innovateAFRICA Award for Innovative Media Startups Worldwide (Win USD100,000 Cash Grant + Support Services)

innovateAFRICA Award

Program(s) Offered: Ideas, Media, Journalism
Program Level: Contest / Challenge
Provider: innovativeAFRICA
Country to Study in: Africa

Scholarship Description
innovateAFRICA is a pan-African contest run by Code for Africa that aims to accelerate digital innovation in watchdog media and civic news organisations by funding transformational ideas and then continuing to support them through a network of peers and advisors.

This innovation challenge focuses on journalism and the news media. innovateAFRICA is designed to find and nurture ideas that have the potential to empower ordinary African citizens by transforming journalism and the media industry into more digitally savvy civic watchdogs.

innovateAFRICA is looking for disruptive digital ideas to improve the way that news is collected and disseminated. By digital ideas, we mean tools or strategies that use the Internet, mobile platforms, data-driven journalism, computer-assisted reporting, digitally augmented reality or virtual reality, camera drones or the Internet of Things (sensors), and other electronic means to improve the relevance and impact of news media.

innovateAFRICA is an open and worldwide contest. Anyone, anywhere can therefore apply – as long as they have an African partner to help with implementation.

There is no other age or geographic restriction.

The competition is open to nonprofits, for-profits or individuals of any age, anywhere in the world. Awards to minors will be made to an intermediary designated by innovateAFRICA.

Selection Criteria:
  • Your ideas should be focused on providing pragmatic solutions to real-world challenges facing Africa’s media.
  • Your innovation should fall into any of four broad categories: news gathering; storytelling; audience engagement; or the business of news.
Eligible groups
Citizens of ALL countries

Contest Categories
Within the four broad categories mentioned above, innovateAFRICA is specifically interested in ideas that seek to achieve one or more of the following goals:
  • Platforms: Strengthen existing media platforms, or harness new digital platforms to engage audiences and transmit news or other journalistic content.
  • Delivery: Improve the way news reaches audiences, from traditional circulation / airtime management to newer disruptive ‘cross platform’ channels.
  • Context: Amplify the usefulness of news by harnessing geo-location, or by improving the immediacy, depth and accuracy of journalistic content.
  • Reach: Enhance the impact and “shelf life” of news by extending its influence and intrinsic value for both audiences and content services
  • Targeting: Deepen media’s understanding of its audiences and markets by improving user analytics, audience profiling and market segmentation.
  • Sustainability: Boost the media’s resource base by diversifying business models, developing new revenue streams or improving operational efficiencies.
Contest benefits
The total purse for prizes is $1 million.

Winners will receive more than just cash grants. They will also receive a combination of technical advice and software development support from Code for Africa’s affiliate technology labs across the continent, along with business and editorial mentorship from industry experts at CFI, the Media Development Investment Fund and the Global Editors Network (GEN), and additional support for winners to market their innovations to a wider African and world audience.

Once winners have produced working prototypes and proof-of-concept for their ideas, they will be given the opportunity to showcase their innovations to venture capitalist funds for possible additional investment.

Winners will receive cash grants of between $12,500 and $100,000, depending on the potential impact and the operational requirements of the project. Each project’s operational requirements will be spelled out in a detailed budget that shortlisted finalists will be required to file in the 2nd phase of judging. Finalists will receive feedback from innovateAFRICA’s technical review panel to help them develop this budget and a related business plan.

CFI, the Media Development Investment Fund and the Global Editors Network (GEN) will provide winners with one-on-one mentorship and technical advice from some of the world’s leading media strategists.

The innovateAFRICA grants that winners receive will function as seed capital for innovators to kickstart their projects.

Method of Application
The only place you can apply is on the official innovateAFRICA website. We will not accept faxes, posted applications, hand deliveries or other channels. All you need to do is answer the 7 questions on the form. Brevity counts. Any supporting media, videos, links to prototypes, etc, can be included with the post, but are not required.

It is important to read the Contest Rules, and also to visit the official website (link below) for detailed information on how to apply for this scholarship.

Applications for the innovateAFRICA Award Contest open 1st September, 2016. The deadline for submissions is December 01, 2016 (midnight – Central African Time)

No late submissions will be accepted. innovateAFRICA will contact semi-finalists for additional information, including a detailed budget, by mid-December.

Finalists will be announced on 20th January, 2017. And Winners announced on 31st January, 2017.

Code for Africa, or CfAfrica, is the lead organisation driving innovateAFRICA. CfAfrica is not a run-of-the-mill NGO or donor organisation. It is an umbrella federation of country-based civic technology and data journalism laboratories, that use digital tools to build digital democracies. CfAfrica’s affiliates use technology to give citizens timely and unfettered access to actionable information that empowers them to make informed decisions and that strengthens civic engagement for improved public governance and accountability.

Application Deadline: 1 December 2016
Open to International Applicants: Yes

More Scholarship Information and Application

Related: Contests and Challenges for International Applicants

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