With this prize, Orange will provide financial endowments to support young companies that put forward innovative projects with a significant social impact. Last year, more than 600 candidates responded to the call for projects, reflecting the strong entrepreneurial spirit and the high potential of telecommunications services in Africa.
Of the 634 entries, 55projects were from Kenyan entrepreneurs; representing close to 10% of the entries drawn from the 18 Orange affiliates in Africa. One of these 55, KuzaDoctor, an agriculture oriented project, was shortlisted as one of the final 10 projects.
The three prize-winners of the first edition, announced at the AfricaCom Awards in Cape Town in November 2011, proposed the following projects: Horticultural Tele-Irrigation: a Nigerien project that puts mobile technology in the hands of horticulturalists, Agasha Business Network: a Ugandan community-based e-commerce platform that promotes small African businesses to the global market and Kachile: an Ivory Coast e-commerce start-up for African craft products.
The Orange African Social Venture Prize will be awarded once again this year 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 healthcare, agriculture, banking services and education.
Orange is committed to financially supporting and offering its expertise to the management of the growing small and midsize companies who are awarded this prize. In addition to receiving an endowment of 10,000 to25,000 Euros, the three prize-winners will receive six months of support from entrepreneurial and ICT experts. In addition, a “favourite project”,selected by visitors of the Orange Group’s web portal www.starafrica.com, will be highlighted before the jury responsible for selecting the winning projects.
Any entrepreneur or legal entity that has been in existence for less than three 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 in aninnovative way to help improve the living conditions of the populations in these countries.
Applications will be accepted from May 22, 2012 to September21, 2012 on Orange’s pan-African web portal, www.starafrica.com.
Orange operates in 18 African countries and has a total of 70 million customers. To contribute to the social and economic development of these countries, the Group has put together the “Orange for Development” programme, which is based on three central themes: the development of its networks to maximize the number of people who are able to benefit from digital services, innovation to meet the needs of populations through value-added services in essential fields such as healthcare, education,agriculture and banking services; and contributing to the local development of ICT markets and innovation ecosystems.
The Orange African Social Venture Prize was launched therefore to help the Group meet this last goal, which is aligned with both its innovation strategy as well as its Corporate Social Responsibility policy.