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Wednesday, Oct 17th

Nominations open for 2018 Southern Africa Start-up Awards

Nominations open for 2018 Southern Africa Start-up Awards

The nominations for the first edition of the Southern Africa Start-up Awards are now open in fifteen countries across the Southern Africa region ahead of national award ceremonies in each country and the regional award ceremony in October.

Nominations can be made across fourteen categories which include Best Co-working Space, Best EduTech Start-up, Investor of the Year as well as the coveted Start-up of the Year category.

Mckevin Ayaba, Regional Director for GSA-Southern Africa (GSASA) said nominations will be open until 31 May 2018 through the GSASA website.

"We are trying to get as much coverage as we can across the region in order to reach the target audience and get the quality of nominees that can be formidable challengers at the global level. This is why we said anybody can send a nomination, participants can even nominate themselves. That will be the first phase after which we will then contact all those who have been nominated and establish their interest in taking part in the awards. The second phase is also so that we can get more details on the nominee."

Ayaba says making a nomination only requires a few details such as the name of the start-up or individual as well as their website and contact details. The name of the person who made the nomination will also be revealed to the nominee when they are contacted by the GSASA.

"This is the most crucial point of the planning process for these awards. Getting the nominations and sifting through them is not always easy. This is an important moment and we need to get the message across so the value of this initiative for the region can be seen by everyone. We urge anyone who wants to be part of changing the regional ecosystem for the better to visit our website and look at those categories and consider who should be getting recognition."

Generally start-ups need to be ongoing and not older than five years to compete - although this criteria will be adapted to the requirements of each category for which the nomination is made.

The GSASA jury for 2018 will include Lee Naik, CEO of Transunion Africa, Jeff Burton a founding member of US company Electronic Arts and Omoju Miller, Senior Data Scientist, Machine Learning at GitHub.

"We already have thirty nine judges from all around the world for the regional ceremony although we are yet to finalise the judges for each of the national awards," said Ayaba.

Barbara Mallinson, founder and CEO of social learning platform Obami and also a member of the judging panel, described 2017 as a good year for Africa's start-up ecosystem.

"It feels like 2017 is when the start-up scene finally grew up in Africa. For years, innovative things have been built and taken to market, but very few of these innovations managed to scale and exit successfully," said Mallinson.

ITWeb Africa has learned that Cape Town will host the national award for South Africa while Johannesburg is tipped to host the regional showcase later in the year. The winners at the regional award will then face competition from around the world at the Global Start-up Awards.


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