Orange Prize for African Entrepreneurs


Orange, a leading telecommunication operator, has launched the third edition of Orange African Social Venture Prize project to promote social innovations in support of development that use information and communication technologies, ICTs

By Maureen Chigbo  |  May 27, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

ORANGE, one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators, is seeking to become a major player in the economic and social development in 18 African countries where it operates and has more than 70 million customers. As part of its innovative strategy as well as its corporate social responsibility policy, Orange launched the third Orange African Social Venture Prize on Tuesday, May 14. This followed the success of the first two programmes it implemented in 2011 and 2012.

The programme promotes social innovations in support of development that use Information and Communication Technologies, ICTs. The Group has also decided to contribute to the development of the local markets for new technologies through its ‘Orange for Development’ programme and to propose innovative solutions which meet the needs of the local population.

The call for projects has received more than 1,000 applications over the past two years, a figure that reflects a true entrepreneurial spirit and the potential for telecommunications on the African continent. This year, the Orange African Social Venture Prize will once again reward three entrepreneurs or start-ups offering products or services that make innovative use of ICTs to meet the needs of people on the African continent in fields as varied as healthcare, agriculture, education, energy, industry and trade.

For example, the prizewinning projects in 2012 were a mobile technology used by Vivuus Limited to assist traders in food products in the Ivory Coast, a system launched in Kenya by Takachar to improve the treatment of waste  and the creation of an e-commerce site to allow people in the Senegalese diaspora to shop online for their families in Dakar.

This year, internet users will once again be able to vote online for their favourite project using the Orange portal in Africa The project voted “online favourite” will be submitted directly to the jury along with the other finalists’ projects preselected by the experts and will therefore have the maximum possible chance of being among the three winners of the 2013 Awards. In 2012, the Egyptian start-up “Innovative Electronic Employment Platform” won the prize with more than 50,000 votes.

Orange is committed to providing financial support and placing its expertise at the service of the entrepreneurs who win the competition. In addition to prize money ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 Euros, the three winners will also receive support from professional entrepreneurs and ICT experts for a period of six months. In another new initiative this year, the project submitted by the winner of the first prize will be patented by Orange in the country where it is deployed.

Any entrepreneur aged 21 or over, or company that has existed for less than three years at the time of the competition, regardless of nationality, can enter the awards free of charge. The projects submitted must have plans to deploy their service in at least one of the African countries where Orange is present and make innovative use of information and communication technologies to contribute to improving the living conditions of people in those countries. Applications may be submitted between May 14 and September 20, 2013 using the Orange portal in Africa.

France Telecom-Orange has sales of 43.5 billion euros in 2012 and has 170,000 employees worldwide as at March 31, 2013, including 104 000 employees in France. Present in 32 countries, the Group has a total customer base close to 230 million, including 172 million mobile customers and 15 million broadband internet (ADSL, fibre) customers worldwide. Orange is one of the main European operators for mobile and broadband internet services and, under the brand Orange Business Services, is one of the world leaders in providing telecommunication services to multinational companies.

With its industrial project, “conquests 2015”, Orange is simultaneously addressing its employees, customers and shareholders, as well as the society in which the company operates, through a concrete set of action plans. These commitments are expressed through a new vision of human resources for employees; through the deployment of a network infrastructure upon which the Group will build its future growth; through the Group’s ambition to offer a superior customer experience thanks, in particular, to improved quality of service; and through the acceleration of international development.

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