On Thursday 6th February 2020, Afrochampions, a pan-African network of major multinationals and intergovernmental bodies, opened a request for applications for two prestigious programs: Caravan and Sankore.
MTN, Trade & Development Bank, Afreximbank and the anchor sponsor, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, are the sponsors of the initiatives. Through the Caravan and Sankore programs, Afrochampions intends to further advance its work to accelerate socio-economic development in Africa by riding on the back of developments in the watershed, such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which comes into force in July 2020.
With the Caravan program, Afrochampions aims to empower aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to apply scientific innovation and technology (often abbreviated to “STEM”) to grassroots production opportunities.
In addition to entrepreneurs, Caravan is keen to connect consultants and freelancers with skills in technology, engineering, marketing, legal, auditing, accounting, finance, and research, to opportunities to earn more revenue by participating in manufacturing activities promoted by Afrochampions-backed business groups and production clusters.
The Project Director of Caravan, Ebenezer Owusu, said that the program’s approach is unique because it aims to support applicants of highly varied backgrounds.
Caravan is designed around the recognition that for production and industrialisation to be accelerated, technical support cannot be limited to conventional startups and financial support cannot be confined to the venture capital model. Caravan will, thus, enable the formation of both loose and tight “production teams” in targeted value chains by connecting entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, consultants, and a broad range of professionals who can help such teams expand production and work together to bring successful products to market under umbrella brands.
Some of these actors will be proprietorships, microenterprises, freelancers and connectors, as well as the more traditional SMEs and startups that intend to grow into big companies. Caravan is thus accepting applications from February to April 7th, 2020 from aspiring and existing entrepreneurs and others who can play important roles in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Whilst applicants targeting all types of production value chains are welcome, the current call for Ghanaian applicants has the following priorities: plastic recycling and repurposing, body care oils, palm-based products, and coconut derivatives.
Persons with ideas and passion for boosting production in these value chains and others are welcome to apply on the Caravan website (https://caravanafrica.com/2020/application/).
Alongside the call for applications to the Caravan program, Afrochampions is also inviting applications from mid-career professionals with a strong interest in scientific innovation, public policy innovation, business model innovation, social change technology and the intersections of these fields to apply for consideration as Prestigious Sankore Fellows or Scholars (Sankoreans).
Sankoreans shall work closely with Presidential task forces in participating African countries to achieve large-scale national transformational programs either linked to Caravan or other socio-economic transformation programs. Programs impacting youth economic empowerment, public sector transformation to serve mass interests, and grassroots economic emancipation shall be priority areas for the Sankore initiative.
Operating at the highest levels of government, Sankoreans shall be embedded for one year (with possibility of term renewal) in project-oriented teams and tasked with highly impactful missions.
Along with a generous stipend and exposure to work at the heart of some of Africa’s most dynamic governments, Sankoreans shall also have the benefit of seeing large-impact programs designed from bottom-up come to life and if successful, touch large sections of society. Only top candidates who exhibit the track record and passion needed to cause national-level change are likely to be accepted through the competitive application process.
Applications for both Sankore and Caravan are open until April 2020. There are no costs whatsoever associated with either program.
Additional information can be found here: https://caravanafrica.com/media/pan-african-program-entrepreneurs-and-presidential-innovation-fellows-launched-ghana/
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