MTN, Jumia to launch pan-African entrepreneurship challenge

Mobile networks operator MTN and online shopping destination Jumia are launching the MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge. Participants will be competing for a US$25 000 cash prize for their startup idea.

The event will be targeting more than 60 universities in 13 countries across Africa when students will be tasked with developing unique digital applications or smart solutions to a tangible problem faced in Africa.

“We believe inspiration of new business leaders in Africa and their enablement to success, will be key drivers for the future rapid evolution of a broader start-up culture on the continent,” says Herman Singh, MTN’s group chief digital officer.

He goes on to say, “This is an environment already teeming with excellent potential and we hope to assist in accelerating its further growth and to raise MTN’s role in creating new businesses in Africa.”

Read more: Investors’ roadshow to showcase African talent, adventures

Applicants will be judged by campus captains, which will consist of successful entrepreneurs. The shortlisted teams will move onto a live pitching event at their respective universities, which will take place from 1 to 8 April. Thereafter, five semi-finalists will be selected.

The finalists will be announced on 16 April. They will attend the entrepreneurship festival on 27 May hosted by the University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of Business, where they will pitch to a room full of entrepreneurs, investors, judges, media, and more. The winner will be announced thereafter.

Along with the cash prize, the winner will receive a year-long partnership with Jumia. This will allow them to work from any of Jumia’s offices on the continent and tap into the company’s network of entrepreneurs for mentoring.

In addition, the winners will have access to a Facebook Start Program valued at US$15 000 and the option to work from the MTN Solution Space at the UCT’s Graduate School of Business.

The runner ups will each receive US$5 000 towards their projects.

Read more: MTN, UCT’s Graduate School of Business whip up R15m innovation deal

“This competition will contribute to building a stronger and more sustainable business environment across Africa. Its main goal is to boost and fuel African entrepreneurship by enabling young and smart entrepreneurs to kick off with their own projects. The key for us is to give full and adapted support to young talents, from funding to mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs,” says Bankole Cardoso, Head of Communications from Jumia.

“Africa is a continent of promise, and our aim with the MTN Solution Space has always been to help fulfil this promise by developing uniquely African solutions,” says Sarah-Anne Arnold, Manager of the MTN Solution Space.

Applications for the MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge open today and will close on 27 March. Aspiring entrepreneurs interested in participating can sign up through the University of Cape Town website.



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