African startup news this week has been all about competitions, from local businesses being recognised on the world stage to event entry criteria being released.

Ericsson has announced Team SOP (Nigeria) and Team WorkMode (South Africa) are among the semi-finalists of the company and student categories respectively of the Ericsson Application Awards (EAA) 2014.

In a statement, Ericsson said Team SOP developed an application that allows users to receive push notifications on availability and analytics on electricity in their area.

South Africa’s Team WorkMode developed an application that empowers workers to manage their time effectively while in and out of the office.

Shanduka Black Umbrellas (SBU), which runs business incubators targeting emerging entrepreneurs in South Africa, has relaunched its upgraded incubator in Cape Town and acknowledged two local businesses as part of its Enterprise Development (ED) Awards.

Taking the top place in the Jobs Created and Best Performing Company category was Madambi Rambuda of Roswika Media, while Zubair Bester and Wardah Kleinsmith of The HR Mac were voted best SBU Ambassadors.

Roswika Media publishes a free quarterly science and mathematics magazine and The HR Mac provides payroll and human resources (HR) management systems.

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) announced the finalists of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2014, picking 10 African innovators who have created practical solutions to some of the continent’s problems, ranging from a domestic waste biogas system to a wafer matrix for paediatric antiretroviral (ARV) drug treatment.

The finalists were chosen from almost 700 applications from 42 countries and, according to AIF, they represent Africans’ potential to address the challenges unique to the continent. The winners of the IPA 2014 will be announced at an awards ceremony on May 5 in Abuja, Nigeria.

East African startup event PIVOT East has released its judging criteria for the startups from all of the countries that will be eligible to participate.

HumanIPO reported in February on the opening of applications for the fourth edition of PIVOT East, which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya on June 24 and 25.

Among the criteria to be used for selection will be problem and customer segments, the solution to the problem, revenue streams envisaged and tested, technological advantage and analysis of competitive landscape.

Africa Internet Holding (AIH) has announced the launch of Lendico in South Africa, providing a digital alternative to banks and enabling investors to directly fund the loans of private individuals.

The Lendico marketplace offers borrowers cheap loans and investors attractive returns on two continents, and was initially launched in Germany in December 2013 followed by Spain, Poland and Austria.

Start Smart Ghana, founded by Juliana Taylor, sets out to change the way Africans think about entrepreneurship by encouraging them to learn and understand the best practices to adopt to be successful.

A Q&A with Start Smart chief executive officer (CEO), Juliana Taylor, can be found here.

And finally, the University of Nairobi (UoN launched the 10th alumni chapter of School of Computing and Informatics (SCI) this week and activated the Computing for Development Lab (C4DLab), which is home to 12 technology startups in addition to being one of the Vision 2030 flagship projects.

The lab’s main focus will be technology incubation and prototype development, with startups already undergoing mentorship and training with the aim of nurturing them into sustainable companies in the near future.

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