Yesterday, Orange announced the winners of the 7th Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize 2017 in Africa and the Middle East during the AfricaCom Awards in Cape Town, South Africa.
Each year this Prize 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.
A new feature in this year’s 7th edition was a national phase during which each of Orange’s 17 subsidiaries  in Africa and the Middle East taking part in the contest studied the projects submitted in their country and appointed local winners. These 49 local winners were entered into the international contest.
Open from February to June 2017, the call for applications received nearly 1,200 innovative project entries, which was 60% more than 2016. These projects illustrate the diverse ideas from local entrepreneurs and the potential of ICT in the development of Africa and the Middle East. Amongst the 49 local winners, 11 projects were selected and submitted to a jury made up of professionals, investors, external organisations and Orange organisations.
The three winners will receive bursaries of €25,000, €15,000 and €10,000 and the Special Content Prize winner will receive €5,000. The finalists of the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize will also enjoy priority support for six months from the NGO Grow Movement Orange experts.
Bruno Mettling, Deputy CEO of the Orange Group and Chairman and CEO of Orange MEA (Africa and the Middle East) stated that “The Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize is now a staple part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa and the Middle East. It is a great example of our contribution to digital transformation on the continent, a transformation which we would like to be inclusive and sustainable. Congratulations to these entrepreneurs and particularly the winners, I wish them every success in their professional endeavours. ”
The winning projects this year were:
1st prize was awarded to Manzer Partazer in Madagascar
The objective of the Malagasy start-up is to reduce food waste by sharing excess food from restaurants, hotels or supermarkets with partner organisations such as orphanages and disadvantaged populations. A collaborative platform will allow direct communication between different stakeholders.
2nd prize was awarded to City Taps in Niger
CityTaps has developed a solution which bridges the gap between water services and the most disadvantaged citizens: a pre-payment service which includes a smart water meter and billing software.
The beneficiaries use their mobile to prepay for running water with any mobile phone, at any time, for any amount, which improves their household budget.
3rd prize was awarded to eFret.tn in Tunisia
eFret.tn is a website based on the freight exchange principle. It links up senders, whether private individuals or companies, with transport and transit professionals in Tunisia. The senders publish adverts describing their needs and receive free quotations from carriers, movers, and international transport companies and customs forwarding agents.
Furthermore, this year a Special Content Prize was added, which was awarded by Orange Content.
The Special Orange Content Prize was awarded to: Génie Edu in Cameroon
This is an e-learning platform which aims to help students having problems by providing online video courses. The startup wants every student, including those in remote areas, to have access to high-quality courses at a very low cost, anytime and anywhere.
Internet users were also invited to choose their “User Favourite” project. This project automatically qualified for the international final.
This was the Malgasy project, Majika which received over 2,800 votes out of 12,242 votes online. Majika is a social company aiming to facilitate economic development conditions in rural zones. It is based on two areas: access to renewable electricity and support for rural entrepreneurship. Majika works on an autonomous and ecological power plant in the village of Ampasindava.
Success stories from previous winners:
- MedTrucks (2016) supports healthcare players with the deployment of smart trucks which use remote medicine to provide medical treatment in remote areas.
- Bassita (2015) invents clickfunding: companies submit their social, cultural or environmental project on its platform. If it reaches its click target after being shared on social networks, the project obtains a donation from a sponsor.
- Station Energy (2014), between a service station and African grocery store, provides access to energy via franchises on a large scale and at an affordable cost.
 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 and Burkina Faso.