Covid-19: JICA launches business plan competition

10Jul 2020
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Covid-19: JICA launches business plan competition

​​​​​​​THE Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has launched a business plan competition as a stimulus to mitigate effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

US Vice-President Mike Pence.

Dubbed Next Innovation with Japan (NINJA), the initiative comes with up to USD 30,000 for winning startups and businesses emerging during the Covid-19 outbreak.

A statement released yesterday by JICA said the competition will target startups and organisations from 19 African countries, including Tanzania.

“The competition is open for startups and organisations in all sectors with a specific focus on emerging businesses in Covid-19-related fields including, but not limited to health, disaster management, business services, education sector, food and agriculture, finance, logistics and others, reads the statement.

Other African countries in which the competition takes place are Angola, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

“Interested startups and organisations are required to submit their proposals containing some level of innovation in terms of a business model, a new product, or service that can be more actively used, and or profitability in the current and post Covid-19 era,” reads the advisory.

It adds that the proposals should be commercially-oriented and the USD 30,000 grant will cover costs associated with the proposed activities including remuneration of staff, other expenses, and indirect local taxes.

Participating entities must be either profit or non-profit organisation registered as an independent legal entity, the statement said but adding that proposals from individuals will not be considered.

“The organisations must have very strong management team of at least two people. Have innovative product(s) or service(s) in response or adoptable to the Covid-19 pandemic and post-pandemic society or have a feasible business plan to create prototypes.”

As of yesterday, globally recorded cases surpassed 12 million with over 550,000 fatalities and more than seven million recoveries.

More than three million people in the US alone had tested positive for coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Over 131,000 deaths were reported, and on Tuesday the US broke its record for most new cases reported in one day.

Despite the rise, the White House indicated it would press forward on some reopenings, including for schools.

US Vice-President Mike Pence, who leads the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, argued rules should not be "too tough".