If you’ve got a brilliant idea that could help improve the lives of Africans, read on. The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) is looking for innovative ideas from Africa for the fourth instalment of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). The overall winner will receive $100 000 (over R1 million), with the runner up receiving a tidy $25 000 (around R260 000).
The second prize is awarded to the submission deemed to have the best commercial and business potential – in other words, the one most likely to turn a profit and prove sustainable, quickly.
All submissions are evaluated based on the following criteria: originality, marketability, scalability, social impact as well as scientific and/or technical aspects. In addition to the two top prizes, an additional $25 000 prize is awarded to the submission “deemed to have the best social impact in the community”.
IPA has seen over 2 000 entries from 48 countries over the last three years since its inception. The prize is aimed at enabling and encouraging African innovators to come up with continent-specific solutions to the challenges Africa faces, while also supporting sustainable development.
AIF and IPA founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais says the foundation recognises that African entrepreneurs need resources and opportunities to bring their ideas to life. “IPA provides a platform to encourage and harness these entrepreneurial skills in order to help improve the lives of Africans and to help realise untapped potential,” he adds. “The prize is also a great way of unleashing creativity and promoting growth within the African continent.”
The winner of IPA 2013, AgriProtein went on to raise $11 million to build its first two commercial farms in Cape Town after its win. Last year’s grand prize, meanwhile, was awarded to two South Africans, Nicolaas Duneas and Nuno Pires, for their Altis Osteogenic Bone Matrix – a product for the treatment of bone injuries and related ailments through the use of a regenerative biological implant.
There are five key categories for entries: agriculture and agribusiness, environment energy and water, health and wellbeing, ICT applications, and manufacturing and services industries.
In addition to finding startups and trying to drive the adoption of new and emerging technologies the prize seeks to reward proposed solutions that tackle African issues effectively, and in ways other solutions don’t. In case you haven’t guessed it, the keyword for all submissions, regardless of category or industry, is “innovation”.
The deadline for submitting applications is 31 October 2014. The terms, conditions and submission details are available here.