With Le150M at Stake…. Orange SL Welcomes Applications for 4th Edition of Orange Social Venture

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By Millicent Senava Mannah

As part of their efforts in trying to promote local innovation for development, sustainability and business development growth geared towards transforming the lives of young innovators in the country, one of Sierra Leone’s leading mobile companies in the country, Orange Sierra Leone in partnership with Innovative Sierra Leone has on Wednesday 6th April, 2022 launched the 4th edition of the Orange Social Venture Prize in Sierra Leone and 12th edition in Africa and the Middle East during an auspicious event held at the company’s headquarters on Hill Station in Freetown.

In her address, the Head of Public Relations, Orange SL, Annie Wonnie Katta stated how they are pleased to launch the 4th Edition of Orange Social Venture Prize (OSVP) in Sierra Leone, adding that as a mobile telecoms company Orange is positioned to be the lead digital partner for startups in Africa and the Middle East furthering that is why Orange Middle East & Africa (OMEA) initiated OSVP 12 years ago to reward the best technological projects with positive impact and solution to social challenges mainly in the fields of education, health, agriculture, mobile payments or sustainable development in Africa and the Middle East.

She disclosed that the competition is organized annually in all 17 Orange affiliates in OMEA and that the three winners from each of the 17 countries gets an opportunity to compete in a grand international contest were 1 out of the 51 contestants emerges as the winner adding that the International winner will bag a whooping sum of 25 thousand Euros.

“Orange Sierra Leone joined the OSVP challenge in 2019 three years after joining the OMEA family. We have successfully held three national competitions in 2019, 2020 & 2021 respectively. The 2019 winner Aminata Kandeh and the 2020 winner, Bayoh Turay won 10 million and 20 million Leones respectively to support the growth of their businesses. Today Aminata is a proud owner of a thriving Agro-Fish farm in Bo while Bayoh Turay is now gainfully employed by Orange as a trainer in the  Orange Digital Centre where he is providing his expertise in coding and mentorship to young aspiring innovators,” she informed the audience.

The Head of Public Relations stated that in 2021 they accelerated the tempo of OSVP with the support of their Partner, Innovation Sierra Leone to bring more meaning to the innovation axis and increase empowerment for young startups/innovators/entrepreneurs in the country, continuing that out of a total of 128 applicants, Haja Isata Bah of ‘Uman for Uman’ emerged as the Winner of 2021, with a prize of 100million Leones to improve her business that is positioned to support women and girls by ensuring availability and affordability of recycled menstrual hygiene pads.

She continued that also in 2021, they introduced an additional prize to increase female participation and to promote projects offering a technological solution to improve the living conditions of women and that in that new category; Sia Chaywai emerged as the winner with a 50 million Leones grand prize to support the enhancement of her mobile clinic project.

Annie disclosed that this year they are poised to spend a whopping 150 million Leones for the 2 categories of the OSVP competition, 100 million Leones for the general prize and 50 million Leones for the women’s category and that for the second consecutive year they will continue with the women category and this year they shall go live with a local theme with the catch phrase, “Orange Tech Queen”.

She informed all that application for both categories are now open and that all interested candidates are encouraged to submit their applications until May 27, on both website addresses for the national and international competition. The websites are: https://poesam.orange.com and locally on http://osvp2022.innosl.com.

The Managing Director of Innovation Sierra Leone, Francis Steven George, said the partnership is to identify, support, and promote digital talents, instigators for change in digital marketing.

He maintained that the competition is open to both male and female, continuing that persons affiliated to both parties are not eligible to apply.

Francis furthered that participants must be at least 21 years old adding that for ideas or post revenue the companies must not be more than 3 years old at the launch date of the competition.

“Innovators who are not yet entrepreneurs are eligible to participate but entrepreneurs whose businesses have existed for more than three years are NOT eligible to participate.” He stated.

The 2019 winner, Aminata Kandeh proud owner of a thriving Agro-Fish farm in Bo said she is grateful to Orange SL for making her dream become a reality and for their constant support in the development of her business.

The 2021 winner, Haja Isata Bah of ‘Uman for Uman’ said she is grateful to Orange SL as she used the money she won to  improve her business that is positioned to support women and girls by ensuring availability and affordability of recycled menstrual hygiene pads.

It must be noted that the competition has two stages of which one is the National Stage and applicants must submit their applications via website http://osvp2022.innosl.combetween March and late May 2022. When this stage is completed, a jury with representatives from Orange’s start-up ecosystem will meet in each subsidiary to choose 3 national winners (per subsidiary) who will qualify for the international stage.

The International stage projects the 3 winners from each subsidiary to be reviewed by an evaluation committee made up of group employees. They will select 10 finalists following their evaluation. A final jury of African tech influencers will choose the 3 winners of the POESAM International Grand Prize in October.

As equal opportunities are a crucial aspect of Orange policy, the International Women’s Prize will be awarded for the 3rd year running. Supported by Orange Group Diversity and Inclusion, this €20,000 prize will either go to a project managed by a woman, or to a project offering a technological solution to improve the living conditions of women (women’s independence, creating or maintaining jobs, data collection on gender, digital and financial inclusion, etc.).

 

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