Orange looks to reward social tech entrepreneurship

Innovative tech can do great things for communities when it’s used effectively. That much is obvious. But people aren’t going to keep innovating unless they have an incentive to do so.

That reality is what makes initiatives like Orange African Social Venture Prize necessary.

The prize, which rewards to entrepreneurs who use tech to fuel social development, is now in its second year having received over 600 entries in 2011.

Projects proposed during the first edition covered a variety of fields, such as healthcare, agriculture, banking services and education. Those proposed by the winners included:

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

Orange claims that it is “committed to financially supporting and offering its expertise to the management of the growing small and midsize companies who are awarded this prize”.

This support, it says, comes in the form of an endowment of between 10 000 to 25 000 euros as well as entrepreneurial and tech support.

In addition to the entries selected by the judging panel, a “favourite project”, selected by visitors of the Group’s web portal, 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.

The projects must, however be designed to be deployed in at least one of the African countries in which Orange operate and must use tech to improve the lives of people in these countries.

Applications open today and run until 21 September. People can enter on the mobile giant’s pan-African site.



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