African Social Venture Prize launched by Orange
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
Orange has launched the second edition of the African Social Venture Prize. According to Tumie Ramsden of Orange Botswana, “the goal of the prize is to promote social innovation that supports development through Information Communication Technology (ICT).”
With this prize Orange will provide a financial endowment as well as expert support to the young companies that put forward innovative projects with a significant social impact. In a media communiqué to biztechafrica.com, Orange said last year there were more than 600 candidates who responded to the call for projects, “reflecting the strong entrepreneurial spirit and the high potential of the telecommunications services in Africa.”
The three prize winners of the 1st edition announced at the AfricaCom Awards in Cape Town in November 2011, proposed the following projects:
-Horticultural Tele-Irrigation: a Nigerian project that puts mobile Technology in the hands of horticulturalists.
-Agasha Business Network: a Ugandan based e-commerce platform that promotes small African businesses to the global market
-Kachile”|: an Ivory Coast e-commerce start-up for African craft products.
According to Orange, the African Social Venture Prize will be awarded once again in 2012 to three entrepreneurs or start-ups offering solutions that use ICT in innovative ways to meet the needs of populations on the African continent. Projects proposed during the first edition covered a variety of fields such as health care, agriculture, banking services and education.
Orange is committed to financially supporting and offering its expertise to management of the growing small and midsize companies who are awarded this prize. In addition to receiving an endowment of 10 00to 25 000 euros, the 3 prize winners will receive 6 months of support from entrepreneurial and ICT experts. In addition, Orange says, a favourite project selected by visits of the group web portal www.starafrica.com will be highlighted before the jury for selecting the winning projects.
The communiqué says any entrepreneur or legal entity that has been in existence for fewer than 3 years at the time of the competition may participate at no cost and with no restriction on nationality. Submitted projects must be designed to be deployed in at least one of the African countries in which Orange operates and must use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in an innovative way to help improve the living standards of the population in these countries.
Applications are accepted from May 22 to September 21 2012 on Orange pan-African portal www.starafrica.com