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African start-ups to tussle for P700, 000 prize

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  • As Orange awards 55,000 Euros to start-ups in Africa and the Middle East
  • One project from Botswana is one of the previous 16 winners

OAITSE MATHALA

Technology start-ups across Africa and the Middle East will battle it out in a competition that will see top four start-ups sharing 55, 000 Euros (P700, 000) which Orange will award through its Orange Social Venture Prize launched across 21 Orange affiliates last month. The prize is aimed at encouraging the use of technologies for social and economic development. Orange Botswana’s Public Relations unit has indicated that; “Four winners from Africa and the Middle East will receive a total of 55,000 Euros in cash. Through the competition, Orange aims to reinforce its digital partnership with start-ups to achieve social and economic development through innovation stimulation.”
They said that since inception in 2011, the competition has received over 2 600 projects from 20 countries and 16 winners, and including one from Botswana. Orange has over these years awarded 265,000 Euros (P3.4 million) in this initiative. Communication from the company notes that the Prize is intended to showcase and support starts-up who use information and communication technologies (ICT) to innovate and make a positive impact to communities in Africa and the Middle East. The start-ups should be offering innovative products or services that meet the needs of Africans in fields such as health, agriculture, education, energy, industry or trade.
According Boga Chilinde-Masebu, PR and Foundation Manager for Orange Botswana; “Proposed projects must target an Orange affiliate in Africa and the Middle East with a specific objective of using technology in an innovative way to enhance living conditions of local populations.” The competition is open to participants over 21 years old, and these could either be students or entrepreneurs running companies that are less than three years old. “Eleven (11) finalists from the competition will receive mentoring from Grow Movement, an NGO that empowers African entrepreneurship with business skills,” Orange highlighted.
Submissions will be done on the new entrepreneurship club website dedicated to startups in Africa and the Middle-East. The new website will offer entrepreneurs informative tools and operational advice for any of the startup’s stage. Applications are available online on the Orange website and will run until 21 September 2016.

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