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Win €10,000 in The Youth-Led Innovation Challenge

Oxfam, a confederation of several international charity organizations, is offering two awards of €10,000 each to SMEs, startups, or individuals who devise a solution to the impact that COVID-19 has had on their communities and local businesses.

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It’s doing this through its Work in Progress! Alliance, which is operational in Egypt, Nigeria, and Somalia. The Work In Progress! Alliance exists to promote youth and SME development in these countries by building skills and stimulating entrepreneurship.  It is sponsored by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Through the innovation challenge, the Work in Progress team hopes to help organizations with creative solutions to the coronavirus’s social impact to bring those solutions to life and scale them in their communities.

Besides the €10,000 prize, winners will also get technical support that will enable them to develop and implement their projects.

What the Organizers are Looking For

The organizers are looking out for projects that meet these conditions:

  1. Provide an innovative approach to tackling the coronavirus’s effect on local communities and businesses. The solution should not already be widely applied in other parts of the applicant’s home country.
  2. The project should be clearly described, viable, and must be implementable within the time frame between October 2020 and February 2021.
  3. The entrepreneur or team applying for the award should possess relevant experience, possess integrity, and must be able to communicate their ideas.
  4. The project must be sustainable. Potential should exist for it to be replicated across localities that have been affected by COVID-19.

Find our comprehensive listings of businesses in Nigeria here

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Lead applicants should be less than 35 years. There’s a preference for female-led initiatives.
  2. If the applicant is an SME or startup, they should be registered in the country in which they operate (Nigeria).
  3. Should not be involved in gambling, alcohol, or tobacco industries, must not be associated with arms dealing, or implicated in corrupt practices.
  4. The proposed project can be implemented between October 2020 and February 2021.

Note: The prize will not cover such things as rent or lease fees, bank charges, overhead costs, and registration, or intellectual property rights.

The Process

  1. Interested persons or teams can apply by filling an online application form. Their applications should include a plan for the innovation project, proof of concept, and project budget.
  2.  A panel of judges will review applications and determine which ones qualify for the next stage.
  3. Top applicants will be invited to pitch their ideas.
  4. The two winners will be informed soon after, and grant contracts processed.
  5. Implementation of the innovation project will take place between October 2020 and February 2021.

The deadline for entering this challenge is September 24, 2020.

If you would like to apply for the Youth-Led COVID-19 Innovation Challenge, click here.


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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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