Applications are now open for Africa Prize for engineering 2022

Deadline: 20 July 2021

About the Applications are now open for Africa Prize for Engineering 2022

Applications are now open for Africa Prize 2022. For more information on how to apply, please click here, or view the application guidance notes below.

Launched in 2014 by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation awards crucial commercialisation support to ambitious African innovators developing scalable engineering solutions to local challenges, demonstrating the importance of engineering as an enabler of improved quality of life and economic development. The Prize has a track record of identifying engineering entrepreneurs with significant potential, many of whom have gone on to achieve greater commercial success and social impact.

Each year, up to 16 shortlisted African innovators receive a unique package of support over seven months to help them accelerate their businesses. The benefits of selection include comprehensive and tailored business training, sector specific engineering mentoring, communications support, pitching opportunities and access to the Academy’s network of high profile, experienced engineers and business experts in the UK and across Africa.

Tailored training and mentoring culminates in a showcase event where a winner is selected to receive £25,000 along with three runners-up, who are each awarded £10,000.

Since the start of the Africa Prize seven years ago, the Academy has supported 102 businesses from 16 countries through the programme. For information on the Africa Prize alumni, you can read their profiles here, or explore their innovations by country, sector and SDG through our interactive map.

In our seventh year, the Africa Prize is supporting 6 female and 10 male entrepreneurs from 9 different countries through our first ever fully digital training programme.

This year, the Africa Prize is funded by The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund

Application Timeline

Youth Opportunities HubApplication submitted by Tuesday 20 July 2021, 12pm (BST)

Youth Opportunities HubChecked for eligibility in July and August 2021

Youth Opportunities HubReviewed by technical expert in August and September 2021

Youth Opportunities HubShortlist selected by judging panel by October 2021

Youth Opportunities HubAll applicants will be notified of their application outcome by the end of November 2021.

Shortlist timeline

Youth Opportunities HubSeven-month package of support begins in November 2021

Youth Opportunities HubStage two application in May 2022

Youth Opportunities HubFinalists selected by judging panel in June 2022

Youth Opportunities HubWinner chosen at final event in July 2022

All shortlisted candidates will provide brief progress reports to the Academy on their business progress six months and 18 months after the final event.

Africa Prize training process

A shortlist of 16 applicants will be selected to receive a seven-month package of mentoring and training. The programme will be structured to give entrepreneurs the skills and knowledge to:

  • strengthen and develop their existing business plans
  • successfully communicate their innovations through pitching
  • forge links with potential partners, investors and customers
  • further develop their innovation
  • move towards commercialisation or scale up.

The training

Youth Opportunities HubThe training will take various formats and will require a significant time commitment over the seven months. All reasonable costs are covered to attend and participate in these activities.

The training period will run from late 2021 to mid 2022. This includes:

  • remote group and one-on-one training and mentoring, taking place on a regular basis via video conference, telephone calls and webinars
    • the potential of a residential training week in Africa and/or the UK*.

Stage two applications

Youth Opportunities HubThe shortlist will be asked to submit a full business plan and updates on their businesses on our online system, following the first period of training in May 2022. The judging panel will review these and identify four finalists.

The final event

Youth Opportunities HubAll shortlisted applicants will display their innovations at an exhibition at the final event* in July 2022. The four finalists will pitch in front of an audience and the Africa Prize judges. The prizes will be awarded following an assessment by the judging panel.

  • The winner will receive £25,000
    • Three runners-up will receive £10,000 each.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must have developed, or be in the process of developing, a new technological innovation. Applicants should have the ambition to take a leading role in creating a new business to commercialise this innovation.

Innovations must:

  • aim to promote the welfare and economic development of a country or countries in sub-Saharan Africa
  • be designed to address a development need or specific challenge facing that country.

For the purposes of the programme, the definition of sub-Saharan Africa includes all countries defined by the African Union within Central, East, Southern, and West Africa.

  • The application must be written in English.
  • The lead applicant must be over the age of 18 when applications close on 20 July 2021. There is no upper age limit.
  • Applicants can apply as an individual or as part of a team.
  • The lead applicant must be a citizen of a country in sub-Saharan Africa. For teams of two or more, the lead applicant (the person participating in training) must be a citizen of a country in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The lead applicant must be ordinarily based in sub-Saharan Africa; if based overseas, this must be temporary for studies or otherwise.
  • The innovation must be based in a country in sub-Saharan Africa
  • The lead applicant must have an engineering innovation, although they

are not required to be an engineering graduate or student to apply.

  • The lead applicant must provide a letter of support from a university, research institution, innovation hub or previous incubator programme. This can be as simple as stating that an individual studied at or was involved with that institution. If applicants are not affiliated with any organisation, another document proving the status of their organisation or innovation, such as a document of incorporation or patent certificate, may be used.
  • Industrial researchers and establishments are not eligible.
  • The innovation can be any new product, technology or service, based on research in engineering defined in its broadest sense to encompass a wide range of fields. This includes but is not limited to: agricultural technology, biotechnology, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, design engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, ICT, materials science, mechanical engineering, and medical engineering. If you are in any doubt that your area of expertise would be considered as engineering, then please contact the Academy to discuss your application.
  • The innovation must be at technology readiness level 3 or above. Evidence of a prototype should be provided in the application. To learn more about technology readiness levels, please see the link below: readiness-levels-trl
  • The lead applicant must provide a letter of consent from the originators/collaborators of the IP to this innovation, where relevant.
  • The lead applicant must provide a technical diagram and photo that showcases the technical aspects of the innovation as part of their application.
  • Applicants should have developed, and be in the early stages of commercialising, an engineering innovation that:
    • will bring social and/or environmental benefits to a country/countries in sub-Saharan Africa
    • has strong potential to be replicated and scaled-up
    • is accompanied by an ambitious but realistic business plan that has

strong commercial viability.

How to apply for the Africa Prize

All applications must be submitted via the online grant management system (GMS), available here: You must register though the system before you can apply. The application form has six sections and will take approximately one and a half to two hours to complete on GMS. However, please allocate more time to gather the relevant documentation and prepare your answers offline. After logging in to the online grant system, please select Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2021/2022. This will take you to the ‘Instructions’ screen.

Visit the Africa Prize OFFICIAL WEBSITE


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