Global tech giants, Google, has announced winners of the first ever edition of the South African leg of the Google Impact Challenge. In the grand finale of the competition which was held in Johannesburg, twelve South African nonprofits and social enterprises were each rewarded with a share of USD 2 Mn in grants, with support from Google to further develop their products and reach their goals coming in as an additional perk.
Corruption Watch: BUA MZANSI, Gradesmatch, RLabs, and MeMeZa, are to receive grants worth USD 250 K each having emerged winners of the competition. Three of these winners were chosen by a panel of judges that included the likes of HuffPost SA editor-at-large, Ferial Haffajee; businesswoman & TV personality, Basetsana Kumalo; South African actress, Nomzamo Mbatha; singer and entrepreneur, Yvonne Chaka-Chaka; TV personality, Maps Maponyane; singer/songwriter, Simphiwe Dana; as well as computer scientist and entrepreneur, Rapelang Rabana. MeMeZa clinched the People’s Choice Award and, thus, became one of the four winners.
The eight remaining South African enterprises who made the cut in the grand finale were each awarded USD 125 K in grants. They include; Clothes To Good, GreenFingers Mobile, hearX Group, mLab CodeUp!, Quirky 30 NPC, Saide’s African Storybook Initiative, The Makerspace Foundation, and The Youth Employment Service.
Google Impact Challenge Africa is an initiative designed to unearth some of the most innovative African non-profits and social enterprises using technology to solve societal problems. The maiden edition of the competition announced applications in May this year and more than 1300 entries were received in South Africa. Through the efforts of a team of Googlers and Google partners with knowledge of the sector, this long list of entries was subsequently trimmed down to the 12 finalists who pitched their enterprises to a judging panel in the finals of the competition.
On an identical note, similar qualifying processes and sister competitions were held in other parts of Africa about the same period as winners of the Google Impact Challenge have also been named in Nigeria (see details) and Kenya (see details). In both countries, a total of 24 nonprofit and social enterprises each took home a share of USD 4 Mn in grants from Google, as well as support from the tech company.
Feature image courtesy: thesouthafrican.com