Google invites you to share your internet success story and show the world why Africa is amazing
Google is giving $25,000 dollars to each of the five most inspiring stories of how the web has played a pivotal role in transforming lives in Africa. As a nod to encouraging sustainable ventures, the money will be put toward improving winning entries. The competition, dubbed Africa Connected, runs from today (August 27) through October 31.
The idea of Africa Connected is more than just Google promoting its own products for corporate gain (though Google is undeniably pitching its products to new web users). Instead, the projects highlighted by the initiative will inspire others to change their community. The collection of success stories will also show how the internet can have a social and economic impact on Africa. As Google puts it, one of the most important ways to get people online is to “help increase the visibility of what African people are actually achieving on the web.”
The entry requirements are simple
- Be 18 years of older and a resident of an African country (other than Sudan due to economic sanctions)
- Be willing to showcase how the internet, in conjunction with a Google product, has improved African lives
- Have a Google+ account
Individuals, teams, businesses, and NGOs are able to submit. Entrants may submit multiple stories and can vote for their own submissions. The deadline for entries is October 31st.
Judging looks to be a thorough process
Winners, slated to be announced in March 2014, will be selected across five categories and then matched against five criteria:
- originality of concept
- level of social/economic impact
- relevance to country/region
- use of Google products
- potential to scale
After submissions are collected, a shortlist will be narrowed down to 20 semi-finalists of which senior judges will limit to 10 finalists. The online community (those with a Google account) will then pick the five most engaging stories.
Even though the Africa Connected contest has just begun, Google has already posted a handful of inspirational examples from around the continent. The impressive videos – mostly from West Africa – are intended to inspire others to submit their own content:
- Filmmaker – Lagos, Nigeria
- Animator – Johannesburg, South Africa
- Family business owner – Lagos, Nigeria
- Journalist – Lome, Togo
- Jewelry Maker – Accra, Ghana
- Musicians – Nairobi, Kenya
Now go share your story and spread the word! Even ventures that do not win will have the opportunity to get international exposure from Google.
Africa Connected is made possible by help from a dozen partners:
- Africa: UNDP, NEPAD, AFRINIC
- Ghana: Joy Online, Graphic Newspaper
- Kenya: Nation Media Group
- Nigeria: THISDAY, Cool FM, Nigeria Info FM, Wazobia FM
- South Africa: SABC, City Press
More on Google in Africa
Also on the Africa Connected site are quick rundowns of Google’s products for those who are new to the web. Google has broken products down by new user (Gmail, YouTube, mobile), content creator (Adsense, Adwords), small business owner (Places, Adwords+), and developer.
In another section, Google reiterates their African efforts to grow the internet user base:
- reduce barriers to access
- provide content that is relevant
- create a sustainable internet ecosystem
P.S. To increase accessibility, Google has create a low bandwidth of the Africa Connected site. The original page is 1.6MB in size. Low bandwidth? 151kb. In addition, the initiative is available in both English and French languages.