The ninth annual edition of the MTN Business App the Year Awards reached an epic conclusion on Thursday, at its first-ever virtual awards ceremony. EasyEquities was announced as the overall winner, while a range of unique and useful apps took the top spots across 15 categories. Making this year even more exciting was the addition of the brand-new ‘Best Youth App’ category – three apps entered in this category each walk away with their share of R100,000.
2020’s overall winner, EasyEquities, is an app that provides the first step in a user’s investment journey. It takes away the notion that investing is hard and expensive. EasyEquitities makes the purchase of shares safe, easy and fun, helping new and existing investors to stay on top of their investment portfolios, with detailed account overviews and personalised reporting.
EasyEquities, which also placed first in the Best Consumer Solution category, walks away with the overall grand prize of an international trip to a tech-related destination valued at R200,000.
“Our congratulations go out to EasyEquities,” says Kholo Magagane, Head of Marketing at MTN SA Business. “If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that we need to keep track of our finances – and even take this a step further – by finding ways to help us build wealth.”
“We’re also very excited about the other game-changing apps that took top honours across all of the categories. Our heartfelt congratulations go out to all the developers.”
Winners in each of the categories were:
Best Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics): Examsta
The first SA learning platform to focus on content-heavy subjects like Geography and Life Sciences, cutting across the South Africa national curriculum and IEB curriculum. It enables learners to progress using gamification.
Best Enterprise Solution: Checkers Sixty60
In less than 12 months, this online shopping app has become a household name thanks to its hyper-convenience and speed of delivery. It allows a team of in-store shoppers to simply scan each product displayed on the screen’s device to complete the customer’s order. The app facilitates thousands of orders every day.
Best Incubated Solution: Technishen
An on-demand mobile platform where businesses and households can request support from a variety of technicians, ranging from IT support, electrical installation and maintenance, auto mechanics or plumbing services. The app uses geo-location to find a supplier within a 10 km radius.
Most Innovative Solution: BirdPro
The ultimate app for avid birdwatchers in SA, BirdPro provides users with the most sophisticated identification tool on the market. It can identify over 6,500 birds and includes more than 1,700 clear bird calls. Names of birds are available in all SA languages, as well as German, French and Portuguese.
Best Health Solution: Lexie Hearing
This app allows customers who have purchased a pair of Bluetooth Lexie hearing aids to customise their unique hearing profiles. A two-minute, clinically validated hearing check on the app automatically programmes the hearing aids based on results. It includes an easy-to-use, animated, step-by-step instruction guide.
Best Gaming Solution: League of Legends
An augmented reality game where a character appears and casts a spell or attacks another character and solves a puzzle. This turn-based, player vs. player game features vivid animation and sees bigger impact as harder puzzles are solved.
Best Agricultural Solution: GreenFingers Mobile
This app replaces ‘pen and paper’ and agroforestry management systems, enabling the digital management and finance of smallholder farmers, in various value chains, at scale. At its core, the platform allows field officers to collect farmer, household and transactional data. Its reforestation tracking tool incentivises farmers to plant trees and allows funders to invest directly into outcomes-based reforestation projects.
Best Educational Solution: Xitsonga Dictionary
This solution provides users with thousands of words translated from Xitsonga to English in a fun and intuitive way. See something and need to know what it’s called in Xitsonga? Simply take a picture using the Xitsonga vision feature. The app also shares the wisdom of the Vatsonga people by providing access to proverbs and idioms.
Best Financial Solution: StokFella
Informal savings and loans clubs, or stokvels, have a following of over 11 million members – this is an industry worth over R50 billion. StokFella enables stokvels to manage, consolidate, communicate, visualise and analyse their stokvel activity financials and any other related stokvel matters.
Best ‘South African’ App: Bottles
While the Bottles app started out as a service for the delivery of alcoholic beverages, 2020 saw the app evolving to also deliver grocery items. In partnership with Pick n Pay, the app offers same-day and next-day deliveries. Users can browse through more than 5,000 products, all at in-store pricing.
As is the case with all technology-based events, the MTN Business App of the Year Awards has evolved with the times and its eco-system has advanced and expanded.
Introduced this year was the MTN Business App Academy – created to mentor and upskill aspiring talent for futures in ICT. Aspiring developers had the opportunity to participate in a six-week online coding programme. They then went on to participate in a 72-hour hackathon in mid-September.
The winning solutions from the hackathon automatically qualified as finalists in two awards categories, namely the ‘Best Breakthrough Developer’ and the brand new ‘Best Youth App’ category for developers between the ages of 18 and 26.
Matric Live took the top spot in the Best Breakthrough Solution category. A 21-year-old, self-taught developer, Lesego Finger, developed the Matric Live app while still a student himself. With more than half a million users to date, Matric Live includes practice materials, study guides, learning resources and access to past papers for all Grade 10 to 12 subjects.
The inaugural winning app in the new Best Youth App category was Guardian Health. This solution consists of a patient app, a paramedic app and a management portal. The patient app allows users to request and track an ambulance, and input relevant medical history and prescription information, which is then sent through to the paramedic when an ambulance is dispatched. The paramedic app allows the emergency response team to receive the request, accept it and navigate correctly. The management portal enables the management and allocation of ambulances.
Thanks to MTN Pulse, a division of MTN that aims to assist and enable SA’s youth, the developers of the Guardian Health App walk away with R50,000.
The first runner-up in the new youth category, Phanda Ispani received R30,000. Phanda Ispani is a platform that uses a bot to connect job-seekers to recruiters, simplifying the job search process.
R20,000 went to the second runner-up, Scan & Go, an app that provides a contactless way of connecting with other businesses through the creation of virtual business cards.
In addition to all these awards, Huawei sponsored its own category. The winner was the My Pregnancy Journey app, that empowers pregnant women with everything they need to know. This includes relevant health, exercise and nutrition information, as well as calculators and reminders to keep track of the mother’s and baby’s progress.
This year’s People’s Choice Award, as voted for by the public, went to Checkers Sixty60.
“Since its inception, the MTN Business App of the Year Awards has remained a highlight on the annual ICT calendar. It has unleashed apps that are now household names and provide services to millions of South Africans. They have impacted positively on virtually all aspects of life from financial services, to healthcare and education.”
“We are proud that MTN is helping to create a pipeline of future digital brilliance. South Africa, its people, communities and the economy will all benefit from these innovations taking place within the digital economy,” concludes Magagane.