5 Elements of a Winning Application for IPA 2016

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) is excited about the 5th edition of its Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), which focuses on promoting its “Made in Africa” brand with the main goal of identifying, rewarding and showcasing the best African home-grown solutions. Beyond the total cash of US$ 150’000 given to three winners with the best innovations, AIF has lined up more incentives for the participants including:

  • A voucher of US$5’000 for each of the seven nominees
  • Support to 10 women innovators
  • Support to 10 young innovators under 26
  • Invitation to participate in an AIF Design “Do-Tank” workshop to help speed up the products to the market
  • Invitation to be a part of AIF’s growing network of innovators and innovation enablers

If you plan to participate in IPA 2016 and want to win, check out the following key elements we look for in a winning application. As you might know, the IPA selection process is rigorous, so be sure to keep in mind the following 5 elements that could make you the next IPA winner!

  • Eligibility: Because IPA is only for Africans, apply only if you are an African living on the continent or in the diaspora
  • Stage: While we encourage anyone to apply, it is impossible to evaluate an innovation at an idea stage. Many people have ideas, and what distinguishes true innovators from the average pool is that potential innovations can be tested and translated into products. At very least, a concept must have been developed to demonstrate how the idea works.
  • Problem: IPA is targeting innovators who propose innovative solutions to serious African problems. So make sure you identify and define the problem you are trying to solve, and do your homework to find out whether that problem is seen as a serious problem for Africans
  • Solution: Now that you have identified the problem, explain clearly, in a layman’s language how your proposed solution (innovation) works. Tell us if your solution is a breakthrough (no similar solutions exist), or if you have competitors who are proposing alternative solutions to the same problem. In case alternative solutions exist, briefly highlight the difference between your solution and the existing ones and explain why yours is better. It helps if you provide facts which can be verified by experts. Lastly, we want to know whether there is a market for your solution, how viable it would be commercially, as well as your strategy to ensure the sustainability of your venture.
  • Superiority: At this stage of the competition, only the best few entries remain and we compare all of them in order to choose the best, who become the winners. For each one, we want to know: if the proposed solution is solving a bigger problem in comparison to other innovations remaining in the competition; the size in terms of numbers of those benefitting from the proposed innovation in comparison to other innovations in the competition; which among the remaining innovations is more commercially viable; which innovation is most likely to have a greater, more positive impact. Lastly, we want to know which innovators have what it takes to make their ventures successful, and have a passion for innovation by Africans for Africa – an essential element for a good IPA ambassador.

Apply today and stand a chance to win your share of US$150’000 and much more! Also, do not wait for the last minute to submit your entry because those who submit their entries earlier receive feedback and are given an opportunity to revise and resubmit their entries if deemed necessary.

The deadline for IPA 2016 is 31 October 2015 at 24:00GMT. Learn more here http://innovationprizeforafrica.org/apply-now/. For general inquiries on IPA, email us at ipainfo@africaninnovation.org


By Pauline Mujawamariya, IPA Director ; p.mujawamariya@africaninnovation.org