By Emeka Aginam
The software giant, Google has flagged off Africa connected competition calling on entrepreneurs, creators, innovators and web-lovers in Nigeria and across Africa to share their stories of how the web has transformed their lives and work.
In the competition, Five successful entrants are expected to win $25,000 each, and will also have the opportunity to work with a Google sponsor over a six-month period.
Google’s new initiative, ‘Africa Connected: Success stories powered by the web’, aims to gather the largest collection of inspiring stories about ventures established online by Africans, in Africa.
“Google wants to hear from young, spirited entrepreneurial web adopters in Nigeria and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa who have a healthy disregard for the impossible and who are using the web and technology to do cool and extraordinary things to rise above their circumstances, change their world, and achieve success. We want to showcase the amazing achievements happening in the new Africa”, Affiong Osuchukwu, Google Lead for the Africa Connected initiative, said.
Aspiring filmmaker, cinematographer and editor Amuwa Oluseyi Asurf is one such example. This Nigerian videographer has gone from spending nights in internet cafes, so that he could watch YouTube to teach himself how to edit films, to running a successful film and video production company in Lagos, where he employs 10 people.
His company; Asurf Films is today courted by Nigerian celebrities such as Basket Mouth, Iyanya, Wizkid, Psquare and Bovi, to film their music/entertainment videos locally and internationally.
“My journey started with a passion to become a filmmaker. Unfortunately, even though I got admission to some good universities, I couldn’t afford to go. Luckily I was introduced to the internet and to YouTube. I discovered I could learn everything I needed to know online. It feels great to have some of the top celebrities in Nigeria inviting me to their projects. This inspires me to want to become even better. I am still on the journey to becoming one of the top names in African filmmaking, and I know the internet will still continue to play an important role.”
The owner and creator of Afrinolly, Chike Maduegbuna, based in Nigeria, is another online entrepreneur. Afrinolly is a popular mobile app which lets people across the continent watch short videos on their mobile devices.
This app has transformed Nigeria’s Nollywood film industry by creating a movie trailer platform for new audiences. With over 3 million downloads already since its launch in August 2011, Chike hopes this will create a platform that connects aspiring film professionals with global film industry veterans.
Nigerian judge and radio personality / fashion photographer Temilola Balogun commented, “The internet is truly helping to reshape the story of Africa, and Nigerians are some of those taking full advantage of its power.
|”Whether you are in technology, agriculture, energy, fashion, education, or entertainment, if the web has transformed your life, and you believe your venture can be scaled up, then the judging panel is looking forward to hearing your story”.
Categories for entries include Education; Entertainment/Arts/Sports; Technology; Community and NGOs; and Small Businesses. 20 semi-finalists will be selected from initial entries to take part in an interview and to produce a short promotional video. A judging panel made up of Googlers and external judges will then determine the 10 finalists. The 5 winners, in whose lives the web and Google have played a pivotal role, will then be selected by the online voting public. Submissions are open from August 27, 2013 to October 11, 2013. The competition will run until February 2014 when the winners will be announced.
In the next five years, 7 out of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are predicted to be in Africa, and the Internet is playing an important part in this