Project Incubator award for African SMEs

Project Incubator Award 2011 announces

US$15,000 cash prize

AfDB-EMRC SME Forum to give spotlight to

unique and groundbreaking projects for African SMEs.

8th April 2011, Brussels, Belgium

To encourage development, innovation and entrepreneurship among Small and Medium enterprises (SMEs) in all sectors of activity in Africa, EMRC will present the “EMRC-AfDB Project Incubator Award” during the AfDB-EMRC SME Forum 6-7 June 2011 in Lisbon, Portugal, to the project with the greatest economic and social impact on local communities.

With a cash prize of US$ 15,000, the Project Incubator Award has become a significant tool for Africa’s entrepreneurs, encouraging people to showcase innovative and sustainable projects. The award has allowed winners and nominees to receive much needed media attention and international recognition in addition to funding and increased investment.

“We received congratulatory messages from across Africa and Europe. I will always be thankful for that recognition. Never had I expected that I would be holding the 1st prize. Believe me,” explains Maria Odido, winner of the EMRC-Rabobank Project Incubator Award 2010. Since winning the award, Maria has carefully invested in her Bee Natural Uganda business, with positive results.

“We re-equipped our Queen Rearing yard. This way, we are able to increase our income through selling colonies to our beekeepers. We have also introduced new bee products such as packaged comb honey – a novelty in East Africa. In addition, we have changed our packaging from plastic pots to glass jars,” she explains with quiet understandably a lot of pride.

The impact of winning or being nominated for the award has meant that since its inception in 2008, the Project Incubator Award has become a highly sought-after prize. Past winners include Derek Kwesiga, founder of Derekorp, whose vision is to create a world class food processing business specializing in fruit and vegetable products from produce grown in Uganda and Augustin Yemene, whose Mupeci project focuses on financing soy-producing farmers in Cameroon.

Financiers and international development experts as well as key industry leaders and investors are asked to judge the nominees according to specific guidelines, ensuring that each project nominated is innovative. The AfDB-EMRC SME Forum will be the ideal time and place for showcasing successful projects that deserve their time in the spotlight, as well as setting a precedent for other potential innovative projects to follow suit.

The AfDB – EMRC SME Forum focuses on increasing the growth and flow of the financial and non-financial support to SMEs, as this is a significant sector for the continent’s development.

The Forum will establish opportunities for the African Development Bank and its partners to support this sector with key industry players discussing policies and strategies to move the sector forward.

Known as the Missing Middle, the growth of the SME sector in developing countries is hampered by a lack of access to finance, lagging far behind high-income countries whose SMEs bring in over 50% of the national GDP. An estimated 95% of businesses in Africa are MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises) and there is enormous scope for development in Africa with the continent’s abundant resources.

To register for the AfDB-EMRC SME Forum please visit



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