BMCE Bank of Africa has availed $1 million (P11 million) to African entrepreneurs with business ideas that can make an impact in the lives of Africans.
The African Entrepreneurship award, which has been running for years, promotes entrepreneurship on the continent by annually investing money on talent and technology that transcend borders.
The award, which was launched last week, will have the first round of eligible finalists announced in May 2016 while winners will be announced in November 2016.
Speaking at a media briefing this week, BMCE Director of Sustainable Development and CSR Sorayi Sebti said the award promotes Pan African projects with technological components and ideas to improve lives in Africa.
“This award is a commitment to BMCE’s long standing values of social responsibility including inspiring the future for our young African generations. Through this award, we intend to encourage entrepreneurs and support them with mentoring as well as fund their projects,” she said.
Sebti said the $1m award, which has been open since last week, would be divided amongst the top 10 finalists looking at the nature of their business.
The award is open to 54 African countries in four languages, which include English, French, Portuguese and Arabic.
For 2016, the award categories are education, environment and unchartered domains with
Award content writer, Guinevere McWhorter encouraged Batswana to take part in the award, noting that since its launch last week, out of the 94 applications received, only two are from Botswana.
“We would like to have more participation in countries like Botswana hence the reason we will be going around the city to try and help spread the message,” she said.
In addition, McWhorter said the award is the first step to enabling entrepreneurs across Africa to test, plan, launch and scale their successful businesses.
Last year, they had 5,000 registrants from 54 African countries and 99 in the Diaspora.
“This year, based on the 400 million Africans aged between 18 to 40 and the benchmarking we are doing, we estimate to have about 10,000 business proposals,” said Laila Ahlafi, BMCE director of Digital Communications.
BMCE Bank of Africa is a private group with Moroccan roots and Pan African ambition, which operates in 19 of the 54 countries in Africa.
Currently, the bank has $18 billion in deposit making it the second largest bank in Morocco and the 14th largest bank in Africa.