To promote the safe integration of drone tech in Zambia was the goal of the just ended Drone Hackathon Zambia Challenge.
This was a five-day virtual bootcamp where drone enthusiasts from Zambia aged between 18 to 28 years had the opportunity to learn and present their ideas of how drones can be used to solve problems in Zambia.
The programme attracted 164 applications and 30 applicants were shortlisted to participate in the virtual hackathon. The lessons were delivered by experienced drone professionals who included: the Project Coordinator for Zambia Flying Labs Kelvin Lungu, iDrone services founder Subi Thomas, and Rose Funja, the founder of Tanzanian precision agriculture start-up, Agrinfo.
The topics that were covered included the state of drone technology in Africa, drone applications in Zambia, drone regulations, drone flight skills, how to deliver a business pitch as well as lessons on how to market their startups.
On the third day of the hackathon, each of the 30 participants was given a chance to give a compelling business pitch to make it to the next round. The judges were looking for ideas that are feasible, unique, sustainable and beneficial to the Zambian economy. At this stage, the top 10 pitches were selected and continued to the final stage for their last pitches. It is from these pitches that judges picked the top three winners who are:
1st place: Chitula Lukonde of iCan Drone Solutions – His idea is to use drone technology to offer services such as repair, modification and manufacturing.
2nd place: Eric Chongo of TopView Protection services – Chongo’s company offers drone solutions in the security and protection sector.
3rd place: James Mwakoi of Chitemwa Agro Solutions – His organisation offers drone-based precision agriculture solutions to small scale farmers in Zambia.
The first place winner walks away with a DJI Mavic Fly Pro Drone while the second and third place winners each walk away with a DJI Mavic Mini Drone. All the three participants have also gained admission into the Discover preaccelerator programme where they will gain knowledge on how to launch and grow their businesses.
To keep nurturing the tech entrepreneurial skills amongst Zambian early-stage startups, the other participants were also given training a training drone, the Global Air Drone Academy “Camp-in-a-box” set inclusive of a flight logbook, certificate of attendance and other Drone Hackathon Zambia merchandise.
The 2020 Drone Hackathon Zambia was organised in partnership with the Zambian Civil Aviation Administration (CAA). the Global Air Drone Academy and Bongohive, with support from the U.S. Embassy, Zambia.