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Bringing Africa into the global ecosystem

Africa is a continent where not much is known by the rest of the world about what goes on in technology innovation. If you are asked about innovation in Africa, you might think of the Silicon Cape initiative in South Africa, or more specifically the mobile payments system M-PESA in Kenya might come to mind. But there is a lot more going on in Africa – such as the Innovate Salone innovation labs in Sierra Leone. And the story we highlighted of Kelvin Doe, a talented 15-year-old engineering whiz  kid, who lives in Sierra Leone and always had a passion for invention, making things he cannot get by himself using discarded spare parts he finds in trash bins, to build batteries, generators and transmitters; his innovation resulted in him winning a three-week sponsored internship at MIT Media Lab in Massachusetts, USA.

In order to bring the wider African scene into the global picture, it’s good to therefore see that the global enterprise tech startups awards, The Tech Trailblazers (for which The Next Silicon Valley is a media partner) has partnered with AfriLabs, a pan-African network of technology and innovation hubs promoting the growth and development of the African technology sector. AfriLabs believe that by working together, individual labs improve the chances of success and create greater opportunities for its members.

With 20 accelerators and hubs in 13 countries across Africa and an active social media following, AfriLabs claims to be the largest tech hub network in Africa and in the perfect position to support a partnership that reaches across multiple countries on the continent.

As part of the partnership with the Tech Trailblazers Awards, AfriLabs offers its members a chance to gain visibility with some of the technology industry’s most influential people across the world via the judging panel, as well offering the platform for them to compete in a globally recognized enterprise technology competition, with categories including cloud, mobile, info security, big data, virtualisation, networking, storage, sustainable IT and emerging markets.  In addition, all African entrants will be automatically entered for the Middle East and Africa Cup.

AfriLabs director Tayo Akinyemi said about the partnership, “Partnering with the Tech Trailblazers Awards is a great opportunity for AfriLabs to enable its network members to be rewarded for their innovation. Making new connections with the judging network, having the chance to win great sponsor prizes and receiving visibility on an international scale is very exciting.”

Rose Ross, founder and chief trailblazer said, “Being able to reach into Africa and bring their finest in enterprise technology to a global platform is going to be a great
experience and it will be interesting to see how they compare with all the other entrants from around the world.”

The new African partnerships add to the collaboration with Silicon Cape, Ventureburn and Tech News. The Tech Trailblazers Awards is open to entries until September 12th 2013.

Tech Trailblazers is a new concept in awards, designed explicitly for smaller businesses and startups that are five years old or less and at C-series funding or below. The awards have low barriers to entry and prizes that not only recognize startup innovation, but also proactively help startups grow their businesses with access to exclusive coaching, mentoring and development and prizes from a prize fund worth an estimated $1m+.

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