Zoho’s Pamoja Hackathon Commends Cutting-Edge Prototypes of ESG Start-Ups

Zoho has announced the winners of the Pamoja Hackathon and Innovation Challenge. The company worked with the High Commission of India in Nairobi, Kenya, and Hindsight Ventures, a startup accelerator focused on Africa.

The goal of the initiative was to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation among young people in Kenya and establish a connection between India and Kenya for startups and innovation.

The program aimed to find original solutions for environmental, social, and governance [ESG] issues, sustainability, and achieving net-zero goals.

The winner of the Innovation Challenge received an all-expenses-paid trip to India for a week to explore the innovation ecosystem and network. Additionally, the top two winners from each track received monetary rewards of KES 75,000 and KES 50,000 for the first and second prize respectively.

Veerakumar Natarajan, the Country Head of Zoho Corp in Kenya, expressed that the Pamoja Hackathon and Innovation Challenge aligns with Zoho’s commitment to supporting local tech ecosystems and fostering entrepreneurship. The initiative helps identify talented entrepreneurs who can contribute to a sustainable future.

Her Excellency Ms. Namgya C. Khampa, the High Commissioner & PR to UNEP & UN-Habitat, emphasized that the challenge provided a platform for Kenyan entrepreneurs to present their ideas and connect with tech leaders, experts, and investors.

The challenge received 85 entries for the hackathon track and 54 entries for the innovation track. After a careful selection process, 32 hackathon entries and 10 innovation entries were shortlisted. A panel of industry leaders evaluated the submissions, and the top 10 ideas [5 from each track] received further support and guidance during a week-long boot-camp.

The participants presented functional prototypes of their solutions to industry experts, investors, and collaborators. Zoho Creator, a cloud-based low-code platform, played a significant role in enabling the participants to quickly develop and submit their solution ideas.

Zoho Creator is a user-friendly platform that allows people to create custom web and mobile applications with minimal coding expertise. It simplifies app development through its drag-and-drop interface and pre-built templates.

The winners of the hackathon are as follows:

In the Hackathon track:

  • Wesley Kijedi – Zero Carbon
  • Mary Njoki – Ustawi

In the Startup track:

  • Kennedy Kariuki – Thorium Organic Foods [Overall winner]
  • Rosaly Akinyi – ROAK Swahili Wear
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