Orange has received the TelecomLead.com Innovation Leaders 2019 award for opening its Orange Digital Centres, an innovative business concept, to support technology start-ups in Africa and the Middle East.
Orange Digital Centre provides support for startups. Training young people in coding, more direct guidance to tech start-ups, as well as start-up acceleration and investment in early-stage companies are some of the focus areas. Orange aims to support digital transformation and local innovation in all the countries within the operator’s footprint.
Orange will have Orange Digital Centres in Tunisia, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Jordan, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone in 2019. Orange Digital Centres will reach Morocco, Egypt and the rest of the countries in the Middle East and Africa region 2020 onwards.
Alioune Ndiaye, chief executive officer of Orange Middle East and Africa, is driving the Orange Digital Centres initiative.
The Orange Digital Centre houses four programs: the coding school, the FabLab Solidaire, Orange Fab and Orange Digital Ventures Africa.
The coding school is a free-of-charge technological centre that offers training and events for the community of young developers, geeks and people with ideas for projects. It is particularly aimed at students, young graduates and young entrepreneurs.
The FabLab Solidaire is a digital production workshop for creating and prototyping with digital equipment, such as 3D printers, milling machines and laser cutters. It brings together both young people who are unemployed and have no qualifications as well as students, young graduates and young entrepreneurs.
Orange Fab is a startup accelerator with an aim to build national and international business partnerships with the Orange Group and the international Orange Fab network. This program helps improve managerial capabilities and provides support for the commercial development of promising startups, and it is mainly aimed at entrepreneurs.
Orange Digital Ventures Africa is a 50-million euro investment fund for financing innovative startups in technology areas such as fintech, e-health, energy, edutech and govtech in Africa and the Middle East, and it targets entrepreneurs.
Orange operates in 19 African and Middle Eastern countries and has 120 million customers as of the end of 2018 and generated revenues of 5.2 billion euros in 2018.