East and West African SMEs call for “SME Empowerment Innovation Challenge” application submission
HiiL Innovating Justice, together with the Global Agenda Council on Justice and the Ford Foundation have partnered on a new pioneering new endeavor to accelerate justice ventures in East and West Africa, a challenge geared towards finding and strengthening new initiatives that can empower startups and SMEs.
“Innovating Justice challenge” seeks to award the best innovations as well as address regulatory hurdles and bureaucratic red tape faced by youth-led startups in East and West Africa in what will see winners of the SME Empowerment Innovation Challenge win up to $70,000 in seed funding.
Suffocated SMEs vitality
SMEs are vital engines of economic growth and employment throughout the world. They can give new generations much needed opportunities and enable a more equitable and sustainable development. But their potential is all too often obstructed.
Across boundaries, SMEs suffer common obstacles some of them being; Harsh regulations, insecurity, high levels of taxation and corruption. In some places it is practically impossible for local businesses to flourish because of lengthy and costly procedures to set up a business, obtain the necessary licenses or meet international standards .The innovation challenge for East and West Africa is therefore looking to alleviate such problems and propel Africa’s growth and development.
The obstacles to setting up, and scaling up SMEs can be found around the developing world, but in some regions, the potential for progress is particularly striking. The potential in East and West Africa definitely warrants closer attention.
Nigeria is a case in point. Whereas the Nigerian population is growing at a fast pace compared to most other regions in the world, one would be hard pressed to make the argument that there are fair, equal opportunities for Nigerian entrepreneurs. They not only struggle to compete with vested business interests within Nigeria, but also with their counterparts in other (more competitive) countries.
HiiL Innovating Justice together with the partners have emphasized on their determination to unlock the potential of East and West African SMEs by finding and empowering the governance and justice innovations they need.
Uniqueness: How innovative is your idea? What is your unique selling proposition?
Scalability: Is there potential for scaling-up? Locally, regionally, internationally?
Sustainability: Is the innovation financially sustainable? Is it commercially viable?
Impact: What is the (potential) impact of the innovation?
HiiL foundation justice is currently searching for two local Innovating Justice Agents to hire in Lagos and Nairobi. They have called for application submission whose deadline for both innovators and agents is 1 August 2015.