. The apps are judged based on their market relevance, originality, and innovativeness.

Partners for TopApps Award 2013 include Google (Ghana), Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, Nokia, Erke Ghana, EventStreet Africa, TelecomEye, GhanaBusinessNews and Citi97.3fm. TopApps Award is a PopOut initiative.

Source: www.myjoyonline.com

SMSGH In The News – MPower, DevCongress assemble Software Developers to fight problems

October 4, 2013 | 2 minutes read
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DevCongress in partnership with MPower Payments and SMSGH is hosting Ghana’s first ever E-Commerce Hackathon, which would gather software programmers to build services that solve everyday problems.

The maiden event dubbed ‘DevCongress MPower Hackathon’, is slated for Saturday, October 5, 2013, from 08:00am to 10:00pm at the iSpace Foundation, Osu Ako Adjei.

Chief Solutions Architect at SMSGH, Kwadwo Seinti told Adombusiness, Hackathon is an opportunity for business owners, entrepreneurs, IT managers, sales managers, customer care managers, and finance managers to register their website programmers to join other app developers in learning how to accept mobile and electronic payments online.

According to him, the gathering would also provide the opportunity for the website managers of various businesses to be introduced to the MPower Payment platform, which is Ghana’s most comprehensive payment platform that integrates all e-payment services such as Visa Cards and Mobile Money.

Seinti recalled, for instance, that paying for adverts on Myjoyonline is still manual and cumbersome, but that could also be made electronically and be integrated with the MPower Payment platform to enable Myjoyonline clients to place ads and pay directly online.

He is therefore urging businesses to “take advantage of this perfect opportunity to turn your business into a thriving online business where customers can buy, and actually pay for your goods and services online.”

“Free registration for the e-commerce hackathon is available on www.EgoTickets.com,” Seinti said. “This event will be powered by programming interfaces from Ghana’s only real online payment service, www.MPower.com.gh, and SMSGH.com.”

Meanwhile, electronic transactions on MPower Payment platform have shot up from 4,000 in July to about 13,000 currently, and the financial value of those transactions has also shot up from about GHC120,000 to more than a million Ghana cedis now.

The main transactions used to be the purchase of mobile phone airtime, but now ticket purchase, particularly for Roverman Production plays and other events by National Theatre are also on the increase.

Source: www.myjoyonline.comHackathon 2013