[/blockquote]Orange is launching a call for candidates for the 2016 Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East. The Orange Social Venture Prize, which aims to encourage start-ups that use innovation to fuel development on the African continent, is being extended to the Middle East and, this year, includes a Special Cultural Content Prize. Applications may be made from 18 May to 21 September 2016 on the EntrepreneurClub website, Orange’s new portal for entrepreneurs in Africa and the Middle East.
The projects of 4 start-ups will be recognized during the awards ceremony with prizes of 25,000, 15,000 and 10,000, while 5,000 euros will go to the winner of the Special Cultural Content Prize.
The 10 finalists of the Prize and the “Entrepreneur Club’s choice” award will also receive special support from the Grow Movement NGO for 6 months. Net users are invited to participate in the selection by choosing their favourite project on the new Orange portal for entrepreneurs in Africa and the Middle East.
Furthering development by stimulating innovation
The Orange Social Venture Prize showcases entrepreneurs offering innovative products and services meeting the health, agricultural, educational, energy, commercial or industrial needs of local communities.
In its 6 years of existence, the Orange Social Venture Prize has been exceedingly successful, with some 2,600 projects received. This strong turn-out by candidates illustrates the entrepreneurial dynamics and telecommunications potential of Africa and the Middle East.
Who can participate?
Any entrepreneur of 21 years and older and any legal entity in existence for less than 3 years may participate in the Prize at no cost, regardless of nationality. The projects presented must concern a service to be deployed in at least one of the 18 African and Middle Eastern countries listed in the contest rules.
Orange innovates to bring information and communication technologies into play to improve the living conditions of communities in those countries.
Supporting local entrepreneurship
“Orange MEA is a strategic partner for the digital transformation in Africa and the Middle East to serve its 110 million customers; it plans to play a leading role in supporting the digital transformation of the African continent and to be a major partner to start-ups,” says Bruno Mettling, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Orange operations in Africa and the Middle East.
Orange’s footprint in this region gives the Group a major role in the economy and development of Africa and the Middle East through the many improvements to the daily life of the communities that digital technology brings. Orange is working to improve the communities’ connectivity and to launch value-adding mobile services.
The operator also supports entrepreneurs by offering various support systems, both to entrepreneurs wishing to start their own companies and to mature start-ups. Within that framework, Orange shares its experience and know-how by offering access to its exchange platforms and networks and by facilitating the creation of new services through application programming interfaces (APIs). In particular, the Group created specific incubation and acceleration mechanisms such as the Orange Fab program in Ivory Coast and Senegal, along with management and financing vehicles.
Orange also opened incubators in five African countries: Senegal (CTIC), Mauritius (Ebene), Niger (Cipmen), Mali (Createam) and Guinea (Saboutech). Designed with inclusive, horizontal governance that brings together the public sector, the private sector and civil society, the originality of this model lies in co-creativity to nurture the emergence and development of small and medium businesses and start-ups. This approach is being deployed in other countries on the African continent.