Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa 2021

Apply to receive 250,000 EUR in grants, intensive training in our Innovation Bootcamp and hands-on support from a strong network of mentors, investors and business partners. Dates for submissions will be announced in July 2021.

The Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa seeks to raise awareness for an entrepreneurial continent full of opportunities and honour the late Kofi Annan’s legacy and commitment to a more just and equitable world. The vision of the Award was born out of the “High-Level Forum Africa-Europe: taking cooperation to the digital age” hosted by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and President Kagame in the framework of Austria’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2018. The Forum highlighted the significant impact African entrepreneurs achieve in many areas such as health, education and agriculture through innovative digital solutions. Against this background, the Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa wants to recognize social entrepreneurs and purpose-driven enterprises with a measurable social impact and sustainable business model and spark interest among European investors in order to help them scale up their innovative businesses, advance their digital solutions and boost their impact. The award should recognize the impact along the lines of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The focus of the first award edition will be on SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being.

The Austrian Federal Chancellery, together with the Kofi Annan Foundation, will invite entrepreneurial start-ups with a proven business model and a demonstrated social impact to submit their business plans in order to bring their impact to scale and benefit as many Africans as possible. It will be operationally supported by the WFP Innovation Accelerator and the Austrian Development Agency.

The award winners will benefit from grants of €250,000 each as well as the WFP Innovation Accelerator’s 12-month acceleration programme with access to mentorship and support by a global network of partners.  The three award winners will be selected by a jury from a short-list of 9 teams after an intensive 5-day Innovation Bootcamp, where their solutions will be challenged and further developed with the support of technical, financial & industry experts. Finalists will not only profit from prominent international exposure, but also from access to our strong network of supporting mentors, investors and business partners.

The Kofi Annan Award High-level Jury will be chaired by Mr. Elhadj As Sy, Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation and former IFRC Secretary General, and Dr. Antonella Mei-Pochtler, Special Advisor to the Austrian Federal Chancellor and Head of the Strategy Unit "Think Austria”, and a selected number of personalities with a proven track-record in furthering social entrepreneurship in the spirit of the SDGs.

Beyond the core programme, the partners will establish a Kofi Annan Award Support Network, a community of passionate engaged supporters of the African European cooperation  who share the responsibility to help innovators change the African reality for the better. By bringing participants together with a community of business mentors, corporate executives, investors, financial institutions and industry experts, we help social entrepreneurs get access to the right resources at the right time.

What we offer

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Social Enterprises that are accepted to the Innovation Bootcamp will have the opportunity to pitch to a high-level jury that will determine which 3 teams will each receive a grant of 250,000 EUR from the Austrian Development Agency.

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Finalists will gain international recognition and exposure.

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9 social enterprises will be accepted to participate in a fully virtual WFP Innovation Bootcamp, where they will benefit from the chance to work with technical and industry experts, who will provide guidance to further develop and refine their solutions.

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Selected teams will be able to connect with an entrepreneur ecosystem and leverage a strong network of mentors, investors and business to accelerate implementation.

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The 3 winning teams will additionally benefit from the WFP Sprint Programme, a 12-month acceleration programme with access to mentorship, knowledge management and WFP’s global network of partners.

How it works

1 Source: A Panafrican call for innovations is launched and promoted be international and regaional partners. 2 Boost: 9 Teams are invited to take part in an innovation bootcamp and pitch to a jury panel. 3 Award: The 3 teams with highest potential are awarded 250.000 EUR. Winners are presented at a prestigiuos public event. 4 Accelerate: The 3 winning teams ventures receive support throught 12 months to build the foundations for growth.

How we select innovations

how we select

Innovations will be evaluated and selected according to the following criteria: 
1. Impact & Scalability: The idea has the potential to positively impact the health and wellbeing of a specific population. 
2. Business Model: the project has a scalable product/service with sustainable revenue generation and scalable financial model. 
3. Team: The team members have relevant experience, are committed to the project and ability to implement the solution. 
4. Innovativeness: The idea is a new technology, the approach of applying existing technology, process or business model addressing a problem. 
5. Traction: The innovation has shown demonstrable results in terms revenue, customers, investments, or grants.