The Africa Innovation Foundation’s initiative, Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), was started in 2011 and has had over 2000 innovators from 48 countries taking part. The IPA has now opened for 2015 and promises to support African led innovation past the 500,000 US dollars mark.
“At the African Innovation Foundation we are passionate about Africa and its potential, that we firmly believe will be led by empowering a new generation of African innovators and entrepreneurs. But we also recognise that this new generation needs the resources and the opportunities to realise their ambition,” said Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, founder of the foundation and IPA.
He added that the IPA has become an integral means of unleashing creativity and ground-breaking thinking in Africa as well as creating an awareness of the work being done in Africa by Africans.
In 2013, South African firm, Agriprotein won the IPA and went on to raise 11 million US dollars to build two commercial farms in Cape Town. David Drew, spokesperson for the group said that forums like teh IPA are important for investment in Africa.
“Africa needs meaningful investment to alleviate poverty and provide inclusive prosperity. To achieve this, we need to be able to provide environments that promote quality investment for the people and reduce risks. Forums like the IPA are necessary to make the most of the continent’s investment,” said Drew.
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The best submission is awarded a prize of 100,000 US dollars with the second prize at 25,000 US dollars. An additional award is also granted to the innovator with the best social impact in their community.
“Recognising home grown innovative ingenuity, the prize contributes to increased funding of start-ups, adoption of new and emerging technologies and accelerated growth of the private sector. With ever changing economic and social environments, it is critical that proposed solutions tackle issues affecting African lives, and that they are effective and are different from the existing ones,” said IPA in a statement.
In 2014, IPA awarded South Africans Dr Nicolaas Duneas and Nuno Pires first prize for their Altis Osteogenic Bone Matrix (Altis OBM TM), a company which specialises in the research and development of osteogenic biomaterials used in skeletal regeneration in man.