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12 African social enterprises awarded funding from Google

Twelve non-profits and social enterprises from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, were each awarded a share of $2m in grant funding from Google in the first Google Impact Challenge Africa.
The winners receive $250 000 each, while the eight runners up will each receive $125 000. The funding will be allocated in tranches, to be assigned to each enterprise as they reach a set of predefined milestones specific to each venture.

In addition to the funding, the winners and runners up also receive support from Google to reach their goals and meet those milestones.

Google Impact Challenge Africa, a competition to find the most innovative African non-profits and social enterprises using technology to solve societal problems, opened in May to social enterprises in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

Six months ago, the Google Impact Challenge (GIC) asked Kenyan, Nigerian, and South African social innovators for big and bold ideas to drive community impact. It received more than 5,000 submissions across the continent.

Last week, 36 local nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs across Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, stood onstage and pitched their ideas to grow economic opportunity in their countries and beyond to a panel of expert judges. 12 total finalists were selected as winners by the judges and three People’s Choice awardees were announced after more than 200,000 public votes were tallied - the highest in any Impact Challenge globally.

Judging to narrow down the 12 finalists was conducted by a team of Googlers and Google partners with expertise in the sector. Voting was then opened to the public from 8-26 November. On the night, each entrant pitched their enterprise to a judging panel, which voted on the winners. The results of the public vote determined the people’s choice winner.

All the winners:
  • KENYA: Africa prisons Project; Startup Lions; UjuziKilimo.
  • NIGERIA: The Cece Yara Foundation; HelpMum; Project Enable Africa.
  • SOUTH AFRICA: Corruption Watch BUA Mzansi; Gradesmatch; RLabs.

People’s Choice Award:
  • KENYA: Lew Wildlife Conservancy.
  • NIGERIA: Vetsark.
  • SOUTH AFRICA: MeMeZa.

Said Google South Africa public affairs and communications head, Mich Atagana: “Many African innovators are doing great work with real impact and Google is keen to shine a light on their work, and also give a financial boost to their projects and ideas. We believe technology can help local and national organisations to better reach their goals and solve some of the continent’s most pressing challenges, and Google is eager to provide support to individuals and organisations using technology in new ways to make a positive difference.”



Below is more detailed information on the winners:
  • African Prisons Project, Kenya: A charity organisation working in Africa with the goal of bringing dignity and hope to prison inmates by improving access to education, healthcare, justice and reintegration into the community.
  • Corruption Watch BUA Mzanzi, South Africa: An online interactive website to enhance public participation and transparency in policing.
  • Gradesmatch, South Africa: A platform to serve as a comprehensive career guide, designed to map career data for learners, parents and teachers/mentors to help them make well-informed career decisions.
  • HelpMum, Nigeria: Preventing maternal and infant mortality.
  • Lew Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya: Envisions a future where people across Kenya value, protect and benefit from wildlife. This future depends on communities being able to derive their day-to-day livelihoods in ways that are compatible with thriving wildlife habitat.
  • MeMeZa Shout Crime Prevention, South Africa: Bringing safety to vulnerable people through a Public Community Alarm System.
  • Project Enable Africa, Nigeria: A digital inclusion project that promotes the access of persons with disabilities and their caregivers to information and communication.
  • RLabs Zlto, South Africa: A mobile and blockchain platform that tracks and incentivises positive behaviour in youths.
  • Startup Lions, Kenya: An impact sourcing service provider, start-up incubator and co-working space.
  • The Cece Yara Foundation, Nigeria: Working towards creating a safe and happy childhood for every Nigerian child, free from sexual abuse, with easy access to care.
  • UjuziKilimo, Kenya: An agriculture technology company that assists farmers with crop yield optimization through soil analysis and farming recommendations.
  • Vetsark, Nigeria: Alpha Prime Disease Surveillance Technology to predict, prevent and control pests and disease outbreaks.

“Thanks to all of those who applied, took time preparing their proposals and shared ways in which they wanted to impact their communities. Congratulations to the finalists who have made it today. We will be rooting for you and will partner you with Googlers to bring your ideas to life over the coming months.

“We’re inspired by the passion and vision of all of our finalists - and the real work is just beginning. We are excited to partner with these organisations as they dig in to new and innovative projects to make our communities even better,” said Adepoju Abiodun, product marketing manager, Grow with Google.
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