A Kenyan and eight others across the continent are set for a fierce battle to clinch the multimillion grand prize at stake in this year’s African Innovation Foundation’s (AIF) Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA).
To be awarded in Accra, Ghana on July 18, 2017, innovators from nine African countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe have been shortlisted for the prestigious prize amounting to no less than 185, 000 USD and incentives to spur growth and prosperity in Africa through home-grown solutions.
“This year’s innovators have demonstrated incredible proficiency through innovative solutions addressing challenges in agriculture value chain, health care, energy, communications, service industries as well as surveillance using drone technology,” states the Foundation on the website.
The selected nominees will pitch their innovative projects to the esteemed IPA panel of jurors during the closed pitch sessions on July 15 and 16th in Accra. Following their pitch, three winners will be selected and announced during the Awards ceremony slated for 18 July 2017 at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra.
“IPA has seen tremendous growth in applications and increasing interest from both innovators and innovation enablers over the years. To date, IPA has attracted more than 7 500 innovators from 52 African countries, making it a truly Pan African initiative,” reveals AIF.
The IPA 2017 edition witnessed a record number of entries from over 2 530 innovators across 48 African countries. The Foundation has supported past winners and nominees with approximately 1 million USD to move their innovations forward.
“Due to exposure generated by IPA, past winners have gone on to secure over 30 million USD in investments to grow and scale their businesses,” note AIF.
At the same time, while IPA 2017 awards ceremony will be rolling, AIF will also be hosting its second Innovation Ecosystems Connector on July 17 and 18 in Accra, Ghana.
“The event will focus on how innovation enablers and businesses can leverage funding streams, investments, and resources that are critical to unlocking the potential of African innovators.”
Participants at the IPA Awards will get an opportunity to attend the official opening of IPA 2017, experience the innovation marketplace, join high-level roundtable discussions, Zua Hub meet-ups, and networking activities, ending with a celebration of African ingenuity when the IPA 2017 winners will be announced.
To find out more about activities and partnership opportunities, visit http://event.innovationprizeforafrica.org/
Meanwhile, the person of interest to be flying the nation’s flag high on the innovation front is none other than Peris Bosire of FarmDrive, a financial technology company that has developed a mobile phone-based application that collects data and provides an alternative risk assessment model for smallholder farmers.
”While the continent remains largely dependent on agriculture, one of the biggest challenges facing smallholder farmers is access to credit or finance. Most financial institutions are reluctant to grant credit to farmers because their risk assessment models flag small farmers as being very risky,” reads their note describing the problem.
“FarmDrive has developed a new methodology for assessing the creditworthiness of farmers that has led to a higher acceptance rate of loan applications by farmers while maintaining a very low default rate. This could have the effect of significantly boosting agricultural production on the continent while helping financial institutions cost effectively increase their agricultural loan portfolios.”