Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2015 now open – USD 150,000 in prizes for continent’s brightest innovators to accelerate Africa’s development.
Deadline for Applications: 31 October 2014, 23.59h GMT
The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) is delighted to announce the call for the 2015
Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) applications. The IPA honours and encourages innovative
achievements that contribute toward developing new products, increasing efficiency or
saving cost in Africa. The prize also promotes among young African men and women the
pursuit of science, technology and engineering careers as well as business opportunities
with potential of contributing to sustainable development in Africa.
It is important to note that: the IPA is differentiated from other prizes by assessing both
hi-tech versus low-tech innovations and tangible products versus intangible social processes
on the same plane. This provides an opportunity for innovators from a wide spectrum of
educational and social backgrounds to compete at the same level and the only determining
success factor in all instances is how the innovations are assessed on the key indicators set
out in Section 3 of the Selection Criteria below.
The IPA is focused on:
• Mobilizing leaders from all sectors to fuel African innovation
• Promoting innovation across Africa in key sectors through the competition
• Promoting science, technology and engineering as a rewarding career path among
• Encouraging entrepreneurs, innovators, funding bodies and business development
service providers to exchange ideas and explore innovative business opportunities.
The IPA anticipates contributing to the following outcomes:
• Increased commercialization of research and development (R&D) outputs in Africa
• Increased funding of start-ups, adoption of new and emerging technologies and
accelerated growth of an innovative and dynamic private sector; and
Increased economic activity and African led development that results in lasting
• A strong African innovation ecosystem
1. IPA 2015 PRIORITY AREAS
The 2015 IPA recognizes innovative breakthroughs that unlock new African potential in the
following five priority areas: agriculture and agribusiness; environment, energy and water;
health and well-being; ICTs and manufacturing and service industry. Details are provided
If you have an innovation in a different thematic area and you feel you would like to submit
your application, please indicate and contact the IPA Secretariat.
Innovations that have demonstrated a lead in the agricultural sector, particularly, value
added at specific points of the agricultural value-chain. It is about providing new ways to
ensure a food-secure future for the African continent and the world. The innovation could
be about commercial and market-oriented farming as well as small-scale and subsistence
• Environment, Energy and Water
Innovations that have demonstrated a lead in developing or applying cost-effective, smart
renewable energy generation processes, cleaner water supply systems etc. It is about
the way we adapt to climate challenges and steward our natural resources to impact the
inheritance we leave to the future generations of Africans.
• Health and Wellbeing
Innovations that have demonstrated high impact or potential in improving the physical,
mental, and social well-being of individuals or communities, through prevention, treatment
etc. It is about finding new treatments, cures and approaches that ensure longer, happier
and healthier lives. This might include the development and use of traditional and modern
medicines, improved sanitation, hygiene and treating or preventing the major diseases faced by the continent.
• Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs)
Innovative ICTs applications that have demonstrated their potential in addressing key
development challenges in African societies (e.g. in communities) or economy, including:
software, mobile/wireless technologies and local language software. It is about developing
new solutions that address everyday challenges that help Africans live and work more
• Manufacturing and Service Industry
Innovations that have demonstrated a lead on addressing the key pillars of innovation in
production technology/industry: creating high added-value, greener, more customer focused
and/or high quality products; manufacturing more with less input materials, using lowest
energy and creating fewest or zero waste. It is about helping people across the continent
literally build better lives.
2. APPLICATION GUIDELINES
You should consider submitting your application if you are an African entrepreneur,
academic or inventor with an innovation that could potentially provide an African solution
to some of the continent’s every day challenges. Below are specific guidelines on who can
apply and how to apply:
• Eligible innovations MUST be by Africans for Africa. Africans in the Diaspora can
also apply if their innovations are of significance for Africa.
• A fully completed application form with a full description of the innovation must
accompany each submission; otherwise the entry will be disqualified.
• The innovation description should clearly illustrate the social and/or economic
outcome and impact with regard to African development and the priority area
chosen, and should be in line with the IPA assessment and selection criteria.
• Application forms and description of the innovation should be in English, French or
Portuguese. While the innovations can be conducted in any language including local
languages, the submissions should be translated into English, French or Portuguese.
• Applicants are required to attach a letter of support/endorsement from an institution
or an authority with knowledge of their innovation. This will serve as a testimony
of how important the innovation is in addressing development challenges faced by
• Each mandatory question on the application form MUST be answered or the
application will be deemed incomplete and disqualified.
• There is no application fee.
3. CRITERIA FOR SELECTION
In the overall assessment of winning applications, the winners are established with
• The uniqueness of their innovations and superiority to similar or alternative solutions;
• The size and nature of positive social impact that can be attributed to application of
• The potential of the innovation to become a commercial success.
In arriving at an assessment of the application, the Selection Panel will evaluate a submitted
innovation against the following five criteria:
The following are the five criteria to be considered:
1. Originality: The uniqueness of the product and its superiority in comparison with
similar or alternative products in the market;
2. Marketability: The extent to which the innovation sufficiently addresses the problem
it seeks to solve at a price or model that is accessible to the target market;
3. Scalability: The extent to which the solution can be easily applied to other similar
markets beyond the applicant’s immediate or local environment;
4. Social impact: The ability of the innovation to create or effect positive or desirable
changes within the target community and beyond;
5. Scientific/technical aspects: For tangible technical/scientific products; this refers to
extent to which the technical/scientific specifications of the innovation are grounded
on established science and sufficiently address any anticipated product risks.
The 2015 IPA will consist of three Prizes, which will be given following the criteria outlined
• First Prize (USD 100.000): This prize will be awarded to the innovator with the
overall best innovation that meets all the above mentioned IPA criteria and has clear
• Second Prize (USD 25,000): This prize will be given to the selected innovator
with a commercially driven innovation. Beyond the aforementioned five criteria, this
category of Award will be carefully assessed on its marketability potential and will be
awarded to the innovation with the best commercial/business potential.
• Special Prize for Social Impact Innovation (USD 25,000): This category of
award will be assessed carefully on its particular social impact in the community/
country and will be awarded to the innovation with the best social impact.
• Finalists: The top-10 finalists shall be invited for face-to-face interviews and to the
award ceremony. All finalists will receive certificates. In addition, the AIF will also
provide in-kind support to each finalist up to a maximum of USD 5,000 in post-prize
technical support to assist in moving the innovation to the next step. Media coverage
and additional support might also be mobilized for the finalists.
Be at at Tech Hub to meet the director of IPA and learn more