Google announces the top five Africa Connected competition winners.

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The Africa Connected competition was launched last year  in search of Africans from different countries who had inspirational stories of how they used the internet and Google products to make their businesses a success and change their lives.

Each winner will receive a $25,000 in prize funds, as well as, expert assistance from Google to help make the impact of their venture even greater. Here are the stories that inspired you the most:

1. Sitawa Wafula (Kenya)

Sitawa used Google Blogger to establish an award winning blog on mental health in East Africa. Sitawa wants to build a physical resource centre where people can access information online and get much-needed help to manage their conditions.

2. Eseoghene Odiete (Nigeria)
After graduating from university, Eseoghene learned how to create handbags using Google Searchand YouTube. With the help of contacts found via Search, over 100 blogs have featured her vibrant designs. She dreams of building an international brand that promotes African designs. Eseoghene also runs training classes for other women who want to start businesses.

3. Christopher Panford (Ghana)
Christopher runs a transport company helping Ghanaian drivers access vehicle loans, which they use to earn a living. He uses Google Maps to constantly monitor the location of vehicles under bank loans. This assures banks that their loans are protected, while Christopher empowers more drivers.

4. Eric Obuh (Nigeria)

Eric (aka Vocal Slender) used to be a dump site scavenger, in order to pay for studio time to record his music. After being discovered by the BBC in a documentary they produced entitled ‘Welcome to Lagos’, he became known around the world. Since then, Eric has recorded songs which he shares with new audiences on YouTube. He also uses Google+ and YouTube to raise awareness about underprivileged youngsters in the slums of Lagos, helping to raise scholarship money, and encouraging kids to stay in school.

5. Eunice Namirembe (Uganda)
Eunice runs The Medical Concierge Group which helps Ugandan communities access quality healthcare and information. Physician Eunice has built a 24-hour ambulance call centre by using the Google Cloud console and Google Maps to record patient information and track patient locations. With these tools, Eunice and her team are able to help connect more Ugandans to medical services, thus saving lives in the process.

These winning success stories each show how individuals and organisations have utilised the power of the internet to solve a problem, earn a living, or create opportunities, not just for themselves, but also for others around them. We hope that Africa Connected helped showcase the positive effect that the web is having on the lives of individuals and communities across the continent.

Congratulations to all the winners.

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