TechCrunch Battlefield isn’t entirely new to startups in Africa. A couple have participated in the US$50,000 early stage startups contest – Nigeria’s agritech startup Foodstantly being the most recent participant. The competition has mostly been held in San Francisco and London.
Things are about to change this time around as TechCrunch has announced a partnership with social network giant Facebook to host the first African edition of the competition later this year in Nairobi, Kenya.
Christened TechCrunch Battlefield Africa 2017, the competition is aiming to beam its spotlight on early stage startups in Africa that have created technology to solve real problems and in so doing developed the ecosystem within the region.
It is open to early stage startups resident in any of the eligible countries  whose innovation fits into the three themes/categories – social good, productivity and utility, gaming and entertainment – of the contest.
The judges, comprising TechCrunch staff and those from Facebook, will select five startups in each category for the final of the competition in Nairobi. A winner in each category will emerge, as well as an overall winner.
The overall winner will be named “Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Promising Startup,” and will receive US$25,000 in no-equity cash plus an all-expense paid trip for two to San Francisco to compete in the Battlefield at Disrupt SF 2018, TechCrunch’s flagship event.
Startups, especially those with limited press or publicity and no known intellectual property conflicts, across Africa interested in this contest should apply by 14 July 2017. The finalists will be notified on 21 August 2017 with the main contest happening in Nairobi on 11 October 2017 at a yet-to-be-announced venue.
“The timing for Battlefield Africa 2017 could not be better. Sub-Saharan Africa just produced its first unicorn, Jumia, exits are increasingly frequent, and global venture capitalists are taking note,” TechCrunch stated in a post.
It added, “…TechCrunch is eager to take part in covering Africa’s burgeoning tech sector more fully. We love to see startup ecosystems develop, and Battlefield is one of the best platforms in the world to spotlight the most promising ventures for investors, partners and even future employees.”
 The eligible countries are Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.