Entrepreneurship is central to Africa’s economic growth and is one of the keys to unlocking job opportunities for young people across the continent. Today, Mastercard Foundation in partnership with the African Leadership Academy (ALA) is pleased to announce that 20 of Africa’s youngest and brightest entrepreneurs will join the Anzisha Fellowship–a lifelong affiliation that will help accelerate their path to entrepreneurship success. On Tuesday, October 23, these 20 finalists will compete for the Anzisha Prize, Africa’s premier award for her youngest entrepreneurs.
The Anzisha Prize awards young entrepreneurs who have developed and implemented innovative solutions to social challenges or started successful businesses within their communities. Selected from a pool of over 600 applicants, from 13 countries, the finalists are armed with the tools they need to grow their business and attract investment, and are coached and mentored by industry experts. As Anzisha Fellows, they emerge as role models igniting the entrepreneurial spirit within their peers and creating job opportunities in their communities.
Now in its 8th year, the Anzisha Prize program attracts young entrepreneurs from across Africa and for the first time, the Prize is recognizing the achievements of entrepreneurs from Benin, Libya, and Sierra Leone. Applicants represent a wide variety of entrepreneurial efforts, from manufacturing, mining, and healthcare, but agripreneurs continue to dominate the applicant pool. Among them is Kenyan Kevin Kibet, the 22-year old founder of FarmMoja Limited which supports smallholder farmers by providing them with inputs, training, and access to reliable markets. Since its inception in 2016, FarmMoja has distributed inputs to 30 farmers, acquired a seven-acre farm with 1,000 trees, and raised $20,000 in equity funding from angel investors to underwrite its expansion activities. Another finalist, Vanessa Ishiimwe from Rwanda is running three learning centres within a Ugandan refugee camp which are educating more than 300 children and employing 18 youth as teachers.
The 20 finalists will be flown to Johannesburg for a 10-day entrepreneurship boot camp where they will receive intensive training from African Leadership Academy’s renowned Entrepreneurial Leadership faculty. They will be coached on how to pitch their business to a panel of judges for a share of the US$100,000 cash prize. The grand prize winner will receive US$25,000. The remainder of the prize money will be shared among the rest of the finalists. Additionally, each finalist is enrolled in a Fellowship program that will provide over $7,500 in additional support and services.
This year, for the first time, the pitch competition will be live streamed across the continent. Online audiences will have the opportunity to tune into the pitch competition and rally behind the entrepreneurs who inspire them most, possibly motivating them to begin their own entrepreneurial journey. The pitching event will be hosted by Cameroonian Tonje Bakang, a tech entrepreneur who created Africa’s Netflix, Afrostream and a long-time supporter of young entrepreneurs.
The 2018 finalists for the Anzisha Prize are:
- Akpe Kevin Edorh, 21, Togo: Akpe founded Dashmake, an SMS-based, rapid response system that allows users to quickly and efficiently get assistance to victims of emergency situations.
- Aldred Dogue , 21, Benin: Aldred is the founder of Africa Foods Mill, a company that purchases local agricultural produce from smallholder farmers and transforms it into packaged convenience foods.
- Alhaji Bah, 18, Sierra Leone: Alhaji is the founder of Rugsal Trading, a company that produces handcrafted paper bags as well as briquettes for cooking fuel.
- Alina Karimamusama, 21, Zambia: Alina is the founder of Youth Arize, a non-profit that empowers women with tangible skills they can use to find or create work for themselves.
- Amanda Jojo, 21, South Africa: Amanda is the founder of The Trea Garden, an upscale cafe providing high-quality coffee and accompaniments in a relaxing atmosphere.
- Awah Ntseh, 22, Cameroon: Awah is the founder of Farmers Forte, a snail farm that extracts snail mucin from snails to use for a line of cosmetics.
- Boluwatife Omotayo, 21, Nigeria: Boluwatife is the founder of TabDigitals, an IT company that helps consumers find artisans who can repair and replace electronic gadgets.
- Farah Emara, 20, Egypt: Farah is the founder of Jidar Wall Art, a non-profit collective that harnesses the power of art to transform interior spaces into works of art.
- Joan Nalubega, 21, Uganda: Joan is the founder of Uganics, which aims to combat malaria by producing anti-malaria products: a long-lasting mosquito repellent soap for children and families.
- Kevin Kibet, 22, Kenya: Kevin is the founder of FarmMoja Limited, which works with smallholder farmers by giving them training and access to reliable markets.
- Kisseka Samson, 22, Uganda: Kisseka is the founder of Hello Mushrooms, a co-operative that collaborates with farmers to grow and sell mushrooms.
- Kondwani Banda, 21, Zambia: Kondwani is the founder of The Mainstream, a digital magazine that aims to tell authentic African stories.
- Lourena Bundi, 21, Angola: Lourena is the founder of L&C Buffett, a company that makes decorations and party snacks for children in Luanda.
- Melissa Bime, 21, Cameroon: Melissa is the founder of INFIUSS, an online blood bank and digital supply chain platform that delivers lifesaving blood in Cameroon.
- Mohamed Sherif, 18, Libya: Mohamed is the founder of Sherif Ice Flakes where he creates and sells ice flakes in boxes that fisherman can use to refrigerate their catch while out at sea.
- Mohamed El Idrysy, 22, Morocco: Mohamed is the founder of Health Solutions INC, a company that provides soft skills training for health professionals in areas such as communication, leadership, and critical thinking.
- Nomena Andrianantoandro, 21, Madagascar: Nomena is the founder of Boissa Sarl, a healthy beverage company that produces an assortment of healthy fruit juices.
- Richard Turere, 18, Kenya: Richard is the founder of Lion Lights, a company that distributes LED lights that flash in a sequence and repels lions from coming close to livestock.
- Thando Hlongwane, 20, South Africa: Thando is the founder of Kazi, a platform that connects young software developers seeking job experience with start-ups in need of affordable product development services.
- Vanessa Ishimwe, 22, Rwanda: Vanessa is the founder of Youth Initiative for Development in Africa (YIDA), which provides free early childhood education to refugee children through special learning centres and schools.