Ericsson has opened registration for the sub-Saharan edition of the competition Ericsson Innovation Awards (EIA).
Innovators and start-ups from across the region can enter the regional contest to win USD 10,000. The global EIA competition, with the same theme, will be launched later this year.
This year, the theme is “The Future of Food” giving participants an opportunity to develop and showcase innovative ideas that would impact an industry with great potential in the region.
Food scarcity is a rising global concern particularly important to sub-Saharan Africa. While it is estimated that there will be 2-billion people on the continent by 2050, Africa’s agricultural production has decreased since the 1960s – despite most of the continent’s population being involved in the agricultural sector.
Today, innovative ICT solutions are increasingly being used in 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 in store.”
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.
This competition is part of Ericsson’s activities at the Ericsson AHUB at AfricaCom to identifying and empower budding innovators in the region.