Zoho names four winners of Pamoja Hackathon and Innovation Challenge in Kenya

Zoho, a global technology company, has announced the winners of the Pamoja Hackathon and Innovation Challenge, an initiative conducted in collaboration with the High Commission of India, Nairobi, Kenya and Hindsight Ventures, an Africa-focused startup accelerator. The initiative, aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and innovation among the youth of Kenya, is a step towards establishing a bilateral startup and innovation corridor between India and Kenya. 

By encouraging young entrepreneurs to come forward with their ideas, the program intends to identify original solutions for ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), Sustainability, and Net-Zero problems. The overall winner of the Innovation challenge will be rewarded an all-inclusive, fully funded mentorship trip to India for a week-long tour of the innovation ecosystem and engage in networking activities. Furthermore, the top two winners from each track will be bestowed with monetary rewards: Kshs 75,000 for the first prize and Kshs 50,000 for the second prize. 

“The Pamoja Hackathon and Innovation Challenge aligns with Zoho’s commitment to enabling local tech ecosystems, nurturing entrepreneurship, and creating a positive impact in the community. The initiative is a great way to discover entrepreneurs and young talents who can build a sustainable future with their ideas, and we are excited to work with Hindsight Ventures and The High Commission of India, Kenya for this. Besides, we are glad that the challenge participants were able to quickly build and submit working prototypes of their solution ideas with the help of Zoho Creator, our low-code development platform,” said Veerakumar Natarajan, Country Head – Kenya, Zoho Corp. 

“This hackathon and innovation challenge provides a much-needed platform for the Kenyan entrepreneurs to present their ideas and connect with tech leaders, industry experts, and investors. The initiative has also allowed us to collaborate with like-minded organisations like Zoho in supporting the local youth build for the future. With the help of Zoho Creator, we have been able to see various ideas live in action as functional applications,” said Ms. Namgya C. Khampa, the Indian High Commissioner and Permanent Representative to UNEP and UN-Habitat. 

The challenge received 85 entries for the hackathon track and 54 entries for the innovation track. After a meticulous selection process, 32 hackathon entries and 10 innovation entries were shortlisted. The submissions were evaluated by a distinguished panel of six jury members, including industry leaders from Godrej Consumer Products, Bank of India, BDO East Africa, Zoho Africa, Duhqa, and Hindsight Ventures. 

The jury selected 10 ideas (5 from each track) that were nurtured during a week-long boot-camp where participants received guidance and support to refine their solutions that were built on Zoho Creator. At the end of the contest, the participants presented the functional prototypes to industry experts, investors, and collaborators. 

Zoho Creator is a cloud-based low-code platform that allows users to easily create custom web and mobile applications with minimal coding expertise. It offers a drag-and-drop interface and pre-built templates to simplify app development. 

The winners of the hackathon are as follows:

In the Hackathon track:
1. Wesley Kijedi – Zero Carbon
2. Mary Njoki – Ustawi

In the Startup Track:
1. Kennedy Kariuki – Thorium Organic Foods (overall winner)
2. Rosaly Akinyi – ROAK Swahili Wear

The Pamoja Hackathon and Innovation Challenge is an initiative that unites young talents in Kenya to address urgent global issues. By fostering collaboration and nurturing creativity, it empowers participants to generate groundbreaking solutions and shape a brighter future. This transformative initiative nurtures the next generation of trailblazers, establishing a foundation for impactful innovations and sustainable progress.

With over 55 apps in nearly every major business category, Zoho Corporation is one of the world’s most prolific technology companies. Headquartered in Chennai, India, Zoho is privately held and profitable with more than 12,000 employees. 


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