The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) has called on African innovators to submit their entries for the fourth edition of the yearly Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), which aims to enable and encourage African pioneers to develop creative ideas and techniques to overcome developmental challenges faced by the continent and support sustainable development.
Entries would be evaluated based on their originality, marketability, scalability, social impact and their scientific or technical aspects and could be entered under five categories – agriculture and agribusiness; environment, energy and water; health and wellbeing; information communication technology applications; and manufacturing and services industries.
The winning submission would be awarded $100 000, while the second prize of $25 000 would be awarded to the innovation that offered the most promising commercial and business potential.
An additional award would be granted to the innovation that offered the best social impact.
Recognising homegrown innovative ingenuity, AIF and IPA founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais said the competition helped to increase funding to start-ups, led to the adoption of new and emerging technologies and accelerated the growth of the private sector.
“We are passionate about Africa and its potential and firmly believe that it will be led by empowering a new generation of African innovators and entrepreneurs. However, we also recognise that this new generation needs the resources and the opportunities to realise their ambition.
“IPA provides a platform to encourage and harness these entrepreneurial skills to help improve the lives of Africans and to realise untapped potential. The prize is also a great way of unleashing creativity and promoting growth within the African continent,” he commented.
Citing an example, Bastos de Morais said the 2013 IPA winner, nutrient recycler AgriProtein, went on to raise $11-million to build its first two commercial farms in Cape Town.
“Africa needs meaningful investment to alleviate poverty and provide inclusive prosperity. To achieve this, we need to be able to provide environments that promote quality investment for the people and reduce risks. Forums like the IPA are necessary to make the most of the continent's investment,” noted AgriProtein spokesperson David Drew.
Earlier this year, IPA named Dr Nicolaas Duneas and Nuno Pires from South Africa the first prize winners for their Altis Osteogenic Bone Matrix, the first injectable porcine-derived bone morphogenetic proteins medical device in the world – an innovative product for the treatment of bone injuries and voids through the use of regenerative biological implants.
The IPA also called on investors, governments and other stakeholders interested in evaluating, investing and maximising the continent’s resources to participate in the initiative and make contributions.
The deadline for submitting applications for IPA 2015 was October 31.