The newly launched MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge promises to become an exciting Africa wide student competition with a potential to produce the next best thing in the digital application space.
MTN, in partnership with MTN Solution Space and Jumia launched the challenge this week saying it will be the first of its kind in Africa, bringing together over 1000 entrepreneurs, students and investors, to collaborate on ways to amplify and consolidate the continent’s entrepreneurs.
Targeting more than 60 universities in 13 countries across Africa, the competition will challenge students to develop a unique digital application or smart solution that will solve a tangible problem faced on the continent.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with Jumia to launch the entrepreneurship challenge. Africa is a continent of promise, and our aim with the MTN Solution Space has always been to help fulfil this promise by developing uniquely African solutions. We believe that the entrepreneurship challenge is a key element of this. The response and willingness from universities across Africa to collaborate on this initiative has been truly remarkable and certainly exemplifies the impact of collective efforts to foster entrepreneurship among our next generation of business leaders,” says Sarah-Anne Arnold, Manager of the MTN Solution Space.
MTN’s Group Chief Digital Officer, Herman Singh, says the company is proud to both sponsor and endorse the initiative. “The Entrepreneurship Challenge is strongly aligned to MTN’s own entrepreneurial culture and history as well as our values as a business. We believe in the inspiration of new business leaders in Africa and their enablement to success will be key drivers for the future rapid evolution of a broader start-up culture on the continent. This is an environment already teeming with excellent potential and we hope to assist in accelerating its further growth and to raise MTN’s role in creating new businesses in Africa,” says Singh.
Applications for the first round of the multi-phased competition are open from today and will close on 27 March 2016. Aspiring entrepreneurs from participating universities can enter in teams by logging onto www.gsb.uct.ac.za/MTNECbyJumia . All applications will be judged by campus captains, who consist of successful entrepreneurs in their respective market. Shortlisted teams will then move on to a live pitching phase at their selected universities between 1-8 April 2016, after which the final five projects will be selected to move through to the Semi-Final. The finalists will be announced on 16 April 2016, and as part of this achievement, the successful teams will get the opportunity to attend the Entrepreneurship festival, hosted at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business in South Africa on May 27 2016.
The festival, aims to facilitate the collaboration of over a thousand attendees with prominent and innovative speakers and workshop experts from across the world. Finalists will have to pitch their business to a room of successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, judges, investors and international media, after which the winner of the challenge will be announced. The winner of the MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge powered by Jumia will win a cash prize of US $25 000 towards their start-up, and will also benefit from a yearlong partnership with Jumia, where they will have the opportunity to work from any of JUMIA’s offices across Africa.
This will enable the winner to learn from, and be mentored by experienced and successful entrepreneurs in the JUMIA network. The winner will also have access to a Facebook Start Program to the value of US $15 000, which includes tools and services needed to build mobile applications. In addition, they will have the opportunity to work from the MTN Solution Space at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. The two runners-up will each receive US $5 000 towards their projects.
“Jumia is proud to unveil a new dimension of MTN partnership both aiming at promoting youth unemployment and fostering entrepreneurship. We take pride in building and harnessing potentials not only to create successful business leaders but also to ultimately improve the whole ecosystem through direct job creations. MTN EC by Jumia will propel young talents to feats across Africa by creating a seamless platform for teeming Africa youths to kick-start their projects; which is one of several key initiatives to give back to the community.”
Commented Fatoumata Ba, Managing Director, Jumia Nigeria. “This competition will contribute to building a stronger and more sustainable business environment across Africa. Its main goal is to boost and fuel African entrepreneurship by enabling young and smart entrepreneurs to kick off with their own projects. The key for us is to give full and adapted support to young talents, from funding to mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs,” says Bankole Cardoso, Head of Communications from Jumia. For more information about the MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge powered by Jumia, visit the MTN Solution Space at www.gsb.uct.ac.za and Jumia at www.Jumia.com or visit their social media pages on Facebook: facebook.com/uctgsbsolutions. More information will also be available on Twitter at @uctgsbsolutions and @Africa_IG, where regular updates, articles and interviews will be shared.