Innovation Prize for Africa 2013 announces winners


USD 100 000 for the best innovation, USD 25 000 for the best commercial potential, and USD 25 000 for social innovation. IPA 2014’s call for applications will be announced in two months.

Selected from more than 900 applications from 45 countries, the Innovation Prize for Africa 2013 winners were announced on Tuesday May 7 at an awards ceremony and gala dinner in Cape Town, South Africa. The AgriProtein team from South Africa was announced as the overall winner. The team of researchers and entrepreneurs will receive USD 100 000 for its innovative approach to nutrient recycling – a method that uses waste and fly larvae to produce natural animal feed. The AgriProtein solution collects biodegradable waste, feeds it to flies that in turn produce larvae that are ground into protein to provide a more ecologically friendly, naturally occurring type of animal feed. This approach improves the nutritional value of meat and lowers the cost of animal feed for African processors and farmers.

The IPA 2013 Gala also recognized two runners up for their contributions to African innovation. In the business potential category, Hassine Labaied and Anis Aouini from Saphon Energy received USD 25 000 for creating a bladeless wind convertor.

In the social impact category, Sanoussi Diakite received USD 25 000 for developing a thermal powered machine that husks 5 kilograms of fonia – a West African cereal – in just 8 minutes.

“The Innovation Prize for Africa winners showcase African solutions to African challenges,” said Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, co-founder of the African Innovation Foundation and the IPA. “As global leaders gather for the World Economic Forum on Africa to discuss approaches to deliver on Africa’s promise, these innovators demonstrate that the best way to build Africa’s capacity is to invest in local innovation and entrepreneurship”.

Winners were selected by a skilled panel of jurors based on the marketability, originality, scalability, social impact and business potential of their respective innovations. The IPA selection committee represents private equity investors, seed funders, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and development leaders who are looking for ideas that move Africa forward. The winners are provided with unrestricted funds in recognition of their achievements and are free to use the Prize in the manner they deem most appropriate.

“We are honoured by this remarkable recognition,” said Jason Drew a member of the AgriProtein team. “We are passionate about expanding our business to recycle more waste nutrients and supply a natural protein to feed farm animals – helping sustainably feed our continent – this is an African contribution to sustainable agriculture for our planet.”

Founded by the African Innovation Foundation and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the IPA is focused on building Africa’s capacity by investing in local entrepreneurship. The Prize mobilizes leaders from all sectors – private sector, donors and government – to promote and invest in African development through innovation.

“The AgriProtein team’s innovation is just one example of the game-changing African ideas that will continue to harness our natural resources profitably and sustainably,” said Dr.Francois Bonnici, Director Bertha Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. “The IPA invests in Africa’s greatest resource – its human capital.”

The Innovation Prize for Africa is founded by the African Innovation Foundation and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. It mobilizes African innovators and entrepreneurs by providing a total of USD 150 000 to winners who deliver market-oriented solutions for African-led development. The IPA honours and encourages innovative achievements that contribute toward developing new products, increasing efficiency or saving cost in Africa. The prize also encourages private equity investors, government and development leaders to invest across sectors and build a climate that fuels Africa’s economic growth.

The call for applications for the Innovation Prize for Africa 2014 will be announced in July 2013. For detailed information of competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission details, please visit: InnovationPrizeForAfrica.org.

Africa’s tech innovators should also check out the DEMO Africa 2013 startup launch competition.

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