Orange Announces Winners For 2021 Social Venture Prize

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Orange Liberia has announced winners of its 2021 Social Venture Prize for Africa and the Middle East. The 11th edition of the competition was held at the Royal Grand Hotel in Monrovia on September 10, 2021. This year’s competition drew applications from Seventeen (17) young Liberian social entrepreneurs who are engaged in a wide array of unique business startups. This year’s winners were EcoSoap Liberia, Greener Monrovia and Pad4Her.  Each of the national winners will now be automatically entered into the international competition where their project will compete against projects from other countries for the chance to win the grand prizes of 25,000 Euros, 15,000 Euros, and 10,000 Euros.

   Speaking at the prize ceremony on Friday, Orange Liberia’s Chief Financial Officer, Diakalia Berte, explained that the prize was initiated by Orange Group to recognize and reward innovative projects based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), which improve the living condition of people in Africa and the Middle East in fields such as education, healthcare, farming, mobile payments or sustainable development. He stated that since the establishment of the award in Liberia four years ago close to 96 applications have been received from many stellar projects.

   “I am particularly impressed by young Liberians and their achievements. We appreciate young entrepreneurs and their brilliant skills displayed during the pitch sessions,” said Berteprior to reveal the 2021 prize winners. He went on to state, “We are honored to announce to you that Orange Social Venture Prize is not only an achievement for Orange Liberia but is also promotes social ventures across Africa and the Middle East.”

   The Orange Social Venture competition starts with a national phase. In Liberia, Seventeen (17) applications were submitted for the national phase.  Of those applications, seven (7) applicants made it to the final phase where they were allowed to pitch their idea before a panel of judges.  This year’s judges were Wadei Powell, CEO of Scrimex Liberia, Zubin Cooper, and Zaza Mulbah, Head of Orange Money. Each finalist had the chance to present their pitches to the judges for consideration.  

   Head Judge, Wadei Powell, encouraged young Liberians continue to pursue entrepreneurships, stating that it was the bedrock of any economy and that entrepreneurs are the foundation through which economies are built and thrive.  She congratulated the seven finalists and termed them all “winners”, not only for the fact that they had taken the courageous step to start their businesses, but also because they had made the decision to enter the competition. Powell announced that the third-place winner of US$1,500 was Pad4Her, which locally produces sanitary pads for women.  The second-place prize of US$2,000 went to Greener Monrovia, a start-up company recycling plastics into bricks, floor tiles, roofing tiles, and other commercially viable products.

The first prize of US$3,000 was awarded to Eco Soap Liberia and received by its Founder, Linda Seton. The award was matched by Wadei Powell, who also provided the winner an additional US$3,000.

   Eco Soap Liberia is owned and operated by Linda Seton. The company’s goal is to address the proliferation in the cases of malaria in Liberia as well as malaria-related deaths among children below the age of 5 and pregnant women by producing soaps which repel malaria causing mosquitoes. The company says its short-term goal is to reduce malaria cases and deaths by over 20% within five years.

   Each of the winners now stand a chance to win the bigger international prize at a competition scheduled to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, in the coming months. In 2019 Liberia’s own J-Palm won at the national level, and also won 2nd place winner at the international level.     In 2020, Weeglo won at the national level, and also won 3rd place winner at the international level in Cape Town, South Africa. Berte said it was his hope that Liberia will again be one of the international winners in 2021.

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