According to a press statement, this Pan-African competition, launching today, will be the first of its kind in Africa and will bring together over 1000 entrepreneurs, students and investors, to collaborate on ways to amplify and consolidate the continent’s entrepreneurs.
The Challenge will target more than 60 universities in 13 countries across Africa, the statemetn said. The competition will challenge students to develop a unique digital application or smart solution that will solve a tangible problem faced on the continent.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with Jumia to launch the entrepreneurship challenge. Africa is a continent of promise, and our aim with the MTN Solution Space has always been to help fulfil this promise by developing uniquely African solutions. We believe that the entrepreneurship challenge is a key element of this. The response and willingness from universities across Africa to collaborate on this initiative has been truly remarkable and certainly exemplifies the impact of collective efforts to foster entrepreneurship among our next generation of business leaders,” says Sarah-Anne Arnold, Manager of the MTN Solution Space.
MTN’s Group Chief Digital Officer, Herman Singh, says the company is proud to both sponsor and endorse the initiative.
“The Entrepreneurship Challenge is strongly aligned to MTN’s own entrepreneurial culture and history as well as our values as a business. We believe inspiration of new business leaders in Africa and their enablement to success, will be key drivers for the future rapid evolution of a broader start-up culture on the continent. This is an environment already teeming with excellent potential and we hope to assist in accelerating its further growth and to raise MTN’s role in creating new businesses in Africa,” says Singh.
Applications for the first round of the multi-phased competition are open from today and will close on 27 March 2016. Aspiring entrepreneurs from participating universities can enter in teams by logging onto. All applications will be judged by campus captains, who consist of successful entrepreneurs in their respective market. Shortlisted teams will then move on to a live pitching phase at their selected universities between 1-8 April 2016, after which the final five projects will be selected to move through to the Semi-Final.
The finalists will be announced on 16 April 2016, and as part of this achievement, the successful teams will get the opportunity to attend the Entrepreneurship festival, hosted at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business in South Africa on May 27 2016. The festival, aims to facilitate the collaboration of over a thousand attendees with prominent and innovative speakers and workshop experts from across the world. Finalists will have to pitch their business to a room of successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, judges, investors and international media, after which the winner of the challenge will be announced.
The winner of the MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge will win a cash prize of US $25 000 towards their start-up, and will also benefit from a yearlong partnership with Jumia, where they will have the opportunity to work from any of JUMIA’s offices across Africa. This will enable the winner to learn from, and be mentored by experienced and successful entrepreneurs in the JUMIA network. The winner will also have access to a Facebook Start Program to the value of US $15 000, which includes tools and services needed to build mobile applications. In addition, they will have the opportunity to work from the MTN Solution Space at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. The two runners-up will each receive US $5 000 towards their projects.
“This competition will contribute to building a stronger and more sustainable business environment across Africa. Its main goal is to boost and fuel African entrepreneurship by enabling young and smart entrepreneurs to kick off with their own projects. The key for us is to give full and adapted support to young talents, from funding to mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs,” says Bankole Cardoso, Head of Communications from Jumia.