The 2024 RAE Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation
The RAE Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is a prestigious biennial award for engineering innovators in Africa, identifying the successful application of engineering solutions to tackle public health or social challenges in any of the 54 African countries. The objective of the Award is to encourage and acknowledge emerging young African talent, assist them in further developing their projects and advance and promote engineering innovation throughout Africa. The Award is given to the winner at the RAE Africa Engineering Innovation Forum and consists of a cash prize and/or technical/mentorship support.
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation was established in March 2014 to promote, celebrate and reward innovation and entrepreneurship across sub-Saharan Africa.
Since then it has given invaluable training, mentoring, and communications support to 134 businesses across 23 countries. It also has an established alumni program with 71% of Africa Prize alumni currently generating revenue. Our alumni have also raised $14 million in grants and equity.
In November 2023, the Africa Prize will welcome its tenth class. Since 2014, the program has given rigorous business training and ongoing support through the Africa Prize alumni network to more than 130 entrepreneurs in 20 different African countries. More than 70% of the alumni’s engineering and tech companies are currently profitable. Together, the graduates of the Africa Prize have raised more than USD 14 million in grants and equity funds and established over 3,600 jobs, with nearly half of them going to women.
ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS FOR THE 2024 RAE AFRICA PRIZE FOR ENGINEERING INNOVATION
- The application must be written in English.
- The applicant must have a high level of English language proficiency in order to participate fully in the programme as this is conducted entirely in English.
- The lead applicant must be over the age of 18 as of when applications close on 25 July 2023. There is no upper age limit.
- Previous shortlist members or winners are not eligible to participate in the programme again, nor is anyone who was involved in their team or innovation.
- Applicants can apply as an individual or as part of a team.
- The lead applicant must be a citizen of a country in sub-Saharan Africa. For teams of two or more, the lead applicant (the person participating in training) must be a citizen of a country in sub-Saharan Africa.
- The lead applicant must be ordinarily based in sub-Saharan Africa, if based overseas, this must be temporary for studies or otherwise.
- The innovation must be based in a country in sub-Saharan Africa.
- The lead applicant must have an engineering innovation, although they are not required to be an engineering graduate or student to apply.
- The lead applicant must provide a letter of support from a university, research institution, innovation hub, or previous incubator programme. This can be as simple as stating that an individual studied at or was involved with that institution. If applicants are not affiliated with any organization, another document proving the status of their organization or innovation, such as a document of incorporation or patent certificate, may be used.
- Industrial researchers and establishments are not eligible.
- The innovation can be any new product, technology, or service, based on research in engineering defined in its broadest sense to encompass a wide range of fields. This includes but is not limited to agricultural technology, biotechnology, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, design engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, ICT, materials science, mechanical engineering, and medical engineering. If you are in any doubt that your area of expertise would be considered as engineering, kindly contact the Academy to discuss your application.
- The lead applicant must provide a letter of consent from the originators/collaborators of the IP to this innovation, where relevant.
- The lead applicant must provide a technical diagram and photo that showcases the technical aspects of the innovation as part of their application.
- Applicants should have developed, and be in the early stages of commercializing, an engineering innovation that:
- Will bring social and/or environmental benefits to a country/countries in sub-Saharan Africa
- Has strong potential to be replicated and scaled-up
- Is accompanied by an ambitious but realistic business plan that has strong commercial viability.
- If the business is mainly based on developing innovative hardware, then applicants should:
- Have built one or more working prototypes that prove the technical concept and performance
- Have evolved the design ready for initial commercial production
- Have realistic cost and schedule estimates for the manufacture
- Have clear evidence that an early version of their innovation is generating traction with a sufficient number of prospective customers to underpin initial revenues and profitability
- If the business is primarily software/app-based, then applicants should:
- Have developed a minimum viable product with demonstrable functionality
- Have clear evidence that the minimum viable product is generating traction with a sufficient number of prospective customers to underpin forecasts for initial revenues and profitability.
For the purposes of the programme, the Academy’s definition of sub-Saharan Africa includes all countries defined by the African Union within Central, East, Southern, and West Africa. These are Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, eSwatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
The Africa Prize provides a unique benefits package for up to 16 shortlisted participants to help accelerate their business including:
- Access to business and technical expertise and sector-specific engineering mentoring.
- Bespoke press coverage and communications support.
- Eight-month tailored training programme.
- Access to the Academy’s network of high-profile engineers and business experts in the UK and Africa.
- The opportunity for finalists to present their innovation to a judging panel at the Africa Prize showcase event.
- Prize money of up to £25,000.
Application Deadline: July 25, 2023