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Google News Initiative launches Innovation Challenge in Egypt and the Middle East for the second year in a row

Google News Initiative launches Innovation Challenge in Egypt and the Middle East for the second year in a row

Google recently announced the second round of the Google News Innovation Challenge in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

It’s an open call for news-related projects that focus on reader engagement and new business models.

Last year, Google selected 21 projects from 13 countries –  UAE, Iraq, Turkey,  Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan,  Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria and Ghana. In Jordan, podcast startup Sowt developed a new hosting platform for Arabic news podcasts.

In the UAE, The National submitted a project to convert quality text news into audio in real time in both English and Arabic.  L’Orient le Jour in Lebanon developed a new loyalty plan & interactive platform to offer special and personalized privileges to subscribers. You can find out more about all of last year’s recipients in on Google’s official blog..

Applications for Google News Innovation Challenge in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa are open from now until April 13 at 23:59 GMT. 

Established publishers, online-only players, news startups, publisher consortia and local industry associations are all eligible to apply.

Selected projects will be funded up to $150,000, not exceeding 70% of the total project cost. Google will not fund editorial-only projects, but will focus on funding the technical execution of projects. 

Projects will be evaluated against five criteria: impact on the news ecosystem, innovation and feasibility. 

“The GNI Innovation Challenge is designed to stimulate innovation in news and journalism around the world, and the development of new business models.

Publishers in different parts of the world have told us about issues specific to their regions, and the need for diverse approaches.

The theme of reader engagement and new business models was set with the region’s local needs in mind and we hope this will encourage news players in MENA to try new things”

said Ludovic Blecher, global lead for Google’s Google News Initiative Challenges. 

This is why each Challenge is designed around a theme that meets local requirements

Applications must be made online via the official website of the challenge (g.co/newsinnovation). Google will also be holdinganonline town hall on March 3 at 13.00 GMTwith a live presentation and the opportunity to ask questions. (Google does not take any equity or IP in any projects or submissions.) 

Around the world, Google has launched five Innovation Challenges receiving a total 1,300 applications from 77 countries. The first challenge in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey was launched in June 2019, and received 527 applications from 35 countries. 

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