The Blue Ocean Awards team, the French Embassy in South Africa, the City of Tshwane, Michelin, Veolia and MEDEF International announce the 1st edition of the South African Blue Ocean Awards. The winners will be announced on the 11th of May 2021 during the ceremony taking place at the French Residence in Pretoria and broadcasted live.
The Blue Ocean Awards are directly inspired by the blue ocean strategy, which stems from the research works of the two INSEAD Professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne on business strategy through value innovation. In their world bestsellers Blue Ocean Strategy and Blue Ocean SHIFT, they deciphered how any company by the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost can open up a new market space and create new demand (called blue oceans). It is about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby making the competition irrelevant. It is based on the view that market boundaries and industry structure are not a given and can be reconstructed by the actions and beliefs of industry players.
The Blue Ocean Awards - created in 2014 by Alban Eral with the French Ministry for the Economy, Finance and Recovery and HEC Paris - are turning international in 2021. For this first international edition, South Africa has been chosen for its international culture and its dynamism in innovation, South Africa is one of the well-developed startup ecosystems on the African continent. The City of Tshwane is currently analyzing the feasibility to launch their BlueCity program, with the support of the French Embassy and the participation of local and international entrepreneurs, incubation structures and corporates (more to be announced on the 11th of May). The City of Tshwane have been actively implementing its innovation strategy with the goal of improving service delivery. Therefore, the City’s participation in the upcoming the Blue Ocean Awards demonstrates the City’s commitment to leading innovation practices. BlueCity is an international cooperation program mixing Blue Ocean Strategy for local development and Open Innovation to co-design effective and efficient inclusive public services.
M. Aurélien Lechevallier, French Ambassador in South Africa, will welcome the 1st South African Blue Ocean Awards on May 11th at the French Residence, with representatives from the South African government and the City of Tshwane. M. Stanley Steenkamp, Chief Executive Officer Veolia Southern Africa – an important player in sustainable ecological transformation in Southern Africa – will preside over this ceremony too. Will also participate representatives from MEDEF International and from the Michelin group who has created this year the Mobility Blue Ocean Award.
The Michelin’s Mobility Blue Ocean Award - open to international applications regardless of the candidates' maturity - will be delivered on the 11th of May at the HEC Paris business school. Michelin will pay particular attention to innovations related to safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly mobility solutions, directly connected to Michelin Group's sustainable strategy. Companies can directly apply before March 20th on: https://blue-ocean-awards.com/en/candidater/
The ceremony agenda of the 11th of May will be as follows:
- Opening of the 1st South African Blue Ocean Awards by M. Aurélien Lechevallier, French Ambassador in South Africa and M. Stanley Steenkamp, Chief Executive Officer Veolia Southern Africa - in multiplex from: Pretoria, HEC Paris, Bordeaux Technowest, Lyon Caisse d’Epargne Tower
- Awarding of prize to the ‘South African entrepreneur’ category from the finalists of the City of Tshwane Inter-University Innovation Challenge
- Awarding of prize to the ‘French entrepreneur’ category from the startups founded by French founders developing in South Africa.
- Conclusion of the 1st South African Blue Ocean Awards ceremony by Cedric O. French Secretary of State for Digital Transition and Electronic Communications (tbc) and the representatives of South African and the City of Tshwane - in multiplex from: Pretoria, HEC Paris, Bordeaux Technowest, Lyon Caisse d’Epargne Tower
« The French Embassy in South Africa is honored to support and host this very first international edition of the Blue Ocean Awards, a prestigious innovation competition initiated by INSEAD and HEC. This edition is fully in line with our desire to support the development of South Africa's innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is also a great opportunity to bring our respective ecosystems closer together. »
Aurélien Lechevallier, French Ambassador in South Africa
« Innovation is the main driver of sustainable ecological transformation.
In Southern Africa, Durban and Windhoek, our innovative solutions have long enabled the reuse of wastewater for industrial and even domestic purposes. By supporting the South African edition of the Blue Ocean Awards, our teams are ready to take on new challenges! »
Stanley Steenkamp, Chief Executive Officer Veolia Southern Africa
« Michelin is thrilled to be the partner of the 7th Blue Ocean Awards edition and to launch the MICHELIN “mobility” award. Connected mobility, through the data it generates, opens unlimited innovation opportunities in the field of services, in particular to better know our clients, their habits. The Blue Ocean Awards are for us an opportunity to identify and support the most promising gems in this booming market. »
Olivier Bouhet, VP Innovation Connected Mobility services at Michelin
« French companies are internationally recognized for their sustainable and innovative solutions, particularly applied to essential service sectors such as water and sanitation, waste treatment, energy or mobility. They have been present in South Africa for a long time and are committed to working with the local ecosystem to offer innovative services adapted to each context. MEDEF International and in particular its Sustainable Cities Task Force is pleased to be a partner of the first international edition of the Blue Ocean Awards, which will undoubtedly give rise to many lasting partnerships between French and South African companies. »
Gérard Wolf, President of the task force ‘Sustainable City’ at MEDEF International