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6 Challenges for African Entrepreneurs to Participate in Q1 2020


TechInAfrica — In 2019, African tech startups successfully won more than $6 million from startup competitions and challenges’ prizes.

Participating in startup competitions is one way to receive prizes for your startup’s net funding. In some cases, it is also a great way to get publicity for startups and also to collaborate with corporates and non-governmental organizations.

Here are six challenges in the first quarter of 2020 that African entrepreneurs can enter.

Ocean Innovation Challenge

This UNDP initiative aims to accelerate progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 — Conservation and Sustainable use of oceans, seas, and marine resources.

The initiative identifies, finance, advise, and mentors with the innovative, entrepreneurial, and creative approaches to the ocean and coastal restoration and protection that sustains livelihoods and advances the “blue economy”.

The first challenge opened last Wednesday on 8 January. Concepts that pass an initial review and meet the challenge’s criteria will be invited to submit full proposals for further internal and external review and consideration.

Startups can win grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 and project time frames run from one to two years. Project proposals must be implemented in and benefit stakeholders in developing countries. In addition, all proposals should include a special focus on ensuring gender equity, livelihoods of the poor, and poverty eradication.

Digital Africa 1000’s Challenge

This challenge will select 1000 African entrepreneurs who have solutions for sustainable cities, especially ones that can help feed cities, facilitate access to essential services, provide better transport connections for cities, or that provide finance.

The participants will travel to Bordeaux, France for the 28th edition of the Africa-France Summit which will be held between 4 and 6 June.

At the summit, 1000 entrepreneurs will present their solutions at the Cité des Solutions, an exhibition dedicated to projects and solutions for the city and sustainable territories.

Applications close on 31 January.

Thought for Food (TFF) Challenge

The TFF Challenge is an annual collaborative prize competition that aims to create successful responsible food and agriculture startups around the world.

The challenge looks for locally-relevant solutions that address a wide range of challenges across the food value chain, from production to distribution through to consumption and waste. To participate, interested innovators must sign up by 24 January.

The grand prize winner will receive a $10,000 grant meant solely for the purpose of their project while the runner up will receive $7,500. The challenge also includes other monetary prizes additionally.

Margaret 2020 Awards

Organized across four categories — Entrepreneur Europe, Intrapreneur Europe, Entrepreneur Africa, and Intrapreneur Africa — the Margaret 2020 Awards seek to highlight women entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs carrying digital projects responding to major challenges in society.

The awards’ four winners will benefit from the La Journée de la Femme Digitale (JFD), financial and development support, and other services with a value equivalent to €1-million.

The Entrepreneur Africa category is open to startups founded or co-founded by a woman that has been operating for less than five years.

Applications opened on 2 January and will close on 2 February.

Africa50 Innovation Challenge

If you have a solution that could significantly increase access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet in under-served areas in Africa, then you might want to enter the Africa50 Innovation Challenge, which is a crowd-sourcing initiative of Casablanca-based infrastructure investment platform Africa50.

Through the challenge, Africa50 seeks to find workable solutions to last-mile internet connectivity in Africa.

Applications for the challenge close on 31 January, with submissions set to be assessed between February and March. Thereafter, finalists will present their solutions at the Transform Africa Summit, with winners set to be presented at AfricaCom 2020.

Africa50 said in a statement last month that it provides project development funding of between $2-million and $10-million.

Apart from cash prizes and potential project development funding, participants stand to benefit from access to investor connections. Participants will also be integrated into Africa50’s pipeline of bankable projects.

Successful applicants will also be provided with technical support to improve their project’s investment readiness. They will also get the opportunity to scale their solution to Africa50’s 27 shareholder countries.

FAMAE Challenge Food for Good

The FAMAE Challenge Food for Good is targeted at individuals, startups, and organizations that have developed an innovative and concrete solution from field to fork to deliver fair, sustainable, and healthy food.

A total of €2-million in prize money will be given to one or more projects, with at least €15,000 per category.

Applications for the challenge close on 14 February.



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