Telecommunications operator, Orange, has opened the call for applications for the annual Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East.

Now in its eighth year, the initiative rewards innovative projects based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) which help improve the living conditions of local people through digital, in fields such as education, healthcare, farming, mobile payments or sustainable development.

The competition will start with a national phase, during which each of the 17 participating Orange subsidiaries will assess the projects submitted in its country and select three winners. This will be followed by an international phase, where 51 national winners will compete for an international jury which will present the grand prize to three final winners at the AfricaCom Awards event in Cape Town.

In addition to their national prizes, the three winners will receive €25,000, €15,000 and €10,000 respectively, as well as six months of personalised support from start-up creation and financing professionals.

The Orange Social Venture Prize is open to all students, employees and entrepreneurs over age 21 whose initiative is under three years old and serves Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Tunisia, Jordan, Liberia or Burkina-Faso.

“1,200 projects were submitted in 2017, a 60% increase over 2016. Support for talented start-ups is at the heart of Orange’s development strategy. With the Orange Social Venture Prize, we reaffirm our commitment to being a partner for the innovators working to improve daily life ever year,” said CEO Orange Middle East and Africa, Bruno Mettling.

Since its creation in 2011, the Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East has already provided support to close to twenty projects.

The applications are now open and will run through to 31st May 2018. For more information on how to apply, visit Orange Social Venture 2018.

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