Orange launches the 4th edition of the Orange African Social Venture Prize
Orange has announced it is launching the 2014 edition of the Orange African Social Venture Prize with a new category, the Orange Partner award to recognise the best project that integrates an Orange application.
The Orange African Social Venture Prize rewards entrepreneurs developing products or services that use ICT in an innovative way to meet the needs of Africans in fields such as health, agriculture, education, energy, industry or trade.
Over the past three years, more than 1,500 projects have been submitted for the Orange African Social Venture Prize reflecting the dynamism of African entrepreneurs and the potential of the telecommunications sector.
Operating in 18 countries in Africa, Orange serves close to 100 million customers. Given the impact that digital services can have on peoples’ daily lives, this presence means that the Group plays an important role in the continent’s economy and its future development.
As a result, one of Orange’s main priorities is to improve connectivity, particularly in rural areas, and to introduce innovative mobile-based services.
To achieve this, the Group supports entrepreneurs, small and middle-sized firms by facilitating access to finance, supporting structures for incubation and giving access to tools for digital development.
Since 2010, Orange is a partner of the CTIC Dakar incubator, a reference in Western Africa in terms of ICT development.
In April 2014, the CIPME Niger incubator, initiated by Orange, opened its doors to start-ups in the fields of ICT, renewable energy and the environment.
The prize will recognize four projects: three projects with grants of 10,000 EUR, 15,000 EUR and 25,000 EUR, and a new special prize of 10,000 EUR will be awarded to the finalist who presents a project using an Orange API.
In addition, the four winners will benefit from a six-month support package from entrepreneurship and ICT experts and, the first prize will be offered a patent submission in the country of the project’s deployment.
Once again this year, internet users can vote online for their favorite project on Orange’s entertainment portal in Africa,www.starafrica.com.
The winner of the "favorite project" will have its project submitted to the jury along with the others finalists shortlisted by the experts and will therefore have the maximum possible chance of being among the top four winners for 2014.
Any entrepreneur (aged 21 or over) or legal entity that has been in existence for fewer than three years at the time of the competition may participate at no cost and with no restriction on nationality.
Submitted projects must be designed to be deployed in at least one of the African countries in which Orange operates and must use information and communications technology in an innovative way to help improve the living conditions of the populations in these countries.
Applications are accepted from May 22 to September 19, 2014 on Orange's pan-African web portal, www.starafrica.com.
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.