The African Media Initiative, the continent’s largest association of media owners and operators, has announced funding opportunities for business and technology stories as part of a Pan-African journalism competition.

The African Story Challenge is inviting applications from individual journalists and newsrooms with unique story ideas or projects on business and technology that can only be produced with substantial support. Grants of up to US$20,000 or major international reporting trips will be provided to deliver the projects for broadcast and publication.

The 20 multimedia projects showing the best potential for adopting innovative storytelling techniques using data journalism tools will be shortlisted for the final prize.

Stories will be required to focus on any business or technology angle of interest to a wider African audience. The organisers said the international team of editors comprising the judging panel will be looking for projects using  in-depth research and investigative journalism that take a multi-platform approach – able to be packaged for different media and devices.

“This competition aims at encouraging and supporting African media to promote a better quality of life for our people by producing more and better stories on the issues that really matter,” said Joseph Warungu, the African Media Initiative’s (AMI) Content Development Director and a former BBC Africa Editor. “Politics is important, but it’s not everything.”

AMI Chief Executive Amadou Mahtar Ba said: “It’s widely acknowledged that Africa is on the rise and leading the way on many fronts, such as mobile money. To continue telling this story of growth and innovation well, the media in Africa must be supported and strengthened,” adding that the AMI was committed to this aim by “finding disruptive digital ideas for improving the way that news is collected and disseminated.”

Business and technology is the latest theme for The African Story Challenge, which has previously focused on food and farming, and health. The two-year journalism project’s partners include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Development Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Find out more and apply. The application deadline is 22 April 2014.