Startups and innovators from the sub-Saharan region can now register for the Ericsson Innovation Awards (EIA) that will see one of them walk away with USD 10,000. The global version of the EIA will be launched later in the year.
The theme of this year’s competition is “The Future of Food” and will give participants, both in the regional and global competition, an opportunity to develop as well as showcase innovative ideas to impact an industry in the region.
EIA sub-Saharan Africa is open to students and small businesses from within the region with a limit of four people per participating team. All participants in the regional competition, who meet the global criteria, are automatically entered into the EIA global competition. After registrations close on October 31, 10 semi-finalists will be selected by the Ericsson jury from the online entries. One winner will then be chosen by Ericsson and external jury members and announced at a cocktail event at the Cape Town Convention Centre on November 15. This winning team will also showcase their innovative solution to a crowd of industry experts at this event.
At the moment, food scarcity is becoming a real concern to the world as it is estimated that the population of the world is expected to reach 2 billion people by 2050. Africa is facing a decline in food production, a situation that the continent has grappled with since the 1960s. Ironically, most Africans are involved in the agricultural sector.
Innovative ICT solutions are becoming important for farm management, food development, storage and distribution. With a growing population and untapped arable lands in sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture and food industries are ripe for disruptive innovation.
Jean-Claude Geha, Head of Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa, says: “Ericsson has always been a leading advocate for the positive role ICT can play in each one of the Sustainable Development Goals. Our theme for this year could directly impact the second goal of “No Hunger” by using ICT to create solutions that might enhance production, distribution, access to market information or even the final consumer experience in securing fresh or processed foods. With this competition, we seek to empower ideas that will change the future of the food industry as we know it – while opening doors for small innovative companies to a larger regional market. We are excited to see what this year’s Ericsson Innovation Awards has instore.”
This competition is part of Ericsson’s activities at the Ericsson AHUB at AfricaCom to identifying and empower budding innovators in the region.