A few weeks ago we wrote about the three Nigerian finalists who were in the Google’s Africa Connected competition. Today we felt it better to have the whole list of finalists and the judges who have been working so hard behind the secenes ti make the competion a success.
Today, voting has began for the five successful winners from among the ten finalists who will be selected by the online voting public.
The winners will take home $25,000 each, and will also have the opportunity to work with a Google sponsor over a six-month period to further their online business success. The competition categories included Education; Entertainment/Arts/Sports; Technology; Community and NGOs; and Small Businesses. Nigeria leads with three finalists while Kenya has two.
Launched in August last year, Africa Connected calls entrepreneurs, creatives, innovators and web-lovers to share stories of how the web has transformed their lives and work. The 10 finalists were selected by a panel of judges from over 2,200 entries from 35 countries. They include:
A.k.a. Vocal Slender is a musician who used YouTube to distribute his content and Google+ to interact with his fans. His music and online popularity have led him to become earn a living from concerts and appearances. He uses his earnings to raise awareness about underprivileged youngsters in the slums of Lagos where he comes from, thereby providing financial aid for the scholars and encouraging school attendance.
Odiete runs Hesey Designs, a women’s apparel and accessories line with pieces ranging from handmade accessories to shoes, slippers, journals, bags, purses and jewelries, all inspired by the African culture. Eseoghene used Google Products to promote her brand as a young entrepreneur, creating international awareness for her fashion label. She now runs workshops to train other women how to generate an income from designing fashion accessories.
An initiator of Ashake Foundation. Mayowa initially used YouTube to post an appeal in order to raise funds for her initiative, a business school for widowed mothers, giving them the tools to make a living and support their families. Because of the getting online she is helping to change lives and give the people who need it a second chance in life.
Steve Kyenze, Kenya, Uweza Slum Gallery.
Steve uses Google Search to inspire underprivileged kids through art and helps to improve their skills, so that they can sell their artwork to support their schooling.
Sitawa Wafula, Kenya, My Mind, My Funk
Sitawa is an influential blogger on mental health in East Africa, who has used Google Blogger to establish her award winning blog, which is a reference point for people looking for support and information.
Eunice Namirembe, Uganda, The Medical Concierge Group
Eunice has built a 24-hour accessible ambulance call centre to improve access to health care services, by using the Google API dashboard and Google Maps to record patient information and track patient locations.
Lamine Mbengue, Senegal, SenegalTV
Lamine believes in taking African culture to the rest of the world, and that the Internet is the lifeblood to support his mission. YouTube and AdSense has helped SenegalTV to share their unique content around the world while enabling him to employ others.
Timothy Maguire, South Africa, Grace Communion International
Timothy uses Google Translate while providing humanitarian relief in Portuguese speaking northern Mozambique, so that he can communicate with project members building water purification plants. He also uses Google Search and Google Maps which assists with projects in remote locations.
Nqobizitha Mlilo, Zimbabwe, Nafuna TV
Nqobizitha uses YouTube to post all his new animation and HD video content on his channel to reach a wide audience. He is self-taught, based on information found with Google Search. He is now able to give people in his home country and beyond an alternative form of entertainment not found on traditional channels.
Christopher Panford, Ghana, Technol Services
Christopher uses Google Maps in his vehicle tracking devices to record the location of their vehicles at any point in time. This gives local banks the confidence to provide loans to drivers, thus providing them with a means to earn a living.
You can go to Africaconnected.comto vote for any finalist. Winners will be announced on 1st April at an event in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Africa Connected judges included:
- Adiel A. Akplogan, CEO, African Network Information Centre (AfriNIC), Mauritius
- Nardos Bekele Thomas, Resident Coordinator, United Nations Development Program, Kenya
- Dr. Towela Nyirenda Jere, Programmes Manager, NEPAD e-Africa Programme, New Partnerships for African Development (NEPAD), South Africa
- Temilola Balogun, Radio personality, fashion photographer and artist, Cool FM, Nigeria
- Adv. Leslie Sedibe, CEO, Proudly South African, South Africa
- Wallace Kantai, Editor, NTV, Nation Media Group, Kenya
- Franklin Leonard, Founder, The Black List, USA
- MI Abaga, Artist and UN Ambassador, Chocolate City Music, Nigeria
- Ory Okolloh, Director of Investments, Omidyar Network, South Africa
- Doha Marzouk, Head, Marketing, Sub-Saharan Africa, Google, Egypt