Today, VC4Africa, the largest online community of venture capitalists, angels and entrepreneurs dedicated to building businesses in Africa, and Sanaga Ventures, an early stage investment firm with a focus on African tech ventures, launched the Cameroon Startup Challenge. The competition offers a cash prize of USD $5,000 for the most innovative web, mobile or hardware-based business venture in Cameroon. As an additional benefit, the winning venture is eligible to be incubated at ActivSpaces, Cameroon’s leading technology hub, and receive ongoing support, oversight, services and mentoring. An awards ceremony will be held in Cameroon at the close of the challenge with the top three startups, participants, judges, invited guests, a video crew and local press. Entries will be accepted from May 7th – July 6th, 2012.
“The purpose of this competition is to encourage innovation across the technology sector in Cameroon and showcase the talents of the country’s top entrepreneurs,” said Bill Zimmerman, co-founder of VC4Africa and principal in Sanaga Ventures. “We’re enthusiastic about this challenge and feel strongly that we’ll see some promising startups rise to the occasion,” he added.
Sanaga Ventures is coordinating the competition and providing seed money for the winning venture. The prize money is a one-time grant and is not in exchange for equity. Follow-on funding may be available to the founder of the winning venture if it demonstrates traction and social validation in the marketplace. Established in 2011, Sanaga Ventures is an investment firm based in the Netherlands which provides seed finance, coaching and support to mobile application developers, web startups and innovative ventures in West and Central Africa.
“We have seen so many innovations come from this space. VC4Africa has an outstanding technical team based in Buea and they are the foundation for one of the continent’s most entrepreneurial online communities,” said Ben White, founder of VCAfrica and principal in Sanaga Ventures. “Innovation can come from anywhere in the world, and the next global company might very well be from Cameroon. We want to do what we can to make that happen.”
We’re very fortunate to have several of the top figures in Cameroon’s tech sector participating on the judging panel. Entry criteria, eligibility, success measures and all the details are available in the press release: