As part of the 2022 Digital Economy Summit, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Africa Business Center (USAfBC) in conjunction with AmChams across Africa, is hosting its annual Digital Innovation Competition for African Startups. The competition is targeted toward Digital SMEs and startups that are looking to facilitate the delivery of digital, cross-border, interoperable, and cross-domain services, and solutions, while also accelerating their digitally-enabled growth.
The Digital Innovation Competition will award innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups for developing solutions through digital products and services while creating a positive impact on African citizens. This competition seeks to promote talent in the African region through social impact, digital initiatives that incorporate cutting-edge technologies, innovation, and creativity in the form of proposals that formulate solutions to different problems and opportunities in the region.
Thematic Areas of Africa’s Digital Innovation Competition.
The competition will be focused on three broad thematic areas:
- Fintech and Cyber Solutions: covering data flow solutions, cross-border digital platform solutions, mobile technology, intellectual property management, cyber security, and digital movement of creative art (movies, music, art).
- Sustainability & Supply Chain Solutions: covering smart manufacturing, e-commerce, management of shared economies, improvement to digital supply chain, logistics solutions to e-commerce businesses, and agriculture technology (AgTech).
- Human Development & Social Services Solutions: covering digital health solutions, and e-learning platforms.
The in-kind services may include laptops, annual subscriptions to digital platforms, mentoring, and digital marketing/advertising services for the top three winners of the competition. The top three winners will also be offered a virtual platform to engage with mentors and participants during the Digital Economy Summit on December 07, 2022.
The total grand prize package is worth $25,000. This includes $15,000 in prize money, a 6-month mentorship with a Fortune 500 Tech Company, and a 1-year subscription to digital tools/platforms.
2nd Prize ($15,000 Prize Package)
The second prize includes $10,000 in prize money, a 6-month mentorship with a Tech Company, and a 6-month subscription to digital tools/platforms.
3rd Prize ($10,000 Prize Package)
The third prize includes $5,000 in prize money, a 3-month mentorship with a Tech Company, and a 3-month subscription to digital tools/platforms.
5 Regional Champions
Five regional champions will be named and will collect $5,000 in prize money, a plaque of recognition, and enjoy a 3-month mentorship with Company within their thematic area.
Within its strategic vision, the USAfBC is looking for innovative proposals that, through digital solutions, articulate stories of impact and clearly identify the challenges and actions to implement solutions in the digital space. The Digital Innovation Competition is open to entrepreneurs, startups, and independent innovators who have turned ideas into digital innovation to improve living conditions for Africans amid the pandemic.
To be eligible, an applicant (or their startup) must:
- Be a startup or innovator with at least 51% African ownership
- Must be incorporated /registered with the appropriate country-based body, e.g. Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
- Not be a government agency, public administration, political organization, or non-profit of any type Africa Digital Entrepreneurship Competition 2022
- The startup must be headquartered in one of the African Countries.
- Startup must not be older than five (5) years and not be part of a franchise brand or licensing agreements for distribution in a different country
- Not be a Business engaged in any illegal activity and not listed on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Sanctions List
The evaluation process will be carried out in three phases:
PHASE 1 (all applicants)
Following their online submission, the applications will go through a first review round. This review will be carried out by appointed experts. This review starts with an eligibility and exclusion screening. The applicants that do not comply with the eligibility criteria will not be further evaluated. The experts will evaluate the eligible applications based on the evaluation criteria and shortlist the 10 best-ranked applications, including regional champions for each of the sub-regions of Africa (North, West, Central, East, and Southern Africa).
The 10 shortlisted applicants will be notified about their qualifications and invited to submit an executive summary (3-5 pages maximum) of their innovation and participate in Phase 2.
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PHASE 2 (10 shortlisted finalists)
The 10 shortlisted finalists will be invited to pitch their idea in front of a panel of experts, including selected AmCham Representatives in Africa and Industry Leaders with experience and knowledge in the fields of digital transformation, digital services, and business strategies. The panel will carry out the evaluations, and select the top 3 finalists for Phase 3.
PHASE 3 (top 3 finalists)
The top 3 winners will be featured at the U.S.-Africa 2022 Africa Digital Economy Summit in December 2022, where the first, second, and third place winners will also be announced following a live voting by participants of the Summit. The two-minute video pitch of their product/innovation will also be featured. Results will be certified by an external accreditor.
Apply for the Africa’s Digital Innovation Competition 2022 here. Application submissions close June 30, 2022.
Image credit: uschamber.com