Image: Google Africa CMO Mzamo Masito

CAPE TOWN - Google South Africa has launched its first local Impact Challenge which will see funding awarded to non-profits that create projects with the focus on innovation and technology that can change SA. 

The company will support NPO's with $2 million (R25 million) in funding in South Africa.

“Google is issuing an open call for non-profits in South Africa to apply to receive their share of $2m in funding. Four non-profits in South Africa stand to win $250 000 (R3167137.50) each while 8 runner-ups will each get $125,000 (R1582762.50)” it said.

Winners will also receive access to guidance, technical assistance and mentorship from Google, which they are free to take up should they so choose.

Applications are open for the next six months between the 23rd of May 2018 to July 4th, 2019, and non-profits can apply online. The company said that there is no registration fee and that it is free to enter the challenge. 

Google added that only one idea may be submitted when applying for the competition. 

"Only one organisation can apply per application, but it is fine if that application references collaboration with another organization. If your organization is selected as a winner, it will be the sole recipient of the grant, but may work with other organizations to complete your proposed project as long as your organization complies with the rules and the terms of the grant agreement", said the company. 

Google said that winners will be decided by a panel of local judges and a public vote. 

The public vote provides a chance for the people to decide which organisation gets an extra portion of funding to help them impact their community.

The South African judging panel includes:

HuffPost SA editor-at-large Ferial Haffajee,

Businesswoman & TV personality Basetsana Kumalo, 

South African actress Nomzamo Mbatha, 

Google SA country director Luke Mckend, 

Singer and entrepreneur Yvonne Chaka Chaka, 

TV personality Maps Maponyane, singer/songwriter Simphiwe Dan and 

Computer scientist and entrepreneur Rapelang Rabana.

“This is the first time we are running a Google Impact Challenge in Africa. Many African non-profits are doing great work with real impact and we’re keen to shine a light on them, and give a financial boost to innovative projects and ideas,” said Google Africa CMO Mzamo Masito,

“We believe technology can help local and national organisations to better reach their goals and solve some of the continent’s most pressing challenges, and we are eager to back people who are using technology in new ways to make a positive difference in their communities.

If you're keen to enter, Here is the criteria you would need to consider:

1. Community Impact

You would need to consider whether or not your project creates economic opportunity in South Africa and if it improves the lives of people in the country.

2. Innovation

Your project would need to present unexpected solutions to unmet needs. 

3. Reach

Your project would need to serve as a model for other communities and need to will have grow over time. 

4. Feasibility

The project plan or business plan needs to be well thought-out, and the team well-equipped to execute it. 

Additionally, Businesses need to a registered South African nonprofit or business at the time the application is submitted.

Other Google Impact Challenges around the world have supported ideas ranging from smart cameras for wildlife conservation to solar lights for off-grid communities to a mobile application that helps to protect women from domestic violence.

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