Facebook Invites Ugandan-based Software Developers to its Challenge

On Friday evening, Facebook organized a Bot Party at Outbox, a Ugandan Hub for startups and software developers. This was the second Bot Party to be organized by Facebook on the African Continent after the one in Malawi which took place on Saturday - February 25, 2017 - at mHub. The next Bot party took place today in Kenya at Moringa School. The parties are aimed at creating hype about the Bots for Messenger Challenge.

Bots for Messenger Challenge is a contest to recognize and reward developers who are able to create the most innovative new bots on Messenger. Applicants for the challenge must be from either the Middle East and North Africa or Sub-Saharan Africa.

Timothy Asiimwe, the CTO & Co-founder at Panya Bot – a Ugandan messenger chat bot that one can use for shopping, receiving news etc – made a presentation on what a developer can do on the messenger platform to ease user experience. Timothy also presented additional resources provided by Facebook like messaging tools, templates, menus etc. He later took the developers through a step by step guide on how to create a messenger bot – preparing them for the Bots for messenger challenge.


[caption id="attachment_395" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Photo Credit: Outbox Hub Kampala[/caption]

Proud Dzambukira, from Facebook South Africa, also took the developers through Facebook for developers and later on held a question and answer session with the developers to ensure they were well versed with the entire process.

Application to the challenge was opened on February 15, 2017 and will close on April 28, 2017. The Bots to be considered for the challenge should fall in either Gaming and Entertainment, Productivity and Utility or Social Good category. Teams of up to 3 people are invited to participate in the Challenge.

30 finalist teams from each region - 10 from each category, to make a total of 60 finalists - will win a Gear VR and mobile phone, one hour of Facebook mentorship, and up to $40,000 USD in tools and services from FbStart - a Facebook program designed to help early stage mobile startups build and grow their bots.

Student teams or individual student entrants who shall make it to the finals will win an additional $2,000 USD. Student will be verified against their registration via their government accredited school email accounts.

3 runner up teams - 1 from each category - runner up teams for each region will win $10,000 USD and 3 months of Facebook mentorship. The 3 winning teams -1 from each category - for each region will win $20,000 USD and 3 months of Facebook mentorship.

When we asked Proud – on a one-on-one – how Ugandan students and developers can increase their chances of going through the application process, he urged them to make use of the available resources.

Leverage all the resources available. Leverage outbox and Richard (Zulu, the Founder of Outbox). He has made himself available to anyone interested - Proud Dzambukira

However, there has been a growing concern that competitions are not doing much to groom the next generation of Ugandan entrepreneurs. Instead young developers and entrepreneurs are looking at them as a way to make quick money. When asked why he thinks this will be different, Proud said it’s because they’re encouraging entrepreneurs to build products that address people’s needs.

Apply for the Bots for Messenger Challenge Here.

Digest Africa



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