Orange launches African Social Venture Prize, offers $54k in grants

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Mobile operator Orange has launched the call for applications for the fifth edition of the Orange African Social Venture Prize, offering three projects a total of EUR50,000 (US$54,000) in grant money.

Orange said the initiative aims to encourage innovative startups that help accelerate development in Africa, with three grants of EUR25,000 (US$27,000), EUR15,000 (US$16,000) and EUR10,000 (US$11,000) available, along with six months of mentoring from Orange.

The first prize will also receive free patent registration in the country of the project’s deployment. Interested parties can vote online for their favourite project on Orange’s entertainment portal in Africa, StarAfrica.com.

“Over the past four years, 2,000 projects have been submitted to the Venture Prize, reflecting the dynamism of African entrepreneurs and the potential of the telecommunications sector in positively impacting communities in Africa,” said Orange Telkom Kenya’s chief corporate communications officer George Mlaghui.

“As a result, one of Orange’s main priorities is to improve connectivity, particularly in rural areas, and to introduce value-adding mobile services. The group also provides support by offering a variety of programmes, both to entrepreneurs seeking to create their own company as well as to grow startups.”

Any entrepreneur aged 21 or over or a legally recognised company that has been in existence for less than three years may participate, at no cost and with no restriction on nationality. Projects must be designed for deployment in at least one of the 17 African countries in which Orange operates, and must use information and communications technology in an innovative way to help improve the living conditions of the people in these countries.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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