Sixteen companies from across the continent have been shortlisted for this year’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, which offers total prize funding of GBP55,000 (US$71,000) to the most promising entrepreneurial engineers.
The Africa Prize, founded by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering, is dedicated to developing the entrepreneurial skills of engineers. Now in its fifth year, it provides a package of support, including funding, business training, mentoring and access to the academy’s network of engineers.
After seven months of mentoring and training, four finalists will be selected from the shortlist. In June 2019 these finalists will present their businesses to judges in front of a live audience in Kampala, Uganda, after which one winner will receive GBP25,000 (US$32,000), and three runners up will be awarded GBP10,000 (US$13,000) each.
Six of the shortlisted companies are from Kenya, namely e-health platform Chanjoplus, energy company Elo-cart, artisan platform JuaKaliSmart, water harvesting service Majik Water, sign language smart glove Sign-IO, and agri-tech solution Smart Brooder.
Another four are from Nigeria, in the form of industrial food dryer 3-D-3-P, currency exchange platform Kaoshi, e-health company WellNewMe, and ed-tech app Zenafri, while South Africa has two representatives – Pelebox Smart Lockers and the Hybrid five-axis machine tool.
Uganda is also represented by two companies, Smart Havens Africa and the Vertical Farm, with the list completed by Zambia’s Baby Delivery Kits and Burkina Faso’s SolarKoodo.
“The shortlist has come to represent the most talented engineers on the continent,” said judge Rebecca Enonchong. “Through the Africa Prize, we’ve seen cutting edge technologies and world-firsts develop into businesses that manufacture locally, and drive research and development on the continent. We can’t wait to meet the new group of engineering pioneers.”
The two most recent winners of the Africa Prize were Ugandan e-health startup Matibabu and Nigerian tutoring startup Tuteria.