Orange launches 2nd edition of Orange African Social Venture Prize

Buoyed by the success of the inaugural awards in 2011, Orange has today announced the launch of the second edition of its Orange African Social Venture Prize whose goal is to promote social innovation that supports development through Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

According to a media release, 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 the 2011 phase of the competition, 634 ICT innovators and entrepreneurs submitted their projects for consideration, reflecting the strong entrepreneurial spirit and the high potential of telecommunications services in Africa.

Out of the 634 applications submitted in the 2011 competition, 55 projects were from Kenyan entrepreneurs, representing 8.7 per cent of the entries of the projects drawn from the 18 Orange affiliates in Africa. The projects submitted during the first edition of the competition in 2011 covered a variety of fields – including healthcare, agriculture, banking services and education.

Kuza-Doctor: The entry was among the finalists in 2011 phase of the awards.

One of the entries from Kenya, Kuza Doctor – an agriculture oriented project – was shortlisted as one of the final 10 projects.

Overall, three projects were selected as prize-winners of the first edition which were announced at the AfricaCom Awards in Cape Town in November 2011. The three were:

–          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;

Kachile: The e-commerce from Ivory Coast was among the final 3 projects selected as winners in 2011.

Kachile: an Ivory Coast e-commerce start-up for African craft products.

The 2012 Orange African Social Venture Prize will be awarded this year to three entrepreneurs or start-ups offering solutions that use ICT in innovative ways that meet the needs of populations on the African continent.

Orange is committed to financially supporting and offering its expertise to the management of the growing small and mid-size companies who are awarded this prize.

In addition to receiving an endowment of Euros 10,000 (US $ 12,580) to Euros 25,000 (US $ 31,443), 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 Group’s web portal Star Africa, will be highlighted before the jury responsible for selecting the winning projects.

The competition is open to any entrepreneur or legal entity that has been in existence for fewer 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 an innovative way to help improve the living conditions of the populations in these countries.

Applications are accepted from May 22 to September 21, 2012 on Orange’s pan-African web portal, StarAfrica.

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.

It is to meet this last goal, which is aligned with both its innovation strategy as well as its Corporate Social Responsibility policy, that the Group decided to launch the Orange African Social Venture Prize.

StarAfrica.com is Orange’s entertainment web portal in Africa. StarAfrica aggregates content from all Sub-Saharan countries on 6 channels: news, football, more sports, music, education and jobs, whose common thread is to highlight young talent. StarAfrica is also an online shop that provides Africans living abroad with access to innovative communications services.