Stepping Up To The Plate

By on May 21, 2018

For the average African, life is no smooth sail. If anything, it is a horrible mix of harsh waves and dangerous tides that one must somewhat navigate or risk drowning. Right from one’s birth to one’s death,  there is a huge chance one’s life will be plagued with trouble, worry, misery and a general sense of apathy often brought on by a series of unfortunate occurrences. But one must soldier on mostly because many lives depend on it. And so we end up making it in life not so much for us but for those around us – we are a very communal lot of people. The result of this is that whenever one makes it in society, there is a universal feeling of joy and happiness spread around and everyone becomes a part of the celebration. Often times, many of the people in the crowd have no idea what is being celebrated but they will join in nonetheless. And we love it.

We’re like the Three Musketeers – All For One, One For All

A great part of the African continent consists of yyoung people who have witnessed the continent rise from the ashes of colonialism, neo-colonialism and conflict into a positive and forward thinking continent. Now, all the talk is about Africa possibly being a prospective pivot for Global Economics.

Despite this optimism and promise for the future, there are still lingering issues in the African society. There are still problems that plague the continent decade after decade. Luckily, for the progressive young African, the solutions to Africa’s problems are somewhere on this continent, we just have to discover create the right platform for the solutions to emerge.

While traversing the internet and looking for positive African stories, you will encounter an endless list of Africans who have decided to get off their behinds and get to work – people who have decided that whatever problems the continent is plagued with, solutions must come from within and they must come now. And one of such avenues is one that has recently taken center stage, for me at least. It’s a bit of a shame that I bumped into it slightly late but you know what they say – better late than never.

In what is dubbed #AfricaChallengeAccepted, AB inBev is looking for young and aspiring African innovators to take part in their ‘Sustainability Challenge’. The purpose of this Challenge is to create a platform for successful implementation of positive changes in the world with specific attention to Africa. As a company, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (abbreviated as AB InBev) is a Belgian Transnational Beverage and Brewing Company with its global headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. The company deals in several Beer brands and recognizes that for it to continue growing in business, it must invest in the people who in turn will be able to grow it. This scratch-my-back-and-scratch-yours attitude to doing business is what has kept a number of big corporations alive. Investing in people is important because at the end of the day, it is they who ensure that you live to see another financial quarter.

And so together with Uganda’s Nile Breweries (which is a member of the AB InBev family), they have set aside a fund to help African innovators who are solving certain problems to dig deep and see how they can scale up and probably spread the awesomeness of their innovations to other parts of the continent.

The particular problems that the Challenge is focusing on include Smart Agriculture, Water Stewardship, Climate Action, Circular Packaging and Entrepreneurship. These are the key problems that the African Continent is grappling with and therefore solving them would essentially mean a more empowered population thus a better business environment. Innovations that solve these specific problems have therefore been invited to apply to be in the running for this Challenge.

There are five specific questions that are being asked of African innovators.

Does your innovation that build high impact, inclusive solutions that improve grower access to sustainable agricultural resources, products, processes or tools that can increase the quality, yield and sustainability of farming at scale? (Smart Agriculture)

Do you have an innovation solution that supports low income communities, to adapt and transform to meet the challenges of climate change with access to renewable energy or carbon reduction opportunities? (Climate Action)

Do you have an innovative Business Solution that Depends on Employing a Large number of People as it Solves Sustainability Challenges like Renewable Energy, Climate Change, Access to Clean and Safe Water, Waste Management and Sustainable Agriculture? (Entrepreneurship)

Does your Solution that use Waste Streams as a Resource, Generating value and Redirecting them from Landfills, Ensuring that we have a Waste Free, Circular Future? (Circular Packaging)

Do you have an innovative solution to Expand Access to Water and Sanitation Services among households that have a problem accessing Water? Does your innovation solve Water Sustainability Problems? (Water Stewardship) 

In the event that any one of these questions seems to be one that your innovation or idea is answering, then you my friend, need to pay close attention because you are the people that Ab InBev is looking. Once you accepts the challenge by visiting and submitting your idea, you will be in the running for some pretty fantastic prizes.

For starters, after the application, you will take some time to rest – 8 weeks to be exact – because this is how long it will take for the judges to decide which ideas will go through to the next stage. From the ideas submitted, 25 will be selected and their owners will travel to South Africa for an acceleration bootcamp. The top 15 winners will then win a trip to Africa’s Silicon Savanah in Nairobi, Kenya, and they will be in the running to win a trip to the Big Apple. These will have the opportunity to attend the Global Accelerator in New York. Talk about getting airline miles under one’s belt!

Did I mention the chance to win Seed funding worth $50,000?  

It is likely that some young innovators might read this and imagine that their idea does not solve any of these problems. However, there is also a likelihood that one might know a colleague who has a friend with a relative who got married to someone whose nephew just graduated in the same class with a young innovator whose brilliant idea fits in well with one of the challenges mentioend above – do not hesitate to share it with them. In fact, share the link as widely as possible and let someone in your circle get the opportunity to scale up their innovative idea, solve some of Africa’s Problems and become a rock star in the process. Go on and visit and do what needs to be done. Let’s find solutions to Africa’s problems, Lets do it now!

Good Luck to all applicants!

“Dreamers are mocked as impractical. The truth is they are the most practical, as their innovations lead to progress and a better way of life for all of us.” ― Robin S. Sharma

a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
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Beewol - The Talkative Rocker