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Orange launches 11th edition of social venture prize in Africa, Middle East

09 Mar 2021, 05:58 pm
Financial Nigeria
Orange launches 11th edition of social venture prize in Africa, Middle East

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The AME is Orange's main growth region, which grew its 2020 revenues by over 5 per cent to €5.8 billion.

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French telecoms giant, Orange, has begun accepting applications for the 11th edition of the Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East (OSVP), aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.  

Every year since 2010, the OSVP has been awarded to start-ups making positive social and environmental impact in 17 countries in Africa and the Middle East (AME). The competition has supported start-ups across various sectors, including education, healthcare, e-commerce, mobile payment, green transition and agriculture.  

The telecoms company says its goal is to make technological innovation a vector for sustainable human and economic development. Eligible candidates for the OSVP are entrepreneurs with ICT solutions that contribute to socio-economic development.

According to a statement released on Tuesday, Orange said the application process for the 2021 competition is open from March 9 to June 4. The competition is organised in two stages. The first involves a national competition in 17 countries in AME, followed by an international competition, which brings together all national winners.

Three prizes ranging from €10,000 to €25,000 are awarded to the overall winners. In addition, the start-ups benefit from an accelerator programme to support their business development.

Last year, Orange introduced the International Women’s Prize with a value of €20,000. This prize rewards any project run by a woman or aimed at improving women’s living conditions. The female entrepreneurship prize will hold again this year.

"I am delighted that for the second year running the International Women's Prize is supporting entrepreneurship for women and the promotion of initiatives that aim to improve the empowerment of women,” said Elizabeth Tchoungui, Deputy Chair of the Orange Foundation. “This prize contributes towards the attainment of the tenth UN Sustainable Development Goal, which is "Reduced inequalities", and is something we have committed to.”

The three solutions that won the 2020 competition were a psychotherapy service in Tunisia; the first on-demand motorbike taxi service in Bamako, Mali; and a low-cost and innovative e-learning platform facilitating access to education in Liberia. Last year's International Women’s Prize was awarded to a mobile payment platform in Tunisia that improves healthcare access for women in rural areas.   

A total of 36 start-ups and 87 individuals have benefited from the OSVP since 2010, receiving €555,000 in funding. Orange said the social and economic impacts of the start-ups and their solutions are undeniable.

According to Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East & Africa, Africa is undergoing major changes such as rapid population growth, accelerating urbanisation, and technological breakthroughs. He said the structural changes are "creating major economic opportunities which mean we must innovate in response and thus build a more prosperous and inclusive continent," adding that no one but the continent's young entrepreneurs are better placed to meet these challenges.

With presence in 26 countries, including 18 in AME, Orange said its revenue in 2020 reached €42.3 billion, up 0.3 per cent from the previous year. AME is the group's main growth region, which grew its 2020 revenues by over 5 per cent to €5.8 billion.

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