Milken Institute and Motsepe Foundation Launch Technology Prize Program to Propel Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Africa
Johannesburg: The Milken Institute and the Motsepe Foundation today launched the Milken-Motsepe Innovation Prize program, a multi-year initiative to focus global innovators and entrepreneurs on developing technological solutions that accelerate progress towards implementing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a spotlight on the African continent. This program will include multiple technology prize competitions in the areas of agriculture, energy, education, and health.
“Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies have the power to solve complicated socio-economic and human problems. In the hands of entrepreneurs, these technologies can turn Africa into a global economic powerhouse and transform the world,” said Dr. Patrice Motsepe, Founder and Chairman of the Motsepe Foundation. “Precious and I are thrilled to partner with Mike Milken and the Milken Institute to launch this prize that encourages African and global entrepreneurs to innovate and use 4IR technologies to address some of Africa and the world’s most pressing challenges and improve the living conditions and standards of living of people globally.”
Registration is now open for the first of these free-to-enter prizes. The Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech is a $2 million (USD) global competition for innovative solutions to increase economic value to farmers, from seed to sale.
“My good friends Patrice and Precious Motsepe have long been valued partners of the Milken Institute, especially in addressing global health issues,” said Milken Institute Chairman Mike Milken. “The Motsepe Foundation’s leadership has been highly effective in Africa and inspiring to people around the world. I’m delighted that we will again join forces to encourage long-term technological innovation and enhance the human capital of farmers so they can play a greater role in sustaining a more-dynamic regional economy.”
Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-founder and CEO of the Motsepe Foundation, added: “This prize competition will tap into global entrepreneurial and technological potential, including among women and the growing youth population across the African continent and worldwide. We’re confident that the competition will attract a diverse group of participants across the world who want to engage with a broad network of resources to action their innovative ideas.”
The Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech was developed through rigorous and inclusive consultations with more than 50 experts from a variety of disciplines, representing academia, industry and government, to define the competition guidelines and evaluation metrics. Field testing will take place in Africa and solutions should have the potential to be applied globally.
“Prize competitions encourage innovation, diversify the talent pool, and inspire new voices from budding entrepreneurs to seasoned engineers,” said Dr. Emily Musil Church, senior director in the Milken Institute’s Center for Global Market Development. “We are pleased to introduce this approach to advancing the SDGs that will harness the power of technology to solve global challenges and create true systems of change.”
How to Enter
Teams have until December 8, 2021 to register and submit designs and business models. An independent panel of expert judges will select up to 25 teams to each receive $10,000 to develop small-scale prototypes over the ensuing six months. In the final round, teams will demonstrate their entries in field tests which will be evaluated by their ability to:
Increase net economic value to the farmer
Increase productivity at harvest and/or decrease post-harvest loss
Reduce costs for farmers
Provide a viable and sustainable business model
Be implemented by small and medium-sized farms
Develop or integrate innovative technologies
The judges will award a $1 million Grand Prize, with additional prize money distributed among Second and Third Place winners, a prize for the most creative use of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and a People’s Choice Prize.
Registration is free, and in addition to the prize money, teams will benefit from access to networking, training, and other resources. To register for the prize, or to learn more, visit www.milkenmotsepeprize.org.