By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Orange Telecom Sierra Leone, last Thursday, September 2, ended their 4th edition of Orange Social Venture Prize with two winners taking home Le100, 000 and Le50, 000 each.
At the event which was held at the Orange Head Office, Hill Station in Freetown, one of the winners, Osman Yaah, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Auto-Smart Irrigation and Energy Company, emerged as the grand winner of the 2022 OSVP with NLe100, 000, while Adeola Carew, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Safe Space Sierra Leone, won the Orange Tech Queen prize of NL50, 000.
The Orange Social Venture Prize is an entrepreneurship program that supports innovative business ideas from young people in Sierra Leone. The programme, which was launched in 2019 in Sierra Leone by Orange, is also being implemented in 19 countries in Africa and in the Middle East.
Osman Yaah pitched his farm watering innovation business idea that will help facilitates a simple and easy way of watering farms and gardens and boost farming and harvest.
According to him, farming is the only way to address food sufficiency in Sierra Leone and the world at large, stating that farmers in Sierra Leone are finding it difficult to continue farming because the manual way of watering their farms is tedious.
He said he farm watering innovation will help solve that problem and that his system can be operated manually or electronically by the use of mobile phone.
He said his Auto-Smart Irrigation is a locally made solution that helps farmers to carry out year-round cultivation even during the dry season.
He said his innovation can help the country to achieve food security and end hunger and that it can water any size of farmland, no matter how big it is.
Winner of Orange Queen Prize, Adeola Carew, pitched her online business idea that aims at breaking Sierra Leone’s culture of silence on reproductive issues and creating a community in which people feel safe to share their problems without fear of stigma or shame.
She said there was limited information about Sexual reproductive health, teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality in the country, but that she believes that if they use technology, it will be easy to access information on sexual reproductive matters.
In his opening statement, Chief Executive Officer of Orange Sierra Leone, Sekou Amadou Bah, said Orange Social Venture Prize is a lead digital partner for start-ups in Africa and the in the Middle East.
He said the programme was meant to reward best innovative technological projects with positive impact and solutions to social challenges in areas including education, health, agriculture, mobile payment for sustainable development in Africa and the Middle East, adding that they will continue to impact the lives of people.
He said OVSP has become a household name and a reference partner in ICT development and start-ups, and that in 2021, they included an additional prize to increase female participation and to promote projects offering a technological solution to improve the lives and conditions of women.
“The pitch session today is part of Orange’s innovation strategy which is committed to providing financial support and putting expertise in the development of new businesses using ICT,” he said.