Google kicks off ‘Africa Connected’ Competition

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Google has launched a competition dubbed ‘Africa Connected’ aimed at giving opportunity to people who have been positively influenced by the internet, to share their experiences.

The move is to gather the largest collection of inspiring stories about ventures established online by Africans, in Africa.

Five successful entrants will win $25,000 each, and will also have the opportunity to work with a Google sponsor over a six-month period.

Entrepreneurs, creators, innovators and web-lovers in Ghana and across Africa have been asked to share their stories of how the web has transformed their lives and work.

Whether you’re a photographer, an entrepreneur, a fashion designer or a community activist, if the internet and Google tools have played an important role in your success, Google wants to hear from you.

According to a Google Lead for the Africa Connected initiative, Affiong Osuchukwu, in the next five years, seven out of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are predicted to be in Africa, and the Internet is playing an important part in this.

“Google wants to hear from young, spirited entrepreneurial web adopters in Nigeria and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa who have a healthy disregard for the impossible and who are using the web and technology to do cool and extraordinary things to rise above their circumstances, change their world, and achieve success. We want to showcase the amazing achievements happening in the new Africa”, Osuchukwu said.

Fashion accessories designer, avid blogger and entrepreneur Naa Quartey, is one such example.

This Ghanaian entrepreneur learned the basics by researching tips on how to setup and maintain a business on Google Search.

Today, Naa has built a successful online store using a website to showcase and sell her handmade Ghanaian jewellery.

Furthermore, Naa is able to track both her local and international clientele using Google Analytics.

“My foray into fashion accessories design was a risk. My father always wanted me to be a doctor, as a business in the creative arts in Ghana was not perceived to profitable.  I decided however to follow my passion, take the risk, and break the perception by building a successful business in the creative industry. I took advantage of the lack of Ghanaian-made fashion accessories and created my niche. Now, as a result of my online presence, I am able to connect with and sell to a global and diverse clientele,” According to Naa.

The owner and creator of Afrinolly, Chike Maduegbuna, based in Nigeria, is another online entrepreneur.

Afrinolly is a popular mobile app which lets people across the continent watch short videos on their mobile devices.

This app has transformed Nigeria’s Nollywood film industry by creating a movie trailer platform for new audiences.

With over 3 million downloads already since its launch in August 2011, Chike hopes this will create a platform that connects aspiring film professionals with global film industry veterans.

Graphic Communications Group’s Managing Director and Ghana’s only judge in the contest, Mr Kenneth Ashigbey commented that, “Ghana has one of the fastest growing internet penetration rates in Africa.

This is because we are realising the power of the internet to transform our lives for the better.

Now, more than ever, many young Ghanaians are using the internet to take advantage of opportunities.

Whether you are in technology, agriculture, energy, fashion, education, or entertainment, if the web has transformed your life, and you believe your venture can be scaled up, then the judging panel is looking forward to hearing your story,” Mr Ashigbey said.

Categories for entries include Education; Entertainment/Arts/Sports; Technology; Community and NGOs; and Small Businesses.

20 semi-finalists will be selected from initial entries to take part in an interview and to produce a short promotional video.

A judging panel made up of Googlers and external judges will then determine the 10 finalists.

The five winners, in whose lives the web and Google have played a pivotal role, will then be selected by the online voting public.

Submissions are open from August 27, 2013 to October 11, 2013.  The competition will run until February 2014 when the winners will be announced.

Google’s media partners in Ghana for the Africa Connected initiative are the Graphic Communications Group (www.graphic.com.gh) and Myjoyonline.com.

The Ghanaian representative joining the Africa Connected judging panel is Graphic Communications Group Managing Director, Mr Kenneth Ashigbey.

For more information and to enter the Africa Connected contest, visit www.africaconnected.com

The deadline for submissions is October 11, 2013.

Source: Graphic.com.gh / Ghana

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