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Technological innovation will play an important role in solving a number of the problems which are unique to Africa as a continent. In recognition of this, Tech4Africa – which bills itself as the continent’s “only web and emerging technology conference” — has launched the inaugural Tech4Africa Innovation Award.
The award, which is open to individuals and companies, is designed to “recognise homegrown innovation and further inspire the industry to develop global solutions to uniquely African challenges”.
“The Tech4Africa Innovation Award is another mechanism for us to realise our goal to engage, inspire, enable and innovate,” says Gareth Knight, MD of Tech4Africa. “Africa has produced some incredible innovations to address problems that are considered unique, although these solutions often find traction around the globe”.
“We want to recognise a single person or company that has developed something that has changed the lives of people in Africa. A great number of successful innovations emerge every year, yet many slip under the radar and this is something we hope to remedy through this initiative.”
The conference organisers say that they have made the entry process for the award as simple as possible. Individuals or companies therefore need only send a single-page synopsis of their product or service, what the innovation is and the level of success or traction that it has attained.
The only qualifying criteria are that “the innovation must have been in the market for at least one and a half years and have been created by Africans to solve uniquely African challenges”.
According to Knight, the judging panel for the award will “consist of industry experts, community members and conference partners”.
“We are trying to keep the process as open and transparent as possible and are busy concluding the prize details. We have no doubt it will carry a lot of prestige and exposure and enable the winner to use this recognition to drive or develop the innovation further,” he adds.
The winner of the award will be announced at an award ceremony on the 26th of October. The ceremony will also act as a curtain raiser to the two day conference, which starts the next day.
The conference will also feature a competition called Ignite, which will provide leading African startups with the opportunity to pitch their products to a carefully curated panel of Angel investors, mentors and business leaders.