Search engine giant, Google last night in Lagos-Nigeria announced the winners of the first Google Impact Challenge, where twelve non-profits and social enterprises were each awarded a share of $2m in grant funding.
Three out of four winners were chosen by the judges, they include – The Cece Yara Foundation, HelpMum, Project Enable Africa and the final winner chosen by the general public was Vetsark. All four winners will receive $250 000 each, while the eight runners up will each receive $125 000. The funding will be allocated in tranches, to be assigned to each enterprise as they reach a set of predefined milestones specific to each venture. In addition to the funding, the winners and runners up also receive support from Google to reach their goals and meet those milestones.
Google Impact Challenge Africa, a competition to find the most innovative African non-profits and social enterprises using technology to solve societal problems, opened in May and more than 5,000 (Five thousand) entries were received in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
Judging to narrow down the 12 finalists was conducted by a team of Googlers and Google partners with expertise in the sector. Voting was then opened to the public from 8 to 26 November. On the night, each entrant pitched their enterprise to a judging panel, which voted on the winners. The results of the public vote determined the people’s choice winner.
Judges on the night included Chairman CEO Channels media group John Momoh, chairman/CEO;
Mrs. Parminder Vir, Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu Foundation; Rapper, CEO of Chocolate City Music Group, MI Abaga; Philanthropist and Executive Director of Nigeria Network of
NGOs Oluseyi Oyebisi; Managing General Partner, EchoVC Partners Eghosa Omoigui and Google Nigeria’s Country Director Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor.
Says Google Country Director in Nigeria; Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, “Many African innovators are doing great work with real impact and Google is keen to shine a light on their work, and also give a financial boost to their projects and ideas. We believe technology can help local and national organisations to better reach their goals and solve some of the continent’s most pressing challenges, and Google is eager to provide support to individuals and organisations using technology in new ways to make a positive difference.”
Below is more detailed information on the four winners and eight runners up:
- Vetsark – It is planning to launch Alpha Prime Disease Surveillance Technology to predict, prevent, and control pests and disease outbreaks in Nigeria to protect crops and livestock.
- The Cece Yara Foundation – It established the first toll-free child helpline and child advocacy centre in Nigeria and aims to connect victims with professional services through the web, SMS, and mobile apps.
- HelpMum – Using mobile technology, HelpMum provides clean birth kits to ensure that pregnant women are given the best possible care during delivery, irrespective of where they live.
- Project Enable Africa – This digital inclusion project promotes the access of people with disabilities and their caregivers to ICT skills and opportunities.