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Vetsark Is Google Impact Challenge Africa Winner

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Vetsark has emerged winner of the first Google Impact Challenge in Nigeria, out of 12 non-profits and social enterprises that participated in the event held in Lagos.

Vetsark was adjudged winner by the general public while three other winners were chosen by the judges. They include The Cece Yara Foundation, HelpMum, and Project Enable Africa. Twelve non-profits and social enterprises were each awarded a share of $2m in grant funding.

The winners will get a cash award of $250, 000 each, while the eight runners up will each receive $125 000. The funding will be allocated in tranches to be assigned to each enterprise as they reach a set of predefined milestones specific to each venture.

In addition to the funding, the winners and runners up also received support from Google to reach their goals and meet those milestones.

Google Impact Challenge Africa, a competition to find the most innovative African non-profits and social enterprises using technology to solve societal problems, opened in May and since then, more than 5,000 entries were received from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

Judging to narrow down the 12 finalists was conducted by a team of Googlers and Google partners with expertise in the sector. Voting was then opened to the public from November 8 to 26. Every night on those days, each entrant pitched their enterprise to a judging panel which voted for a winner. The results of the public vote determined the people’s choice winner.

Judges included chairman and CEO of Channels Media Group, John Momoh, Mrs Parminder Vir, Tony Elumelu, Rapper MI Abaga, philanthropist and executive director of Nigeria Network of NGOs, Oluseyi Oyebisi, managing general partner, EchoVC Partners, Eghosa Omoigui, Google Nigeria’s country director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor and ex footballer and chief executive officer, Kanu Heart Foundation, Kanu Nwankwo.

Google country director in Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, in her remarks at the event said: “Many African innovators are doing great work with real impact and Google is keen to shine a light on their work, and also give financial boost to their projects and ideas. 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 Google is eager to provide support to individuals and organisations using technology in new ways to make a positive difference.”

According to her, Google has promised to provide $20 million part of funding to West Africa and the company has started that this year with the Google Impact Challenge for Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

‘‘So this is the Nigeria event and we have given out $3 million. This will help the small, medium enterprise to grow.’’

Kanu Nwankwo, who spoke about his foundation, disclosed that the foundation has helped over 540 children suffering from hearts diseases.

In his remarks, Vetsark stated that he did not win but the general public did win the first prize.

Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Through products and platforms like Search, Maps, Gmail, Android, Google Play, Chrome and YouTube, Google plays a meaningful role in the daily lives of billions of people and has become one of the most widely-known companies in the world.



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