Mobile operator MTN and e-commerce firm Jumia have partnered to launch what is described as a “first of its kind” pan-African entrepreneurship competition, offering the winner a cash prize of US$25,000.
The MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge will bring together over 1,000 entrepreneurs, students and investors, and is targeting more than 60 universities in 13 countries across Africa.
Entrants will be challenged to develop a unique digital application or smart solution that will solve a tangible problem faced on the continent.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with Jumia to launch the entrepreneurship challenge. Africa is a continent of promise, and our aim with the MTN Solution Space has always been to help fulfil this promise by developing uniquely African solutions,” said Sarah-Anne Arnold, Manager of the MTN Solution Space.
“We believe that the entrepreneurship challenge is a key element of this. The response and willingness from universities across Africa to collaborate on this initiative has been truly remarkable and certainly exemplifies the impact of collective efforts to foster entrepreneurship among our next generation of business leaders.”
Applications for the first round of the multi-phased competition are now open, and will close on March 27. Applications will be judged by campus captains, consisting of successful entrepreneurs in their respective markets, with shortlisted teams then moving on to a live pitching phase at their selected universities between April 1-8.
The final five projects will be selected to move through to the semi-final, with finalists announced on April 16. As part of this achievement, the teams will get the opportunity to attend the Entrepreneurship Festival, hosted at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business in South Africa on May 27, where they will pitch their solutions.
The winner will receive a cash prize of US$25,000 towards their startup, and will also benefit from a yearlong partnership with Jumia, where they will have the opportunity to work from any of Jumia’s offices across Africa. The winning team will also have access to a Facebook Start programme to the value of US$15,000, which includes tools and services needed to build mobile applications, and will have the opportunity to work from the MTN Solution Space. Two runners-up will each receive US$5,000 towards their projects.
“This competition will contribute to building a stronger and more sustainable business environment across Africa. Its main goal is to boost and fuel African entrepreneurship by enabling young and smart entrepreneurs to kick off with their own projects. The key for us is to give full and adapted support to young talents, from funding to mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs,” said Bankole Cardoso, Head of Communications from Jumia.