The winner of the “Best South African App For 2021” is Ambani Africa. This award, sponsored by Seed Academy and the WDB Growth Fund, is one of 14 winners announced at the MTN Business App of the Year awards held virtually on Thursday 16 September 2021.
Ambani Africa features 6 languages with various themes and games for practicing African languages. The app also links to an augmented reality app, which works with a set of learning books to bring this learning to life.
Sponsors of this category, Seed Academy and WDB Growth Fund are sister companies that aim to promote small business development, focusing particularly on supporting youth and women entrepreneurs by providing both financial and non-financial support. Seed Academy was born out of Seed Engine, one of the first ICT accelerators to launch in South Africa.
Award entries in this category were all judged according to strict criteria, assessing whether this application was either exclusively South African or one that solves a uniquely South African problem.
This year saw an unparalleled 1 274 entries into these awards, with the category of Best South African Solution once again attracting many entries.The R 50 000 prize money awarded to each category winner on the night was also sponsored by Seed Academy and WDB Growth Fund.
Seed Academy builds successful, sustainable businesses by providing entrepreneurs with high-impact business development support and access to markets whilst assisting them to become funding ready.
The WDB Growth Fund is a Section 12J impact fund focused on increasing the participation of youth and women entrepreneurs in South Africa’s economy. The Fund takes a minority equity position in growth stage businesses and provides them with post investment support.
“Seed Academy and the WDB Growth Fund are proud to sponsor the “Best South African App For 2021” because it is aligned with our purpose of supporting local entrepreneurs and providing them with access to the eco-system and resources that enhances their growth potential. We are elated that Ambani Africa is the winner of the award for 2021, and we wish them every success going forward”, said Faith Khanyile the Chairperson of the WDB Growth Fund.
Not only did Ambani Africa win Best South African Solution this year, but developer Mukundi Lambani also won Best Educational Solution and Best Gaming Solution and walked away as the overall MTN Business App of the Year winner, with R 1 million in prize money.
Category sponsor EWSETA & 4IR Aquatec co-sponsored this R1million grand prize along with MTN Business, the biggest prize money to date in this competition.
When asked what winning all these categories as well as the overall App of the Year means to the team at Ambani Africa, Lambani says “Everything! Building anything is not easy and you have to learn to put it out to the world even when it’s not perfect. So, all of the wins are a big nod to the work that we do to encourage us to keep going and doing more and more.”
Lambani and what she describes as a fantastic team across development, education, entrepreneurship, and production wanted to make learning African languages fun for young children. “Our languages are generally digitally underrepresented, and we don’t often associate African languages and culture with technology, we wanted to change that,” she says.
For ten years running, the MTN Business App of the Year awards has provided a platform that celebrates local talent, rewards out-of-the-box thinking and continues to enable new technology start-ups to build innovative applications.