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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Orange launches 4th edition of social venture competition

By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Orange Sierra Leone, one of the leading GSM providers in the country, yesterday, Wednesday, April 6, launched the 4th edition of Orange Social Venture Prize (OSVP) 2021.

Participants with the best innovative ideas will bag home cash prize of Le150 million Leones.

Speaking at the launching event, Head of Public Relations, Annie Wonie Katta, said as a mobile telecoms company, Orange is positioned to be the lead digital partner for startups in Africa and the Middle East, and that was why Orange Middle East and Africa (OMEA) initiated the OSVP 12 years ago.

She said the idea was 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.

The competition is organized annually in all 17 Orange affiliates in Orange Middle East and Africa and the three winners from each of the 17 countries have an opportunity to compete in a grand international contest, in which one out of the 51 contestants emerges as   the winner of 25,000 Euros.

She further stated that Orange Sierra Leone joined the OSVP challenge in 2019, three years after joining the Orange Middle East and Africa  family, noting that they have successfully held three national competitions in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectfully.

“The 2019 winner Aminata Kandeh and the 2020 winner, Bayoh Turay won Le10 million and Le20 million 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 our Orange Digital Centre where he is providing his expertise in coding and mentorship to young aspiring innovators,” she said.

She said last year, they accelerated the tempo of OSVP with the support of their partner, Innovate Sierra Leone, to bring more meaning to the innovation axis and increase empowerment for young startups, innovators, entrepreneurs in the country.

She said out of a total of 128 applicants, Haja Isata Bah of ‘Uman for Uman emerged as the winner in 2021, with a prize of Le100 million to improve her business that is positioned to support women and girls by ensuring availability and affordability of recycled menstrual hygiene pads.

She said 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 in that new category, one Sia Chaywai emerged as the winner with a Le50 million grand prize to support the enhancement of her mobile clinic project.

“This year we are poise to spend a whooping sum of Le150 million for the two categories of the OSVP competition, Le100 million for the general prize and Le50 million for the women’s category.  For the second consecutive year we will continue with the women category and this year we shall go live with a local theme with the catch phrase “Orange Tech Queen,” she said.

She said as a mobile telecoms company, Orange is positioned to be the lead digital partner for startups whilst ensuring that they will transform the lives of young people in Sierra Leone.

She thanked their implementing partner, Innovate Sierra Leone, for their commitment in the innovation ecosystem in Sierra Leone and their contribution to the successful execution of OSVP.

She encourages young entrepreneurs, women as well as men to participate with the best of ideas to ensure Sierra Leone gains a spot in the international contest this year.

Also speaking, the Managing Director of Innovate Sierra Leone, Francis Steven George, said three years ago they started the Orange Social Venture in 2019 and that they have done a lot in identifying and empowering young innovators in the country.

He said the grand rules of this year’s competition are that all participants must be 21 years and above, and that people working for Orange and Innovation Sierra Leone are not qualified to apply.

He said all applicants should have a bank account and that they must apply for the Orange Middle East and Africa Competition.    

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