Dukalangu , a Kenyan online shop which offers customers a wide range of products at discounted prices, has been selected by voters as the “favourite project” in the 2013 edition of the Orange Africa Social Venture Prize.
Dukalangu – whose Nairobi, Kenya-based founders “seek to have a homegrown online platform that is made and bred for both the buyer and seller” – was selected by over 24,000 visitors to Orange’s web portal StarAfrica.
The Dukalangu (Swahili for “my shop”) portal also provides Kenyan entrepreneurs and designers with an excellent development opportunity by enabling them to market and sell their products online.
The top three winning projects in the competition, announced at the 2013 Africa Com conference, were QuickDo, a startup founded in 2011 by a French-Cameroonian entrepreneur which provides readers in Cameroon with affordable access to books in digital format; Ivoire Job project which aims to facilitate access to employment opportunities in Côte d’Ivoire through an online platform that is also compatible with mobile devices through an SMS-based system and the Tunisian company Chifco, which offers a system for saving energy when using high-consumption devices both at home or in a workplace environment.
The leading project, QuickDo, also provides users with a complete ecosystem – including the distribution server, the e-book readers and the network while the – while first runner-up, Ivoire Job project further provides a forum that facilitates discussion and sharing of experiences between young job seekers, workers and recruitment agencies. Chifco aims to reduce spending on energy by remotely monitoring and controlling the use of such devices in real time. By tracking data such as production rates or the weather, users can reduce energy consumption.
“Entrepreneurs in Africa have always shown an ability to harness technology for the development of lasting, socially-responsible innovations that stimulate growth. Through this prize, Orange is proud to be able to contribute to this dynamic, particularly by providing active support to the prize-winners,” said Marc Rennard, Orange’s Senior Executive Vice President for Africa, the Middle East and Asia. “This year’s jury was impressed by the overall quality of the projects submitted. We can clearly see that technology is a relevant tool for driving social development, and this gives us an added stimulus in our commitment to Africa.”
In addition to funding of up to 25,000 euros, Orange will provide support to the three projects for six months through its local subsidiaries as well as expert advice from business and telecoms professionals. This year, for the first time, Orange will also provide a patent application for the first prize winner in the country of deployment.
Over 450 candidates responded to the call for projects, which ran from May to September 2013, clearly demonstrating the underlying entrepreneurial vitality that exists on the African continent. Proposed projects spanned a variety of fields such as healthcare, agriculture, education, energy, industry and commerce illustrating the high potential of telecommunications for development in Africa.
The panel of judges, consisting of Orange specialists, the media and institutions that promote development, chose three prizewinners from among 12 nominated projects that were presented on Orange’s StarAfrica portal.