CAMTEL’s ‘Blue Tech Challenge’: Cash prizes, mentorships & gadgets up for grabs

Are you a Cameroonian university student, researcher, entrepreneur, start-upper aged at most 35, with an innovative project?  We have good news for you!

The incumbent telecoms operator, Cameroon Telecommunications, (CAMTEL), has announced the extension of the deadline for the submission of projects for the inaugural edition of its ‘Blue Tech Challenge’ competition.

The competition seeks to reward excellence and the most innovative ideas, initiatives, and inventions from universities, business schools, researchers, and start-ups.

Initially slated for June 23, the deadline for the submissions has just been extended to July 15, 2024. The postponement is contained in a communique CAMTEL published on Sunday June 23.

The competition was announced in February on the sidelines of the CAMTEL Digital Day held under the theme: “Youth at the forefront of digital transformation”, which brought together young start-uppers, tech engineers, entrepreneurs and other key players in the digital sector.

It is part of activities of the telco’s 25th anniversary celebration and winners in the four different categories will each receive cash prizes in millions of FCFA, personal/digital gadgets among others.

File photo: CAMTEL GM, other officials at conference where the competition was launched

The categories

The categories include best tech start-up, best innovation by an academic institution, best tech start-up addressing women’s problems, and the best technological innovation for persons with disabilities or led by a disabled person.

The first phase of the competition will see the preselection of 10 best projects each from the first two aforementioned categories and five each from the two other categories. From these, eight, that is, first three each in the first two categories and first each in last two categories will be awarded.

The winners will each receive national recognition, cash prizes, gadgets and mentorship/training, according to the nationwide call for the expression of interest for the competition published on CAMTEL’s website.

According to CAMTEL officials, the entries should be sustainable solutions across a broad range of issues aimed at boosting Cameroon’s digital economy, help attain the country’s medium-term plan – 2030 National Development Strategy, and lay the foundation for building a digital industry in in the country.

In addition, the entries must have a marked distinctiveness, demonstrate a successful design, have an operational prototype, offer digital products or services already on the market or ready for commercialisation, fit market needs, have prospects of international expansion, and should have a significant impact on employment.

Supporting initiatives that bring change

The candidates are expected to submit their entries alongside a three-year business plan and a market study which includes segmentation, SWOT analysis, competitors and potential partners, and identification of market opportunity.

Techies who are at most 35 years old, startups that have existed for less than five years and operate in the ICTs ecosystem, and have not received any national distinction in the last two years, are eligible for inclusion.

The General Manager of CAMTEL, Judith Yah Sunday Epse Achidi said: “We are keen to highlight the know-how of Cameroonian youth in the ICT ecosystem, catalyse innovative and sustainable solutions that will be retained to strengthen the resilience of digital transformation in all sectors and support all initiatives with high added value and those that bring change.”

She added that they also want to stimulate self-employment in the digital sector in a bid to mitigate the effects of youth unemployment in Cameroon.

Youths praise initiative

The president of the Cameroon National Youth Council, (CNYC), Fadimatou Iyawa Ousmanou who attended the official launching of the ‘Blue Tech Challenge’ saluted CAMTEL’s management for bringing young people onboard the country’s digital transformation journey.

File photo: CNYC president, Fadimatou Iyawa talking to the press at “CAMTEL Youth Day”

“We thank CAMTEL for placing the youths at the forefront of digital transformation and to also put all their concern and focus on Cameroonian youths who are the most important component of our country. We are willing to work hand in glove with CAMTEL so that we can be able to reinforce the engagement of Cameroonian youths in the creation of more opportunities and fight against unemployment,” said Iyawa.

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