Innovation Challenge

The Innovation Challenge in Africa supports’s vision of a connected world. To this end, the goal of the Challenge is to recognize individuals and organizations that are working on internet-based solutions to promote education and economic empowerment in countries throughout Africa. The Challenge will encourage the development of apps, websites and online services that provide real value for people under the following pillars:

(1) Learning/Education: Apps, websites or online services that make use of technology to inspire and deliver learning

(2) Economic Empowerment: Apps, websites or online services that help to advance the economic strength and ability of communities

Prizes | Timeline | Rules | Apply | FAQ


One Innovation Challenge Award prize in the amount of $150,000 USD will be presented to the app, website or service that the judges determine best meets the needs of each of the two categories: Learning/Education and Economic Empowerment (2 awards total). Each of the Innovation Challenge Award winners will also be eligible to receive more than $60,000 USD in tools and services from FbStart, a Facebook program designed to help early stage mobile startups build and grow their apps.

In addition, two Impact Award prizes in the amount of $50,000 USD will be presented to two apps, websites or services designed for each of the two pillars (4 awards total).


We will begin accepting entries on December 1, 2015. All entries must be received by May 1, 2016. Winners will be announced in September 2016.


Please review the Innovation Challenge rules carefully before entering.

Download the PDF

Request a copy by emailing

Please send a signed copy of the rules, including your initials at the bottom of each of the 14 rule pages to


Please send a signed copy of the rules to in addition to the application form. See the Challenge rules for more details.


1. Why is the Challenge focused on African communities, and two pillars: Education/Learning and Economic Empowerment?

Five of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are African countries. The challenge hopes to insure that communities in these quickly growing economies are well-equipped with internet technologies for learning and economic empowerment. believes that education and economic empowerment will enable equitable economic growth and development in these communities.

2. Who is eligible to participate?

Individuals and organizations around the world are eligible to participate so long as their applications, websites or services are designed to meet the needs of the above mentioned categories. (Note: Residents of countries where the United States has trade restrictions will not be eligible. See the “Rules” section above for details.)

3. Does it matter what platform I’m using to develop my app?

You may develop your app, website or service on any platform, so long as it works on a mobile device. Keep in mind that the platform you choose will affect your application’s potential reach, which is a consideration in the judging process. In order to maximize your potential reach, consider widely accessible platforms like mobile web and Android.

4. What if my app isn’t in English?

Your app, website, or service can be in any language; we encourage you to provide local and multilingual support. However, your application and all supporting materials must be in English.

5. Does my app have to be finished?

Your app, website or service must be in a working state. We cannot accept prototypes. If your submission is not yet publicly available, be sure to include the timeline for public launch as part of your entry.

6. Who are the judges?

A diverse, global panel of technology leaders will determine the winners of the Challenge:

  • Ike Eze – Executive Director, eTranzact
  • Ime Archibong, Product Partnerships Director,
  • Nikhil Khanna, Ideation Manager, Awethu Project
  • Terryanne Chebet, Senior Anchor Citizen TV, Kenya

7. How will you choose the winners?

Entries will be judged based on innovation, impact, scalability and launch-readiness.

  • Innovation: How original, groundbreaking or creative is the app, website or service?
  • Impact: Will the app, website or service impact numerous lives in meaningful ways?
  • Scalability: Does the app, website or service scale technically? What percentage of the designated population will it reach? Is the content localized? Is multilingual support available?
  • Launch-readiness: How soon will the app, website or service be publicly available, beyond prototypes and limited trials, if it isn’t already? If it’s already publicly available, how stable and consistent is its performance?

Selection of winners will take place at the judges’ sole discretion.

8. How will winners be notified?

Winners will be contacted by email in September. Due to the volume of submissions we anticipate, only winners will be notified once selection has taken place.

9. Can I enter more than once?

If you have more than one app, website or service that serves the needs of the designated populations, you may enter more than once. However, a maximum of one prize will be awarded to each individual or organization.

10. I have more questions. Where can I find out more?

Please review the complete Challenge rules, which contain additional information not covered by this FAQ. If you have any other questions, you can reach us at

11. How can I stay up-to-date on the Innovation Challenge?

Subscribe to receive updates by sending an email to