Vodafone Wants European Devs To Build Apps That Do Good, Puts €200K Up For Grabs

Here’s an opportunity for European app developers to work on a project aimed first and foremost at helping others, rather than on the off-chance it will catch Yahoo!’s eye and lead to insane riches. Carrier Vodafone’s philanthropic arm, the Vodafone Foundation, has kicked off its first Mobile for Good Europe Awards app competition, seeking iOS and Android apps that are “designed to improve people’s lives and deliver substantial public benefit”.

The competition is open to developers 18 and older who are legally resident in Europe (excluding Italy). The prize money isn’t anywhere near Summly acquisition levels, so the emphasis here is definitely on the doing good bit — and the taking part — but the Foundation is stumping up a total prize fund of €200,000 to be shared by winners across the four competition categories and used for developing their app further.

First prize winners will snag €30,000 apiece; second prize winners will get €15,000; and third prize apps will take €5,000.

The four categories for the 2013 competition are:

  • Accessibility — specifically, apps that “help people with disabilities and/or the elderly to improve their quality of life and overcome barriers”
  • Health — here they are looking for “innovative solutions to overcome challenges in areas such as real time patient monitoring and collection and distribution of health related data”
  • Education —  apps that “can empower teachers and students by allowing them to use mobile devices as teaching and learning tools” and/or mobile tech that helps to open up data by “offering new analytical tools, promoting inclusion in education or by improving social mobility”
  • Public Services — this category is for “ideas on how national, regional and local governments can leverage mobile to enhance the delivery of public services”

The closing date for applications is 12:00 GMT on October 15, 2013. Category finalists will be notified in November and then invited to a final live judging round in Brussels in mid-December. The Vodafone Foundation said there will be local workshops organised for developers involved in the competition in Berlin, Amsterdam and Madrid.

The competition is actually an expansion of a previous competition run by the telco in 2011 and 2012 which focused solely on apps for accessibility.

What’s Vodafone motivator here? Beyond the obvious ‘attaching itself to a good cause’ element, it’s a nice way for the carrier to encourage the sort of apps (and ideas) it would like to be developed to be created — ie apps that help make the smartphone even more indispensable than it has already become.