Four African innovators selected for engineering innovation prize

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African innovationFour African innovators selected for engineering innovation prize

Published 4 May 2015

Following an open, competitive, application process which saw entries from fifteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa, twelve African entrepreneurs were chosen to receive a package of six months of business training and mentoring from the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering. The four finalists showing the greatest promise have now been chosen, and are in with a chance to become the overall winner. Each will receive at least £10,000 with the grand prize of £25,000 to be awarded at a ceremony in Cape Town on 1 June. A low-cost sustainable water filter system to provide clean and safe drinking water, and a service that allows African mobile phone users to switch easily between multiple mobile networks are among the four African innovations selected by the Academy.

A low-cost sustainable water filter system to provide clean and safe drinking water, and a service that allows African mobile phone users to switch easily between multiple mobile networks are among the four African innovations selected by the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering (RAENG)to receive up to £25,000 of funding for its first Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.

Following an open, competitive, application process which saw entries from fifteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa, twelve African entrepreneurs were chosen to receive a package of six months of business training and mentoring from the Academy. The four finalists showing the greatest promise have now been chosen, and are in with a chance to become the overall winner. Each will receive at least £10,000 with the grand prize of £25,000 to be awarded at a ceremony in Cape Town on 1 June.

A RAENG release reports that the prize was established to highlight the importance of engineering in improving quality of life, economic development, and to celebrate innovation. Still in its first year, the prize is already Africa’s biggest award for engineering innovation, covering all disciplines from mechanical, civil and computing to biomedical, oil and gas, mining, and electronic engineering. Applications for 2015-16 have opened last week for engineers living and working in sub-Saharan Africa. Details on applying can be found on the Academy’s Web site.

Chair of the Africa Prize judging panel Malcolm Brinded, CBE FREng, said: “Engineering is vitally important to social and economic development across Africa and internationally. Following six months of training and money-can’t-buy mentoring from engineering and business leaders, all twelve entrepreneurs involved have benefitted enormously from the prize, with the four finalists showing particular promise.”

Africa Prize judge Stephen Dawson, a venture capitalist and chairman of Jacana Partners in the United Kingdom, said: “The four finalists represent a good cross-section of African engineering talent. They are each from different fields, operating in very different markets and are at different stages of their commercial development. One is already making significant sales, while others will soon be bringing their product to market.”

The Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is supported by the Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund, Consolidated Contractors Company, ConocoPhillips and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

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