Three projects, one each from Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Tunisia, have emerged winners of the Orange African Social Venture Prizes, according to a statement from the panel of judges, consisting of Orange Specialists, the media and other institutions promoting development.
The statement, received here Friday by PANA, said that 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 chose three prizewinners from among 12 nominated projects that were presented on Orange’s pan-African web portal, www.starafrica.com
The awards ceremony was held Thursday in Cape Town, South Africa, during the AfricaCom Awards, an annual event that recognizes the most significant innovations and achievements of the telecommunications industry in Africa.
The prize, which has enjoyed considerable success since its launch in 2011, aims to support the development of entrepreneurs and start-ups offering solutions that use information and communication technologies (ICT) to meet the needs of people living in Africa.
The winning projects are — The first prize was awarded to QuickDo, a startup formed in 2011 by a French–Cameroonian entrepreneur.
The company provides readers in Cameroon with affordable access to books in digital format, providing them with a complete ecosystem developed by QuickDo and its partners (including the distribution server, the e-book readers and the network). Based on a responsible and sustainable approach, it provides an all-in-one solution for local publishers, readers and institutions such as universities, libraries and cultural centers.
The Ivorian Job project was awarded second prize. This project 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.
The portal provides a forum that facilitates discussion and sharing of experiences between young job seekers, workers and recruitment agencies.
The third prize was awarded to 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 system 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.
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.
Orange operates in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East and has a total of over 84 million customers. To contribute to the social and economic development of these countries, the Group has put together the “Orange for Development” programme, which is based on three central themes:
– the development of its networks to maximize the number of people who are able to benefit from digital services;
– innovation to meet the needs of populations through value-added services in essential fields such as healthcare, education, agriculture and banking services; and
– contributing to the local development of ICT markets and innovation ecosystems.
It is to meet this last goal, which is aligned with both its innovation strategy as well as its Corporate Social Responsibility policy, that the Group decided to launch the Orange African Social Venture Prize in 2011.