Twelve inspirational entrepreneurs from around Africa are the finalists for the prestigious Anzisha Prize, Africa’s foremost youth entrepreneurship award. The contenders, who hail from 10 countries on the continent, stand a chance to share in over $75 000 USD in cash prizes and receive networking and learning opportunities, which is provided through a partnership between African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation.
The Anzisha Prize identifies and celebrates Africa’s young entrepreneurial leaders between the ages of 15 to 22, who have addressed challenges in their communities and launched innovative ventures. This year these range from renewable energy projects and technology solutions to agriculture and education.
For the first time in the prize’s history, South Africa has two finalists. Kolawole Olajide, 21, is the chief developer and co-founder of Funda, an award-winning online learning management system. Neftaly Malatjie, 22, has been running Diepsloot Youth Projects (DYP) for more than eight years since he founded it at the age of 14. DYP is an NGO that focuses on income generating programmes that enable young people to engage in business opportunities.
Uganda also boasts two finalists. Best Ayiorworth, 19, has empowered over 200 young women in her home district through her microfinance lending programme while Titus Mawano’s vision to get African SMMEs “in the cloud” inspired him to develop Ffene, a business management platform.
Says Chi Achebe, Anzisha Prize programme manager: “There are thousands of entrepreneurial African youth who are making a difference in their communities every day. We are honoured to be able to share a subset of their stories with the world and enable them to take their businesses to the next level. These are the African business leaders of the future and our goal is to help support their growth.”
“The Anzisha Prize illustrates the potential, ingenuity and entrepreneurial energy of young people across Africa,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “Each year, the Anzisha Prize finalists encourage young people from across the continent to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions and make a difference in their communities.”
All 12 finalists will take part in the 2013 Anzisha Prize Finalist Week which takes place from Sunday, August 25, to Friday, August 30. While there, they will be taught by the African Leadership Academy’s renowned Entrepreneurial Leadership faculty as well as members of the South African Chapter of Entrepreneurs Organisation.
The grand prize winner will be announced at a gala function to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the evening of August 30. As part of The MasterCard Foundation’s partnership with African Leadership Academ (ALA), winners will share $75,000 USD and will join the esteemed Anzisha Fellows network, composed of the 20 Anzisha Fellows to date. The winners will also be given networking and learning opportunities to take their projects to the next level.
Now in its third year, the Anzisha Prize, celebrates the initiative and innovation of youth in Africa. It identifies exceptional young entrepreneurs who are leading by example and underscores their ability to significantly shape the future of Africa.
The word ‘Anzisha’ is taken from Swahili and translates into ‘initiative’ and is a project that is gaining significant momentum in African business circles as its impact is beginning to be felt.
MEET THE 12 FINALISTS ON OUR 2013 ANZISHA FINALISTS PAGE