By Ian Katusiime
Ugandan student Titus Mawana, 22 who emerged among the winners of Apps4Africa, a technology business challenge that was conducted online with participants from 27 countries in Africa. Mawana stood out alongside two other African students from Nigeria and Ghana.
His initiative Ffene is a low cost business management platform that helps small and medium sized businesses leverage technology to reduce overhead costs, freeing up resources that can be redirected to growth initiatives.
The Business Challenge was organised under the auspices of Hive Colab, a technology incubator founded by Appfrica International. The annual competition is sponsored by the US Department of State and it challenges innovators to develop sustainable, technology-based solutions to youth unemployment.
Mawana speaks of his innovation “We hope to improve infrastructure and also business management by making it computerised. We also want to enable Ugandans integrate software in their work and make their work much easier.” He learnt of the competition on Twitter, a micro blogging social media platform and he starting building the prototype of Ffene in June 2012 and in November he rolled out the product for his customers.
Mawana hopes to strictly run it as a strictly profit driven business with the $10,000 as his prize money and does not target government subsidies like most start up companies in Uganda do. Monthly subscription is Ugshs 30,000 and annual subscription is Ugshs 300,000.
The function was a meeting point of several techpreneurs and IT savvy people with lots of drink and snacks to eat. The Chief Guest was US Ambassador Scott de Lisi and he lauded the winners of the challenge for their cutting edge innovation.
He said, “As we celebrate the 2012 Apps4Africa finalists here today, I would like to call upon all African innovators to enter the 2013 competition and bring the world your ideas for making Africa for making Africa more transparent ,more efficient and more competitive in the global market place.”