The Royal Academy of Engineering has recently announced that the applications for the 2024 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation are now open! Certainly, this is a significant milestone as the Academy celebrates 10 years of recognizing and supporting engineering innovators in Africa.
Rewarding Solutions to Local Challenges
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is a prestigious award that acknowledges and supports talented African entrepreneurs who are developing engineering solutions to local challenges. Presently, the prize offers a unique package of support to up to 16 shortlisted applicants. The prize includes mentoring, training, and access to a lifelong alumni network. The winner receives £25,000, and three runners-up are each awarded £10,000.
Over the past decade, the Royal Academy of Engineering has supported over 130 entrepreneurs across 20 African countries. Significantly, more than 70% of the alumni’s engineering and technology businesses now generate revenue. This has resulted in the creation of over 3,600 jobs, with almost half of them being for women. At this time, the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation alumni have raised over USD 14 million in grants and equity funding.
Searching for African Innovators
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is searching for innovators who are developing scalable engineering solutions to local challenges. Also required is an ambitious but realistic business plan that has strong commercial viability. Applicants should however be in the early stages of commercializing their engineering innovation. The solution should have strong potential for replication and scaling up. Additionally, the innovation should bring social and/or environmental benefits to a country or countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It should be based in, and benefit, a country in sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, the innovation can be any new product, technology, or service based on research in any field of engineering.
Aligned with STISA
It is aligned with the Science, Technology, and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA). This prize contributes towards the African Union’s goal of promoting scientific and technological innovation and advancing Africa’s sustainable development. Most importantly, innovation promotion and initiatives like the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation are crucial to Africa’s development. Africa must embrace these initiatives to tackle its challenges. Poverty, food insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, and inadequate access to quality healthcare and education hold Africa back. By addressing these challenges, innovation creates new social and economic opportunities, expanding the economy, and providing solutions for environmental concerns. The essence is to create jobs and improve the lives of millions of people. Not just through the development of new products, services or technologies. But also by developing new practices and processes.
Initiatives like the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation are essential. They provide funding, mentorship, and support to early-stage innovators in Africa. Innovators can develop their ideas, scale their businesses, and bring their products and services to the market. It can also help to build a network of innovators and entrepreneurs who can share knowledge, resources, and expertise.
The deadline for applications is 25 July 2023, and entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply via
If you know any talented African innovators in your network, please share this opportunity with them. Together, we can continue to drive innovation and create positive change in Africa.
Author: Jide Awe
Science, Technology and Innovation policy advisor.
Find him on Twitter @jidaw