By Princewill Ekwujuru
Two entrepreneurs from the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Alumni, Help Mum and Project Enable Africa, have won $250,000 each out of the $2million prize money at the just ended Google ‘Impact Challenge Africa’ in Lagos.
The programme is a competition to find the most innovative African non-profits and social enterprises using technology to solve societal problems, which opened in May 2018 with more than 5,000 (Five thousand) entries received in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
The project that won Help Mum the grant was the use of mobile technology to provide clean birth kits to ensure that pregnant women are given the best possible care during delivery, irrespective of where they live.
For Project Enable Africa, it deployed digital inclusion that promotes the access of persons with disabilities and their caregivers to Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills and opportunities.
Speaking, Google Country Director in Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, stated: “Many African innovators are doing great work with real impact and Google is keen to shine a light on their work, and also give a financial boost to their projects and ideas.
“We believe technology can help local and national organisations to better reach their goals and solve some of the continent’s most pressing challenges, and Google is eager to provide support to individuals and organisations using technology in new ways to make a positive difference.”
A statement from TEF stated: “This is big considering the global impacts and recognition this gives to the winners. It also a testament to the efficacy of the programme and the impacts being made by the entrepreneurs.
“For the first time both entrepreneurs are winning grants. They pitched perfect and won the hearts of all the judges.”
Twelve non-profits and social enterprises were to share $2million in the grant funding. Three out of four winners were chosen by the judges, which include – The Cece Yara Foundation, Help Mum and Project Enable Africa while the final winner chosen by the general public was Vetsark.
All the four winners received $250 000 each, while the eight runners up receive $125 000 each.
The funding will be allocated in tranches, to be assigned to each enterprise as they reach a set of predefined milestones specific to each venture. In addition to the funding, the winners and runners up also receive support from Google to reach their goals and meet those milestones.
Judges on the panel include Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, Channels Media Group John Momoh, Chairman/CEO; Mrs. Parminder Vir, Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu Foundation; Chief Executive Officer of Chocolate City Music Group, MI Abaga; Executive Director of Nigeria Network of
Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) Oluseyi Oyebisi; Managing General Partner, EchoVC Partners Eghosa Omoigui and Google Nigeria’s Country Director Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor.