The Mastercard Foundation and African Leadership Academy are thrilled to announce that 22-year-old healthcare entrepreneur Melissa Bime has won the US$25,000 Grand Prize at the 8th annual Anzisha Prize awards gala. Bime is the founder of INFIUSS, an online blood bank and digital supply chain platform that ensures patients in 23 hospitals in Cameroon have life-saving blood when and where they need it.
Melissa Bime is the second woman to win the grand prize since Best Ayiorworth took it home in 2013.
Bime was selected from among 20 finalists during a ceremony on 23 October that was live streamed to over 3,000 viewers and created a social media buzz across the continent.
The first runner up, 18-year-old Alhaji Siraj Bah will receive US$15,000 in prize money. He is the founder of Rugsal Trading in Sierra Leone, a company that produces handcrafted paper bags as well as briquettes for cooking fuel. Alhaji hopes that the funds will boost the impact his business is already having and will enable him to hire more youth from his community.
Joan Nalubega, 21, was the second-runner up. She is the co-founder of Uganics, which produces mosquito-repellent soap to combat malaria in Uganda. With the US$12,500, she will conduct a certification study for the company’s products and prepare Uganics for export to neighboring countries which will help to widen her impact in the fight against malaria.
The Anzisha Prize, the premier award for Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs, is a partnership between African Leadership Academy and the Mastercard Foundation. The 20 finalists spent 10 days in a business accelerator camp strengthening their business fundamentals before presenting their ventures to a panel of judges that included Ntuthuko Shezi, Bita Diamomande, Saran Kaba Jones, and Polo Leteka. They join a pool of more than 85 Anzisha Fellows and a network of support that includes access to mentors, experts, and networking. Each returns home with a US$2,500.