POESAM 2020: 10 years of supporting responsible innovation


Every year for the past 10 years, the Orange Social Venture Prize has rewarded start-ups making a concrete social or environmental impact. This anniversary edition shows that the ongoing health and economic crisis is not undermining the agility and disruptive spirit of these entrepreneurs. Here’s an update on the 2020 competition and next steps. 

Responsible innovation, a priority now more than ever

Since 2011, the Orange Social Venture Prize Africa and Middle East (POESAM) has encouraged entrepreneurs who innovate to meet social or environmental needs. With 1,300 applications received to date, it’s clear this entrepreneurial spirit has not been crushed despite the turbulent times and global health crisis. The projects presented specifically target the health and education sectors, with many e-health and EdTech solutions put forward.

The 10th Social Venture Prize has also highlighted gender equality, with 23% of projects led by women. Over the past few years, Africa has become the leading continent for female entrepreneurship (opens in a new window), where digital technology represents a powerful driver of inclusion and women’s liberation.

Agriculture, the environment and e-commerce are also key topics in terms of innovation, with start-ups proposing concrete solutions that benefit as many people as possible. Orange is committed to supporting socio-economic development in Africa along with social and environmental innovation and entrepreneurship.

The winners are on the final straight!

During the first phase of the competition between March and June 2020, the 17 Orange subsidiaries[1] taking part studied the applications received in their country, selecting up to 3 winners. In total, around 40 national winners were put forward. The next step is for an international jury made up of representatives from the Orange start-up ecosystem, as well as some of the Group’s partners, to meet and decide the overall international winners of POESAM 2020. This International Grand Prix will go to three winners who will receive €10,000, €15 000 and €25 000. There is also an International Women’s Prize of €20,000 and a special 10-year Anniversary Prize of €10,000. Winners will also receive support from experts and Orange partners over the next six months.

What’s more, taking part in POESAM can help entrepreneurs access other Group support networks depending on the start-up’s degree of maturity and requirements, whether acceleration (Orange Fab network and incubators in Africa), financing via Orange Ventures, workspaces or resources (Orange Digital Centers, Villa Bonne Nouvelle, etc), visibility at events or taking part in hackathons. Ultimately, some will go on to collaborate with Orange or one of its entities more closely.

After the initial national competition, in which 41 national winners were chosen, 18 finalists were selected for the international competition and their business projects were studied carefully by an international jury.

Please join us at AfricaCom, the largest tech event on the African continent, to discover our overall 2020 OSVP winners and celebrate our 10th anniversary! The virtual awards ceremony promises to be full of surprises and will be chaired by Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East & Africa and Elisabeth Tchoungui, Group Executive Director CSR, Diversity and Philanthropy and Deputy Chair of the Orange Foundation. Save the date for Monday 9 November at 1.40 pm French time (2.40 pm CAT).

Without further ado, here are our 18 finalists

The International Grand Prix

  • Akhili – Tunisia – Health

A mental health telephone phone service which aims to be an effective alternative to a physical appointment.

  • Andao Share – Madagascar – Crowdfunding

A crowdfunding platform that connects nonprofits directly with individual or corporate donors.

  • ElleSolaire – Senegal – Solutions for women

ElleSolaire recruits women in rural areas, trains them and offers them income-generating opportunities in the solar technology sector.

  • Lore&Heart – Tunisia – E-commerce

An online sales platform promoting Tunisian artisans and designers to an international market.

  • MyVirtualPlanning – DRC – Health

A mobile app that enables young people to access specialists in sexual and reproductive health.

  • PipPipYalah – Morocco – Transport

An inter-city carpooling application.

  • Saley – Guinea Conakry – Health

An application that lists pharmacies and available stock. 

  • Teliman – Mali – Transport

The first on-demand taxi-moto service in Mali, connecting urban commuters with professional drivers.

  • Tôtô Riibo – Burkina Faso – Solutions for women

A service delivering food made by talented female chefs to corporate employees.

  • Weeglo – Liberia – Education

A multi-platform learning solution that provides low-cost access to quality education.

International Women’s Prize

  • Ahmini – Payment – Tunisia

A payment platform that makes it easier for women in rural Tunisia to access social security and healthcare.

  • Cherished Kidz – Botswana – Solutions for women

A mobile app that allows working mothers to organise fully secure school transport for their children.

  • MyVirtualPlanning – DRC – Health

A mobile app that enables young people to access specialists in sexual and reproductive health.

  • Crowdfunding platform – Cameroon – Solutions for women

A digital platform that connects women and entrepreneurs who wish to become financially independent.

  • Social Peace – Burkina Faso – Solutions for women

A support service for female victims of violence based on their individual needs.

Special 10th Anniversary Prize

  • Accessible Jordan – Jordan – Other

A guide for tourist destinations accessible to people with reduced mobility in Jordan.

  • SOBATIC – Burkina Faso – Other

An organisation that designs, supplies and teaches people to use IT tools that are adapted for people with visual impairments.

  • We_Via – Cameroon – Other

Connected glasses and cane that enable people with visual impairments to “see” and become less vulnerable and dependent on the people around them. 

POESAM 2020 in 5 key figures

  • 17 countries take part in POESAM
  • 1,300 applications
  • 41 national winners 
  • 23% of projects are led by or benefit women
  • 5 prizes awarded:
    • International Prize:
      • 1st prize: €25,000
      • 2nd prize: €15,000
      • 3rd prize: €10,000
    • International Women’s Prize:
      • €20,000
    • Special 10th Anniversary Prize:
      • €10,000

[1] Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Jordan, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tunisia.