MTN, Jumia partner on Entrepreneurship Challenge

African entrepreneurs are invited to bring their best ideas to the MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge.

MTN is a South Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company. Partnering with MTN on the challenge is online shopping site Jumia.

Contestants for the event have been sought from 60 universities and 13 nations in Africa. These competitors are challenged to develop a digital application or smart solution to solve a specific challenge present in Africa.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with Jumia to launch the entrepreneurship challenge," Sarah-Anne Arnold, manager of MTN Solution Space, said. "Africa is a continent of promise, and our aim with the MTN Solution Space has always been to help fulfill this promise by developing uniquely African solutions. We believe that the entrepreneurship challenge is a key element of this. The response and willingness from universities across Africa to collaborate on this initiative has been truly remarkable and certainly exemplifies the impact of collective efforts to foster entrepreneurship among our next generation of business leaders.”

MTN Chief Digital Officer Herman Singh agreed.

“The Entrepreneurship Challenge is strongly aligned to MTN’s own entrepreneurial culture and history as well as our values as a business," Singh said. "We believe in the inspiration of new business leaders in Africa and their enablement to success will be key drivers for the future rapid evolution of a broader start-up culture on the continent. This is an environment already teeming with excellent potential and we hope to assist in accelerating its further growth and to raise MTN’s role in creating new businesses in Africa.”

Applications for the first round of the multi-phased competition are available now at www.gsb.uct.ac.za/MTNECbyJumia. The deadline for submission is March 27. From all applicants, a shortlist will be compiled, and those teams will move on to the live pitching phase, which will take place April 1 to April 8.

Five finalists will then be chosen and announced by April 16. Finalists will attend the Entrepreneurship Festival, hosted at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business in South Africa, on May 27.

At the festival, the finalists will give pitches for an audience of thousands. After their pitches, the winner, who will be awarded with $25,000 to fund their start-up and a year-long partnership with Jumia, will be announced.

The winner will also receive a Facebook Start Program and the chance to work from the MTN Solution Space at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.

Two runners-up will receive $5,000 in start-up funding.

“Jumia is proud to unveil a new dimension of MTN partnership both aiming at promoting youth unemployment and fostering entrepreneurship," Fatoumata Ba, managing director for Jumia Nigeria, said. "We take pride in building and harnessing potentials not only to create successful business leaders but also to ultimately improve the whole ecosystem through direct job creations. MTN EC by Jumia will propel young talents to feats across Africa by creating a seamless platform for teeming Africa youths to kick-start their projects; which is one of several key initiatives to give back to the community.”

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