Orange Social Venture Prize: the winners
Orange announced the winners of the 2016 Orange Social Venture Prize for Africa and the Middle East during the AfricaCom awards ceremony held in Cape Town, South Africa, last night. The prize aims to encourage start-ups in Africa to launch innovative projects that promote development.
For the sixth year in a row, the Orange Group is recognising four innovative projects that further development within the region. The objective is to stimulate entrepreneurs' initiatives that use new technologies to meet the needs of people in Africa and the Middle East.
The three prize-winners received grants of €25,000, €15,000 and €10,000, and the winner of the Special Prize for Cultural Content received €5,000. In addition, the shortlisted finalists and the winner of the Special Prize for Cultural Content will benefit from six months of support from Orange experts and the NGO Grow Movement. The first prize winner will also be offered a patent registration.
Bruno Mettling, CEO of Orange MEA, said: "With nearly 3,500 projects filed since 2011, the Orange Social Venture prize has grown into a huge success; the 750 candidate projects that were submitted in 2016 amply illustrate this. The start-up ecosystem now increasingly recognizes Orange as an indispensable partner that is able to support their development: 95 percent of the winning start-ups since the award’s inception are still growing today. I thank them for their confidence."
First prize - MedTrucks, Morocco
MedTrucks was created to support patients and healthcare professionals through the deployment of mobile care units in “medical deserts” in Morocco and other emerging countries. These hyper-connected trucks, that are fully equipped for all essential medical needs and can rely on tele-medicine tools if necessary, aim to fill a blank in these isolated areas by providing care at the right time and the right place. MedTrucks is developing a variety of services including real-time cartography and tracking that will help optimize care service delivery to patients, as well as a medical online training platform for professionals.
Second prize - Nanoé, Madagascar
Nanoé’s ambition is to deploy a new kind of electrification system, known as “lateral electrification”, in order to meet the short-term needs of remote populations that do not have access to the main energy grid. Nanoé seeks to offer rapid, flexible and affordable access to electricity, while participating in the construction of a cutting-edge power infrastructure that is low carbon, decentralized, collaborative and smart. Nanoé’s project also includes a major training platform designed for future local-level operators.
Third prize - Ma Tontine, Senegal
MaTontine seeks to solve the problem of how to provide financial services, including the provision of small loans, to the poor. It is based on a traditional, non-digital system, called the Tontine (in French), that enables the organization of rotating savings and credit schemes across a small group of people (colleagues, friends, neighbors, etc.). The innovation is to build a digital platform that automates this whole process and incorporates a credit-scoring system in order to facilitate small loans and other financial services such as micro-insurance based on the credit score of the group members.
The Special Prize for Cultural Content - Bulles Magazine, Côte d’Ivoire
Bulles Magazine is a monthly magazine for 6 to 10-year old children that promotes African culture. Available in digital and paper versions, Bulles Magazine will be accessible throughout the Francophone world and beyond. The originality of this project lies in the fact that Bulles Magazine will tell children the story of the kings and queens who ruled the African continent long ago. Each month, children will read about African heroes of the past but also contemporary heroes such as renowned inventors from Africa. Designed in a highly colourful and illustrated format, the paper and digital versions of the magazine will facilitate its distribution across Francophone countries.
Finally, a “favourite project” was also selected by web users on the Entrepreneur Club portal:
Over 80,457 visitors out of a total of 390,000 voted for the Egyptian project FoodoGraphy, a food-waste management platform that facilitates cooperation between food providers - such as hotels, restaurants, conference malls, etc. - and charities.
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.