Three startups have been named the winners of the seventh Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize in Africa and the Middle East, sharing EUR40,000 (US$46,570) among them, and receiving six months business support.
Disrupt Africa reported in March applications opened to the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize, seeking innovators improve the living conditions of local people through tech, in fields such as education, healthcare, farming, mobile payments or sustainable development.
Applications were open to entrepreneurs from Botswana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Niger, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Senegal, Tunisia, Jordan, Liberia or Burkina Faso.
Over 1,200 submissions were received; and were considered locally in a national phase of the competition, with each of Orange’s 17 subsidiaries in Africa and the Middle East studying the projects submitted in their country and choosing local winners.
The 49 finalists pitched to an international panel of judges at the recently concluded AfricaCom event held in Cape Town last week.
Malagasy startup Manzer Partazer was named first prize winner, for its collaborative solution which aims to reduce food waste by sharing excess food from restaurants, hotels or supermarkets with partner organisations such as orphanages and disadvantaged populations. The startup received a EUR25,000 (US$29,110) bursary.
The second prize of EUR15,000 (US$17,465) went to Niger-based startup City Taps. CityTaps has developed a mobile-money powered water pre-payment service which includes a smart water meter and billing software, with the aim of bridging the gap between water utilities and the most disadvantaged citizens.
In third place was Tunisia’s eFret.tn – a website linking freight senders, whether private individuals or companies, with transport and transit professionals. The senders publish adverts describing their needs and receive free quotations from carriers, movers, and international transport companies and customs forwarding agents. Third prize carried a bursary of EUR10,000 (US$11,640).
In addition to the cash prizes, all the 49 finalists received six months’ business support from Orange experts and Grow Movement.
A special content prize was also awarded to Cameroon’s Génie Edu, which supports learners with affordable educational video content.