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Lert Info developed a system that warns residents in specific areas-by text or email-of emergencies including floods, fires, power outages, road closures and tsunamis.
Lert Info director Stuart Gunn (59), of Dunedin, said the AMP scholarship money would be used to bring the app to the market. At this point, it was still in the development stages.
''We've done it on the smell of an oily rag but at some point you have to pay the piper,'' Mr Gunn said.
''We've been trying to finish this off for a year and a-half. We'll be able to launch it six months earlier.''
The app had been in development since November 2012 and the development team had done a lot of the work without payment.
Mr Gunn was passionate and proud of the app, and was initially ''speechless'' upon receiving the award.
''I know we've got a really good product [and] without the ... scholarship, we would have never got to this point.''
Mr Gunn's hope for the product was to take it international so that Kiwis travelling in other parts of the world would be able to receive an alert if something was happening at home.
''It's a global sort of product,'' he said.
Seventeen scholarships worth $200,000 were handed out at the Auckland War Memorial event.
University of Otago PhD candidate Melanie Grant (44) also received a grant.
She would use the money to complete research in the United States on cancer immunotherapy.
AMP chief customer officer Jeff Ruscoe praised the courage, passion, determination and commitment of applicants.
''[It shows] where a great Kiwi can-do attitude can take you.''