Mary Mwangi among winners in Brilliant African Innovations against COVID-19 contest




Six finalists were chosen from a wide field of applicants to compete during Brilliant African Innovations Against COVID-19, a Shark Tank-style pitching contest in which entrepreneurs competed for prizes. Over 2,000 audience members voted for their innovator of choice. The audience vote counted for 25% of the total points awarded, while the judges’ votes counted for 75% of the total points awarded.

The judges for the competition were Juliet Ehimuan, Director, West Africa-Google; Andile Ngcaba, the founding Partner and chairman of Convergence Partners; Eric Osiakwan, Managing Partner of Chanzo Capital; and Adrian Vermooten, Head of Digital Innovation, Standard Bank.

(TOP: Kenya’s Mary Mwangi introducing her innovation, Epesi Trip Planner, to the judges during the Brilliant African Innovations Against COVID-19 pitch session). 

The first prize was awarded to Laud Basing of Ghana, founder of Incas Diagnostics for his rapid Covid-19 test, which is combined with a comprehensive app that incorporates symptom assessment, data capture of test results, tracking of patient location using GPS signals, and dissemination of all of this information to public health authorities. Laud Basing received a $500 prize; mentoring by Harvard Business School Professor of Entrepreneurship, Tarun Khanna; and a $5,000 media package from Africa.com.

The contest judges were so compelled by the strength of the finalists that they decided to award  additional prizes to the two finalists who were tied for second place. One of the two second prize winners was Mary Mwangi of Kenya, founder of Data Integrated, for her Epesi Trip Planner, an app that allows tuk-tuk (public bus) passengers to book a ride and pay online ahead of time, thereby avoiding densely populated lines to board buses, and the payment of fares electronically, thus avoiding human contact associated with the use of cash.

The second finalist tied for second prize was Dr. Wale Adeosun of Nigeria, founder of Wellvis, which uses machine learning to help patients assess their risk for COVID-19, and depending on the outcome, educates patients about the virus, and recommends next steps using a telemedicine platform. The COVID-19 Triage Tool assists the larger medical community, and society, by reducing unnecessary calls and visits to clinics and hospitals.

Mwangi and Adeosun each won $250 and a $2,500 media package from Africa.com. Mwangi won a mentoring session with Adrian Vermooten, Head of Digital Innovation at Standard Bank while Adeosun won a mentoring session with Juliet Ehimuan, Director – West Africa, Google.

Africa.com is a media holding company with an array of platforms that reach a global audience interested in African content and community. Africa.com‘s properties include a business publisher’s ad network, content syndication, www.iafrica.com,  email newsletters, various social media platforms, and internet domain names ending with the “.africa.com” extension. The firm operates from Johannesburg, Lagos, and New York, and has a presence in Cape Town and Nairobi.

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