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innovateAFRICA Award for Innovative Media Startups. USD100,000 Cash Grant

Brief description: innovateAFRICA is designed to find and nurture ideas that have the potential to empower ordinary African citizens by transforming journalism and the media industry into more digitally savvy civic watchdogs.

Application Timeline:

  • Application Opens: 1st September, 2016
  • Application Closes: 1st December, 2016
  • Finalists Announced: 20th January, 2017
  • Winners Announced: 31st January, 2017

Offered annually? Not known

Offered Since: 2016

Eligible Countries: All countries

About the Award:  innovateAFRICA is looking for disruptive digital ideas to improve the way that news is collected and disseminated. Digital ideas mean tools or strategies that use the Internet, mobile platforms, data-driven journalism, computer-assisted reporting, digitally augmented reality or virtual reality, camera drones or the Internet of Things (sensors), and other electronic means to improve the relevance and impact of news media. The prize will be awarded to the ideas that seek to achieve one or more of the following goals:

  • Platforms: Strengthen existing media platforms, or harness new digital platforms to engage audiences and transmit news or other journalistic content.
  • Delivery: Improve the way news reaches audiences, from traditional circulation / airtime management to newer disruptive ‘cross platform’ channels.
  • Context: Amplify the usefulness of news by harnessing geo-location, or by improving the immediacy, depth and accuracy of journalistic content.
  • Reach: Enhance the impact and “shelf life” of news by extending its influence and intrinsic value for both audiences and content services
  • Targeting: Deepen media’s understanding of its audiences and markets by improving user analytics, audience profiling and market segmentation.
  • Sustainability: Boost the media’s resource base by diversifying business models, developing new revenue streams or improving operational efficiencies.

Type: Contest

Eligibility: innovateAFRICA is an open and worldwide contest.  Anyone, anywhere can therefore apply – as long as they have an African partner to help with implementation.  There is no other age or geographic restriction.  The competition is open to nonprofits, for-profits or individuals of any age, anywhere in the world.  Awards to minors will be made to an intermediary designated by innovateAFRICA.

Selection Criteria: 

  • Your ideas should be focused on providing pragmatic solutions to real-world challenges facing Africa’s media.
  • Your innovation should fall into any of four broad categories: news gathering; storytelling; audience engagement; or the business of news.

Selection Process: Each project’s operational requirements will be spelled out in a detailed budget that shortlisted finalists will be required to file in the 2nd phase of judging. Finalists will receive feedback from innovateAFRICA’s technical review panel to help them develop this budget and a related business plan.

Value of Contest: Winners will receive cash grants of between $12,500 and $100,000, depending on the potential impact and the operational requirements of the project.

Winners will therefore receive more than just cash grants. They will also receive a combination of technical advice and software development support from Code for Africa’s affiliate technology labs across the continent, along with business and editorial mentorship from industry experts at CFI, the Media Development Investment Fund and the Global Editors Network (GEN), and additional support for winners to market their innovations to a wider African and world audience.

Once winners have produced working prototypes and proof-of-concept for their ideas, they will be given the opportunity to showcase their innovations to venture capitalist funds for possible additional investment.

How to Apply: It is important to visit the official website (link below) for detailed information on how to apply for this scholarship.

Interested contestants can thenapply here

Visit Contest Webpage for details

Award Provider: innovativeAFRICA

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