Applicants wanted for the 2016 Innovation Prize for Africa
Organisers of the most prestigious business award in African are calling for innovators from across the continent to submit their ideas for the 2016 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) competition.
The IPA is an initiative of the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) that was established in 2011. It aims to mobilize African innovators and entrepreneurs by providing US$ 150 000 for market-oriented solutions that support African-led development.
The AIF seeks to acknowledge the successes of African innovators and entrepreneurs; each nominee will receive a $5,000 voucher to aid with the further development of their innovations.
This year’s IPA has the theme of "Made in Africa" which is in line with AIF’s mission to catalyse innovation in Africa using market-based methods, which is also an extension of its motto: by Africans, for Africa.
Pauline Mujawamariya, IPA Director, said: "It's all about Made in Africa now. Our dream is to see this competition grow, and with it, strengthen Africa’s innovation ecosystem. IPA 2016 marks bold new steps towards mobilizing all innovation enablers to join hands and ensure that African innovations make it to the markets”
Winning the award entails a cash investment sum of $820 000, but the IPA program has done more than enrich its top plyers; it has engaged, inspired and transformed more than 3000 entrepreneurs across the continent, supporting more than 35 star innovators operating across 49 countries.
The events brings together innovators from a range of fields, including science and technology, environment and energy, agri-business, health and well-being, the manufacturing and service industry, as well as the ICT sector.
This year’s applications must be in before the 31st of October 2015.
Source: [Business Ghana]
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.