IBM has announced its annual SmartCamp Competition for tech-entrepreneurs from Africa. The winner will claim a position in the regional finals of IBM’s Global Entrepreneur of the Year by successfully pitching their unique technology business idea to a panel of industry experts.

“IBM SmartCamps are one aspect of IBM’s Global Entrepreneur initiative, designed to stimulate innovation and build skills for startups from around the world that are building new technologies to tackle some of the world’s really pressing issues,” says Clayton Booysen, Ecosystem Development Leader for IBM.

IBM SmartCamps events are designed to spark innovation and help startups companies bring technologies that address a broad socio economic need get to market faster.

The events are staged in more than 40 different locations around the world, bringing together investors, mentors and entrepreneurs. Winners receive mentoring, access to industry experts and technology, and deeper partnership opportunities from IBM, venture capital firms and industry partners.

IBM has engaged with more than 1 500 startups to bring new technologies to market. In that time, IBM has accepted more than 1 000 startups into the Global Entrepreneur Programme. In Africa, the IBM Global Entrepreneurial Initiative has been gaining significant momentum and the programme currently enjoys more than 50 partners in development in the three years since it was launched.

“We are focused on build relationships with quality startups, helping them accelerate their go to market quickly and cost effectively, and ensuring a sustainable and profitable business model. Companies like MoDE, MySmartFarm and GoMetro are the hallmark of the intent of the programme,” says Booysen.

In Africa the IBM SmartCamps are conducted within the Tech4Africa Conference and participants present their innovative businesses aligned with IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy to an accomplished panel of judges. This year IBM is the Entrepreneur Partner to Tech4Africa 2014, and the SmartCamp events scheduled to intended to draw maximum awareness and interest for Africa’s budding innovations.

“IBM is accelerating its focus and commitment to the entrepreneurial community. Our success with launching the IBM Global Entrepreneur initiative in 2010, and helping launch hundreds of new businesses in key areas such as green energy, health care and transportation shows how when we provide our technology portfolio and bring our 120,000-strong business partner ecosystem to bear we can help their technology get ready for market.”

Startups who participate in IBM’s Global Entrepreneur initiative receive access to free software, as well as a team of dedicated project managers to assist in product development through the global network of 40 IBM Innovation Centres.