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IPA, Africa’s biggest innovators challenge, calls for entries

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The African Innovation Foundation (AIF), a South Africa-based organization that mobilises entrepreneurs and innovators to stimulate African ideas and perspectives, has launched the fourth edition of its annual Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) challenge.

AIF provides a sum of USD 150,000 to innovators who develop market-focused solutions for African-led development. The prize also pushes private equity investors and governments to invest across sectors and build environments contributive to economic growth.

AIF said in a statement that the challenge has enabled and encouraged African innovators to come up with creative concepts and technologies designed to overcome challenges the continent faces.

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AIF and IPA founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais said the prize is a great way of unleashing creativity and promoting growth within the African continent, adding that his organisation is passionate about Africa and its potential.

“But we also recognise that this new generation needs the resources and the opportunities to realise their ambition,” de Morais said, “IPA provides a platform to encourage and harness these entrepreneurial skills in order to help improve the lives of Africans and to help realise untapped potential.

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The challenge is instrumental in facilitating revolutionary ideas and creativity as well as triggering awareness to the outstanding work being done in Africa by Africans.

“Africa needs meaningful investment to alleviate poverty and provide inclusive prosperity. To achieve this, we need to be able to provide environments that promote quality investment for the people and reduce risks. Forums like the IPA are necessary to make the most of the continent’s investment,” said AgriProtein spokesperson, David Drew.

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According to AIF, all innovations are evaluated based on the following criteria: originality, marketability, scalability, social impact and scientific or technical aspects.

The best submission will win a grand prize of US$100,000. The second prize of US$25,000 will be awarded to an innovator with an innovation which has the best commercial and business potential. An additional award is a special prize granted to the innovator whose innovation has the best social impact in the community.

Entries are encouraged in five key categories: Agriculture and Agribusiness, Environment, Energy and Water, Health and Wellbeing, ICT applications, and Manufacturing and Services Industries.Last year, the IPA winner AgriProtein went on to raise $11 million to build its first two commercial farms in Cape Town, AIF stated.

IPA 2014 named Dr Nicolaas Duneas and Mr Nuno Pires from South Africa the winners of the grand Prize and received USD 100’000 for their Altis Osteogenic Bone Matrix (Altis OBM TM), the first inject-able porcine derived BMP medical device in the world — an innovative product for the treatment of bone injuries and voids through the use of a regenerative biological implant.

IPA invites submissions from applicants. The deadline for IPA 2015 application is October 31, 2014.

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