Social innovation and development using ICT: Orange African Social Venture Prize
Balancing Act recently published a report analysing the nascent content and apps ecosystem in Africa while providing an analytical framework allowing African mobile operators or other stakeholders to decide on what strategy to adopt regarding these apps.
A large share of these new apps are to do with social engagement but the biggest difficulty is to create a new monetizable business models around them.
Profitable online business models are hard to come by in Africa because although the number of Internet users has shot up, it’s still hard to get a critical mass of regular users and make money from what they do.
To encourage social innovators on the African continent and armed with the success of the previous edition in 2011, Orange is launching the second edition of its Orange African Social Venture Prize. The goal is to promote social innovation that supports development through Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
African media initiatives are invited to present their upcoming projects.
With this prize, Orange will provide a financial endowment as well as expert support to the young companies that put forward innovative projects with a significant social impact.
• Winners of the first edition
Last year, more than 600 candidates responded to the call for projects, reflecting the strong entrepreneurial spirit and the high potential of telecommunications services in Africa.
The three prize-winners of the first edition, announced at the AfricaCom Awards in Cape Town in November 2011, proposed the following projects:
- 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.
• Encouraging the use of ICT to aid development
The Orange African Social Venture Prize will be awarded once again this year to three entrepreneurs or start-ups offering solutions that use ICT in innovative ways to meet the needs of populations on the African continent. Projects proposed during the first edition covered a variety of fields, such as healthcare, agriculture, banking services and education.
• Supporting social entrepreneurs
Orange is committed to financially supporting and offering its expertise to the management of the growing small and midsize companies who are awarded this prize. In addition to receiving an endowment of 10,000 to 25,000 euros, the three prize-winners will receive six months of support from entrepreneurial and ICT experts. In addition, a "favourite project", selected by visitors of the Group's web portal www.starafrica.com, will be highlighted before the jury responsible for selecting the winning projects.
• Who can enter?
Any entrepreneur or legal entity that has been in existence for fewer than three years at the time of the competition may participate at no cost and with no restriction on nationality. Submitted projects must be designed to be deployed in at least one of the African countries in which Orange operates and must use information and communication technology in an innovative way to help improve the living conditions of the populations in these countries.
Applications are accepted from May 22 to September 21, 2012 on Orange's pan-African web portal, www.starafrica.com.
Orange operates in 18 African countries and has a total of 70 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.
See the presentation of the competition by the jury on www.starafrica.com.