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Benin launches competition to bolster start-up ecosystem

Benin launches competition to bolster start-up ecosystem

Benin's Regulatory Authority of Electronic Communications (ARCEP) has announced a new competition for start-ups in the West African country named "Best Start-up 2018".

Hervé Guedegbe, Executive Secretary of ARCEP says the competition aims to recognise local start-ups that have made a positive impact on the country and its people.

"The Best Start-up 2018 Competition aims to reward young people, companies and promoters of Benin for their achievements or innovative projects that were established to increase the impact on the Beninese population and to contribute to development and stability in a sustainable way."

Contestants have until 6pm (local time) on 1 June to deliver their works at ARCEP's offices in Cotonou.

Competition categories include e-commerce, e-Education, e-Agriculture, e-Etat-Civil, e-justice and e-Banking, among others. ARCEP is yet to announce the value of the prize money.

Benin's start-up ecosystem stands to benefit from a new XOF 207-billion innovation hub called Sèmè City in Cotonou.

Sèmè City's business incubator has the capacity to support up to 250 start-ups once the development is complete, according to a statement released by President Patrice Talon in 2017.

"Sèmè City symbolises our determination to promote knowledge as a growth driver and position Benin at the forefront of the knowledge economy on the international scene," said Talon.

SADC start-up awards on track

As Benin kicks off its start-up competition, organisers of the Southern Africa Start-up Awards (SASA) told ITWeb Africa they have received 1000 nominations across fifteen SADC countries with five weeks before nominations close.

Mckevin Ayaba, CEO - Southern Africa Start-up Awards, said organisers have now started recruiting ambassadors in all fifteen SADC countries.

"Ambassadors are part of the recommendations and selection committee for the preliminaries. They use their insight into the start-up ecosystem to scout, curate and recommend start-ups for nomination, they also do the nominations and influence the shortlist that is eligible for the national contest. They have tremendous influence on the future of the nominees, which is why it is important to have them, which guarantees that the best talents are identified and chosen."

Ayaba also revealed that Geekulcha, Silicon Cape, Africa Business Network (ABAN) have joined the SASA's list of partners.

"With the recruitment of the Ambassadors and with more community partners joining us, we hope to have at least 3000 or more nominations coming in before the closing date which is the 15th of June, 2018."

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