Submit Applications for GNI’s Innovation Challenge in the Middle East, Africa & Turkey Region

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Deadline: 2 September 2019

Google News Initiative (GNI) has launched its first Innovation Challenge in the Middle East, Africa & Turkey Region.

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The first Middle East, Africa & Turkey GNI Innovation Challenge will focus on projects which increase reader engagement and/or explore new business models to build a stronger future for journalism.

Funding Information

Google will fund selected projects up to USD $150,000 and will finance up to 70% of the total project cost. Special discretion on the total project cap may be considered by the Jury depending on the scale and impact of a very large collaborative effort.

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Eligibility Criteria

The Middle East, Africa and Turkey GNI Innovation Challenge is open to organizations of every size, including freelancers and sole traders, that aim to produce innovative, original journalism and to enlighten citizens with trustworthy journalistic content, whose projects focus on encouraging a more sustainable news ecosystem.

Eligible Regions

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Incorporated organizations must be incorporated in one of the eligible countries (Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jordan, KSA, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Libya, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, UAE, Western Sahara, Zambia, Zimbabwe) in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. Unincorporated organizations must be registered in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey or, if unregistered, have their principal place of business based in the region.

Eligible Projects

All ideas are welcome but we are requiring all projects to have clear indicators showing the impact of the project from a user perspective and/or from a business perspective (eg: audience indicators, business plan when relevant). Successful projects will also need to be delivered within one year. They encourage innovative projects – focused on but not limited to- the areas below:

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  • Business Models
  • Distribution
  • Interface
  • Social
  • Workflow

Projects can be experimental but must be measurable with well-defined goals. They encourage appilicants to clearly underline the opportunities of the project by providing clear key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs should have a significant digital component.

Projects will be evaluated against four main criteria:

  • Impact on the news ecosystem: Projects should demonstrate potential for significant positive impact on the creation of new revenue streams and/or change the way people consume digital news.
  • Innovation: Preferred projects will be innovative (use of technology, business model, new reader engagement approaches etc) and be transformative for the applicant and for users.
  • Feasibility: Projects should demonstrate clear indicators and metrics, or even a business plan when relevant, and set out key risks and mitigation steps.
  • Inspiration: How can the project help news organizations learn from each other? Willingness to share knowledge, open source code or/and to contribute to the improvement of the ecosystem overall.

Projects that would NOT qualify for Innovation Challenge funding include:

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  • Projects relating to news coverage only or projects merely translating news content into other languages
  • Upgrades of legacy publishing systems
  • Projects that relate to simply collating or listing data (for example, the publication of job listings or stock exchange data, or the re-publication of newswire articles);
  • Projects on training or education only
  • Projects which do not have any monetization component
  • Projects which do not impact a news organization
  • Projects which reflect research without implementation

How to Apply

Interested applicants can apply online via the given website.

For more information, please visit https://newsinitiative.withgoogle.com/innovation-challenges/how-to-apply/mea/

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