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Knight Foundation Mobile challenge now open for applications

The 2012 Knight News challenge on Mobile, a challenge seeking to accelerate media innovation by funding breakthrough ideas in news and information, is now officially open for applications.

The third in its series, the challenge's winners will receive a share of US$5 million in funding and support from Knight Foundation’s network of influential peers and advisers to help advance their ideas.

Applicants from all industries and countries on the globe are invited to submit their ideas at Newschallenge.org from Aug 29 to Sept 10 noon (EDT).

Received applications will remain open to the public, and will be posted on Knight Foundation’s Tumblr site.

“For just 10-12 sentences, you have a shot at a share of $5 million, and advice from Knight’s network of media entrepreneurs to help accelerate your idea,” a post on the foundation’s website said.

The Foundation is looking for innovative ideas on Tools and approaches that use mobile to inform people and communities. This might include new mobile applications, tools to help journalists or others leverage mobile and platforms to empower mobile users. 

The winning ideas will receive investment in the project from start to finish, and Knight Foundation will help the winners develop their organizations, recruit collaborators, manage projects and grow their networks.

The foundation maintains that the competition is open to anyone from anywhere, of any age, and is open to nonprofits, for-profits or individuals of any age, anywhere in the world. Awards to minors will be made to an intermediary designated by Knight Foundation.

The foundation recognizes the power that mobile devices poses in the way people communicate and carry out their daily activities.

There are close 6 billion mobile devices worldwide and close to 649 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2011, and the number is expected to grow to 700 million by end of 2012.

Africa is also replacing Silicon Valley as the ‘home of innovation.’ The 2012 challenge presents it with another chance to showcase to the world its numerous inventions, and hopefully get a share of the US$5 million up for grabs.

African Social Venture Prize launched by Orange

Orange has launched the second edition of the African Social Venture Prize. According to Tumie Ramsden of Orange Botswana, “the goal of the prize is to promote social innovation that supports development through Information Communication Technology (ICT).”

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. In a media communiqué to biztechafrica.com, Orange said last year there were more than 600 candidates who responded to the call for projects, “reflecting the strong entrepreneurial spirit and the high potential of the telecommunications services in Africa.”

According to Orange, the African Social Venture Prize will be awarded once again in 2012 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 health care, agriculture, banking services and education.

Applications are accepted from May 22 to September 21 2012 on Orange pan-African portal www.starafrica.com