Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
Orange has announced the winners of the 2016 Orange Social Venture Prize for Africa and the Middle East during the AfricaCom Awards ceremony held in Cape Town, South Africa.
The prize, which aims to encourage start-ups in Africa to launch innovative projects that promote development, has been extended this year to the Middle East. A new award, the Special Prize for Cultural Content, has also been introduced.
For the sixth year in a row, the Orange Group is recognizing four innovative projects that further development within the region. The objective is to stimulate entrepreneurs’ initiatives that use new technologies to meet the needs of people in Africa and the Middle East.
More than 750 candidates responded to the call for projects, which ran from May to September 2016, reflecting the potential of the telecommunications sector to support development in Africa and Middle East in fields as diverse as healthcare, agriculture, education and energy.
Eleven projects were shortlisted and presented on Orange’s new pan-African web portal for entrepreneurs in the region, Entrepreneur Club. The winners were then selected by a jury made up of experts from Orange, journalists, investors and institutions that promote development.
The three prize-winners received grants of 25,000, 15,000 and10,000 EUR, and the winner of the Special Prize for Cultural Content received 5,000 EUR. In addition, the shortlisted finalists and the winner of the Special Prize for Cultural Content will benefit from six months of support from Orange experts and the NGO Grow Movement. The first prize winner will also be offered a patent registration.
Bruno Mettling, CEO of Orange MEA, said: “with nearly 3,500 projects filed since 2011, the Orange Social Venture prize has grown into a huge success; the 750 candidate projects that were submitted in 2016 amply illustrate this. The start-up ecosystem now increasingly recognizes Orange as an indispensable partner that is able to support their development: 95% of the winning start-ups since the award’s inception are still growing today. I thank them for their confidence.”
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