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AIF floats $150,000 contest for African innovators

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The African Innovation Foundation (AIF), driver of The Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), has called for applications across the continent for the sixth edition of the IPA awards.

The competition once again offers Africa’s top crop of innovators a share in a grand prize of US$150 000 and additional scalable entrepreneurial opportunities.

Enterprises and individuals that have invested in delivering market-oriented solutions for African-led development are especially invited to take part in the competition.

The call for entries runs for three months, starting September 27, 2016, with a submission deadline of January 3, 2017 at 11:59pm GMT.

Details from the group said IPA is looking for applications in social and economic innovation, including manufacturing and service industry, health and well-being, agriculture and agri-business, environment, energy and water, and ICT showcasing ground-breaking innovations. IPA welcomes Innovations beyond the scope of these sectors.

Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl,  director of IPA, said “We are extremely pleased to officially launch the IPA 2017 edition for African innovators,” stressing that “We strongly believe that investing in today’s homegrown innovations will propel tomorrow’s prosperity for Africa.”

In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) nine, which calls on countries to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation, IPA 2017 is themed African innovation: Investing in prosperity.

The group said AIF believes that funding streams, investment and resources are critical to obtain a clear value chain for innovation in Africa, contributing to sustainable development.

Walter Fust, chairman of the AIF board said “IPA has demonstrated that African innovation talent is abundant, but funding and resources remain a challenge”.

“For IPA 2017, we are expanding our outreach beyond innovators to include investors and other key movers and shakers across the innovation landscape to help address this challenge.

“To meet this objective of increasing support to individual innovators, makers, training institutions, existing hubs and networks, the IPA will offer sponsorship opportunities to investors and other innovation enablers who can demonstrate their commitment to support the building of more robust African innovation ecosystems.

The 10 nominees will be featured at the IPA 2017 event, along with lucrative entrepreneurial opportunities such as funding, communications training, active participation in the IPA network of innovators and innovation enablers, publicity in Africa and beyond across major media channels, business opportunities, as well as collaboration with enablers and investors to shape potential innovations for viable business success.

Last year’s winners were selected from nearly 1,000 entries across 46 countries, reflecting the truly Pan-African flavour of the competition. Previous IPA editions were held in Botswana (2016), Morocco (2015), Nigeria (2014), South Africa (2013) and Ethiopia (2012).


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