Telecommunications giant Orange has launched its 2013 edition of the Orange African Social Venture Prize, a competition designed to promote social innovations through use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
This is the third edition of a competition started in 2011. Orange said the call for projects received more than 1000 applications over the past two years, a figure that reflects a true entrepreneurial spirit and the potential for telecommunications on the African continent.
This initiative rewards three entrepreneurs or start-ups offering products or services that make innovative use of ICTs to meet the needs of people on the African continent in fields as varied as healthcare, agriculture, education, energy, industry and trade.
The prize winning projects in 2012 involved mobile technology used to assist traders in food products in Ivory Coast (Vivuus Limited), a system launched in Kenya to improve the treatment of waste (Takachar) and the creation of an e-commerce site to allow people in the Senegalese diaspora to shop online for their families in Dakar.
Orange has committed to providing financial support and placing its expertise at the service of the entrepreneurs who win the competition. In addition to prize money ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 Euros, the three winners will also receive support from professional entrepreneurs and ICT experts for a period of six months. In another new initiative this year, the project submitted by the winner of the first prize will be patented by Orange in the country where it is deployed.
Any entrepreneur aged 21 or over, or company that has existed for less than three years at the time of the competition, regardless of nationality, can enter the awards free of charge. The projects submitted must have plans to deploy their service in at least one of the African countries where Orange is present and make innovative use of information and communication technologies to contribute to improving the living conditions of people in those countries.
This year, internet users will once again be able to vote online for their favourite project using the Orange portal in Africa www.StarAfrica.com. The project voted “online favourite” will be submitted directly to the jury along with the other finalists’ projects preselected by the experts and will therefore have the maximum possible chance of being among the three winners of the 2013 Awards. In 2012, the Egyptian start-up “Innovative Electronic Employment Platform” won the prize with more than 50,000 votes.
Applications may be submitted between 14 May and 20 September 2013 using the Orange portal in Africa: http://www.starafrica.com.