Entrepreneurs from Liberia and 16 other countries around Africa and the Middle east have a chance to pitch their innovations for a prize awarded by global telecommunications giant, Orange. The call for applications for the 8th Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East was launched Thursday, March 1 and closes May 31, 2018.
This prize, awarded by Orange, rewards innovative projects based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) which improve the living conditions of people in Africa and the Middle East in fields such as education, healthcare, farming, mobile payments or sustainable development.
The competition will start with a national phase, during which each of the 17 participating Orange subsidiaries will assess the projects submitted in its country and select 3 winners. This will be followed by an international phase, during which all 51 national winners will compete for an international jury which will present the Orange Social Venture Prize grand prize to the three final winners at the AfricaCom Awards event, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa in November.
In addition to their national prizes, the three winners will receive €25,000, €15,000 and €10,000 respectively, as well as six months of personalized support from start-up creation and financing professionals. In addition to the global prize money, Orange Liberia will provide additional prizes for applicants from Liberia.
The Liberian based first prize finalist will receive US$3,000, second prize finalist will receive US$2,000 and the third finalist will receive US$1,500.
The fourth prize of US$500 will be provided to the Liberian entry which wins the online popular vote. All Liberian finalists will receive their prize money by Orange Money.
The 2017 Orange Prize finalists for Liberia were Changemakers Village by Smart Liberia; thePlastic Recycling project by Green Cities; and As One Liberia. Changemakers Village aims to train and equip promising young Liberians with the technological and entrepreneurial skills, tools, and networking opportunities to create jobs and wide-scale social change in their communities. The Plastic Recycling Project focuses on recycling plastics waste into useful product. This project recycles water sachets into Geometry tools for students. Given the illiteracy rates and lack of jobs for school graduates, As One Liberia is a vocational training program, focusing on carpentry, graphic design, electrical projects, Tie Die shirt creation, horticulture, tailoring, and computer skills, run by trained facilitators.
The Chief Executive Officer for Orange Liberia Mr. Mamadou Coulibaly says The Orange Social Venture Prize is an important opportunity for young Liberian entrepreneurs to showcase their talents on the world stage and win money that can take their ideas to the next level.
“This is one of the many ways Orange is supporting the Liberian government’s pro-poor agenda by creating opportunities for young entrepreneurs,” said Mr. Coulibaly.
The Orange Social Venture Prize is open to all students, employees and entrepreneurs over age 21 whose initiative is under three years old and serves Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Tunisia, Jordan, Liberia or Burkina-Faso.
Bruno Mettling, CEO Orange Middle East, and Africa said: “1,200 projects were submitted in 2017, a 60% increase over 2016. Support for talented start-ups is at the heart of Orange’s development strategy. With the Orange Social Venture Prize, we reaffirm our commitment to being a partner for the innovators working to improve daily life every year.”
Detecting young talents is a core element of Orange’s strategy. Since its creation in 2011, the Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East has already provided support to close to twenty projects. Application forms can be accessed under the “Orange Social Venture Prize” section online at http://entrepreneurclub.orange.com/en/.