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Growing local software ecosystem through Microsoft 9japps challenge

By Emeka Aginam
By challenging Nigerian local software code warriors  to build applications that have local appeal, the global software giant,  Microsoft may have started growing Nigerian local software ecosystem system though 9apps challenge.

Over 120 developers from across Nigeria had entered the competition, which is one of Microsoft’s initiatives to support the local developer community.
Earlier in October  this year at an event held at Co-Creation Hub Nigeria in Lagos, winners were announced for the best locally-relevant apps in the Windows Phone category.

Like the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition that brings best tech students to contest in the global stage, Microsoft had initiated  local app development contest aimed at empowering local app developers by helping them drive innovation and grow the local software ecosystem.

The challenge was designed to empower local developers to take advantage of Microsoft’s new tools and resources to develop locally appealing and locally-relevant apps for the Windows platform, utilizing Visual Studio 2012 and the Windows Phone SDK, in addition to the Windows Azure SDK,

The challenge which was launched on March this year   was designed to empower local developers to take advantage of Microsoft’s new tools and resources to develop locally appealing and locally-relevant apps for the Windows platform

Bringing the competition to  finals  last week in Lagos, Microsoft  in a keenly contested final  had engaged over 10 other finalist across Nigeria.
Oludayo Alli, who  represented Nigeria along his colleague Timi Okoya   in Sydney,  Australia in 2012  during the  Microsoft Imagine Cup competition for the global students  beat other contestants  with his solution called  Tourism Nigeria  to claim the grand prize in the keenly contested final.

The winning app  (Tourism Nigeria)  allows you to explore your environment and gives real time information on tourist attraction centers and hotels in Nigeria.

“It feels good to be the winner and for you to be a winner, you must prepare to be a winner. I would say my effort really paid off because for you to win, you must have put in some effort,”  Oludayo Alli, winner of the grand prize.
Similarly, Uchenna Okpagu took  the second place prize with Places Nearby, an app which provides a direction of useful places around, e.g. hotels, ATMs, Banks, cinemas, among others.

He went home with the sum of N750, 000 while five, third place winners went home with windows 8 devices each.
For Uchenna Okpagu, the 2nd place winner “I am delighted to have been the 2nd place winner. It is an encouragement to do more. My plan is to improve on the app and equally engage more partners to provide us with deals that will be very useful to users of the application”.

Akinsete Sunday and Adedoyin Kazeem who both developed ‘CINEMAZ’,  an app that enables purchase of  movie tickets online thereby removing the stress of queuing for such, and also allows viewing of any paid for movie without going to sit in the cinema hall was named the overall winner and were awarded the sum of NGN 750, 000 for their app.  The second place winner, Bukola Akinfaderin also went home with the sum of NGN 500, 000 while the 3rd place winners all received Windows Phone devices.

Speaking the capacity building event, Olayinka Oni, Chief National Technology Officer, Microsoft  said “We gave the finalist in the Windows 8 category two months additional time to improve on their solutions and we promised to let someone drive home the car today in order to encourage upcoming developers to put their best into the development of locally relevant apps.”


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