The Africa Prize will welcome its ninth class in November 2023. Since 2014, the program has provided rigorous business training and continuing assistance to over 130 entrepreneurs from 20 different African countries through the Africa Prize alumni network. More than 70% of the alumni’s engineering and technology businesses are profitable. The Africa Prize graduates have raised more than USD 14 million in grants and equity funds and created over 3,600 jobs, with nearly half of them going to women.
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation was launched in March 2014 to stimulate, celebrate and reward innovation and entrepreneurship across sub-Saharan Africa.
Since then it has provided invaluable training, mentoring and communications support to 134 businesses across 23 countries. It also has an established alumni programme with 71% of Africa Prize alumni currently generating revenue. Our alumni have also raised $14 million in grants and equity.
Benefits of RAE Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation
The Africa Prize offers a unique benefits package for up to 16 shortlisted participants to help accelerate their business including:
- Access to business and technical expertise and sector specific engineering mentoring.
- Bespoke press coverage and communications support.
- Eight month tailored training programme.
- Access to the Academy’s network of high profile engineers and business experts in the UK and Africa.
- The opportunity for finalists to present their innovation to a judging panel at the Africa Prize showcase event.
- Prize money of up to £25,000.
Requirements for RAE Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation Qualification
- The application must be written in English.
- The applicant must have a high level of English language proficiency in order to participate fully in the programme as this is conducted entirely in English.
- The lead applicant must be over the age of 18 when applications close on 25 July 2023. There is no upper age limit.
- Previous shortlist members or winners are not eligible to participate in the programme again, nor is anyone who was involved in their team or innovation.
- Applicants can apply as an individual or as part of a team.
- The lead applicant must be a citizen of a country in sub-Saharan Africa*. For teams of two or more, the lead applicant (the person participating in training) must be a citizen of a country in sub-Saharan Africa*.
- The lead applicant must be ordinarily based in sub-Saharan Africa*; if based overseas, this must be temporary for studies or otherwise.
- The innovation must be based in a country in sub-Saharan Africa*.
- The lead applicant must have an engineering innovation, although they are not required to be an engineering graduate or student to apply.
- The lead applicant must provide a letter of support from a university, research institution, innovation hub or previous incubator programme. This can be as simple as stating that an individual studied at or was involved with that institution. If applicants are not affiliated with any organisation, another document proving the status of their organisation or innovation, such as a document of incorporation or patent certificate, may be used.
- Industrial researchers and establishments are not eligible.
- The innovation can be any new product, technology or service, based on research in engineering defined in its broadest sense to encompass a wide range of fields. This includes but is not limited to: agricultural technology, biotechnology, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, design engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, ICT, materials science, mechanical engineering, and medical engineering. If you are in any doubt that your area of expertise would be considered as engineering, please contact the Academy to discuss your application.
- The lead applicant must provide a letter of consent from the originators/collaborators of the IP to this innovation, where relevant.
- The lead applicant must provide a technical diagram and photo that showcases the technical aspects of the innovation as part of their application.
- Applicants should have developed, and be in the early stages of commercialising, an engineering innovation that:
- Will bring social and/or environmental benefits to a country/countries in sub-Saharan Africa*
- Has strong potential to be replicated and scaled-up
- Is accompanied by an ambitious but realistic business plan that has strong commercial viability.
- If the business is mainly based on developing innovative hardware, then applicants should:
- Have built one or more working prototypes that prove the technical concept and performance
- Have evolved the design ready for initial commercial production
- Have realistic cost and schedule estimates for manufacture
- Have clear evidence that an early version of their innovation is generating traction with a sufficient number of prospective customers to underpin for initial revenues and profitability
- If the business is primarily software/app based, then applicants should:
- Have developed a minimum viable product with demonstravle functionality
- Have clear evidence that the minimum viable product is generating traction with a sufficient number of prospective customers to underpin forecasts for initial revenues and profitability.
* For the purposes of the programme, the Academy’s definition of sub-Saharan Africa includes all countries defined by the African Union within Central, East, Southern, and West Africa. These are: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, eSwatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
How To Apply
Interested and qualified? Go to Royal Academy of Engineering on www.grants.raeng.org.uk to apply
For more details, visit RAE website on http://africaprize.raeng.org.uk/about-the-prize/how-to-apply