Ericsson has opened registration for the regional and global Ericsson Innovation Awards (EIA) competitions. For the first time, students and small businesses in sub-Saharan Africa can now enter both the global (exclusive to students) and regional contests, to win the cash prizes of EUR 25,000 (Sh2.9M) and EUR 9,000 (Sh1M) respectively.
The theme for both competitions is the future of city life and gives entrants an opportunity to develop innovative ideas in collaboration with Ericsson experts.
By 2050, about 70 percent of the world’s population is expected to reside in urban areas and smart cities are a major opportunity to improve the lives of billions of people. The competition is, therefore, focused on ideas that use ICT to improve the quality of urban life and to ensure that tomorrow’s cities are creative, connected and sustainable places to live and work.
The regional competition, EIA sub-Saharan Africa, is open to students and small business from within the region with a limit of four people per team. After registrations close for the regional competition on October 30, 2015.
10 semi-finalists will be selected by the Ericsson jury from the online entries. These semi-finalists will present their ideas to the Ericsson and external jury. Based on their presentation, four teams will be chosen to go to Cape Town for the final round.
In Cape Town, the finalist teams will again present to the Ericsson and external jury and the winner will be announced 18 November at the Cape Town Convention Centre at 17:00. This competition is part of Ericsson’s activities at the Ericsson AHUB at AfricaCom to identify and empower budding innovators in the region.
The winning team will receive a cash prize of EUR 9,000, with a second-place prize of EUR 1,800 plus an android tablet/phone, and a third prize of EUR 1,200 plus an android tablet/phone.
The global competition, EIA 2016 is open to teams of two to four people. All current students are eligible to enter. After registration closes on November 30, 2015, 10 semi-finalists will be announced on December 18, 2015. Nine of the semi-finalists will be selected by an Ericsson jury, with the remaining place assigned by a public vote.
The 10 teams will each work with two selected Ericsson experts to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) and business plan for their idea. Four teams will be chosen by the jury to participate in the EIA 2016 grand final in Stockholm, Sweden.
The winning team will receive a cash prize of EUR 25,000, with a second-place prize of EUR 15,000 and two runners-up prizes of EUR 1,000 each. Career-enhancing incentives are also on offer for students in both competitions: all participants will be invited to apply for Ericsson opportunities, and semi-finalists will be interviewed for internship or full-time positions.
Both contests will be judged independently and by different panels with neither outcome affecting the other. However, participants can enter either competition to be eligible for both. Please note, participants who miss the regional entry deadline of October 30, are still eligible to enter the global contest till November 30.
“In the future, everyone and everything will be connected. Ericsson’s role is to drive this transformation, opening up new ways to innovate, to collaborate and to empower people, business and society. These contests are a stage where the brightest minds, in our region and globally, are empowered to innovate and contribute to the transformation of city life,” said Tumi Chamayou, Vice President and Head Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa.