African female innovators will once again come under the spotlight as Africa prepares for the World Economic Forum on Africa, which is scheduled to take place in May this year. Following the success of the search last year, this will be the second annual search for Africa’s next generation of top female technology innovators and entrepreneurs.
“We want Africa’s top female tech entrepreneurs to join us so we can celebrate them as role models and so they can help governments and policymakers create conditions for others to flourish,” said Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum.
Who can apply?
According to a statement from the World Economic Forum, the search is open to any female entrepreneur whose business is less than three years old, uses innovative technology or business models, and has at least one year of revenue generation. The business must also be able to demonstrate social and economic potential.
Currently, Africa has the youngest population in the world and this is expected to double by 2045. In view of this, several global leaders have attested to the fact that Africa’s future lies in the hands of its youthful population. Africa’s startup businesses are gaining confidence and scale with a growing number of innovations achieving recognition beyond its borders. However, a lot still has to be done in order to create an enabling environment that will allow women to flourish. Due to this setback, the World Economic Forum decided to run this competition to find Africa’s top female innovators especially as the potential of women entrepreneurs is far from optimum.
A panel of experts will select these innovators from Africa’s “brightest and best,” and they will be invited to participate in the forum at Durban South Africa.
Last year the organisation presented five winners at the forum. These winners were selected from the areas of mobile health insurance, solar powered vending carts, biomedical materials, and IT training, as well as food processing. These winners hail from Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.
“Africa’s best prospects for inclusive growth lie in its ability to tap into its vast pool of entrepreneurial talent,” said Elsie Kanza.
The 2017 World Economic Forum on Africa will take place on 3-5 May 2017 in Durban, South Africa, with the theme Achieving Inclusive Growth. Application for the challenge has started and it is not limited to individuals occupying the technology space.
Participants that are interested can enter the challenge on behalf of themselves or others and the closing date is Monday 17 April.