The Anzisha Prize, together with the African Leadership Academy (ALA), is pleased to announce the establishment of the Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit (YES-U) incubation and acceleration programme.
YES-U will be providing business development training and consultation services to past Anzisha Prize fellows, as well as select ALA students and alumni. This year will see 40 young entrepreneurs undergo a three-month incubation, with the first class of 20 already graduated from the programme in early May.
“One of the key goals of the Anzisha Prize is to ensure that it provides our past finalists and fellows with continuous support, beyond financing and recognition,” said Josh Adler, Director for the Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership at African Leadership Academy, and Manager of the Anzisha Prize.
Of the 40 entrepreneurs set to participate in the programme in the first half of 2015, 10 will be selected to undergo a further six months of business incubation and acceleration. The decision will be based on the scalability of the venture and its potential to provide employment.
All of the 2014 Anzisha finalists, as well as some from previous years, will also participate in the programme this year.
Professional business consultation
The YES-U programme aims to provide one-on-one professional consultation services to help young entrepreneurs overcome any business challenges they face. According to Adler, the incubator aims to extend beyond just mentorship.
“We find that the typical generic mentorship being received by many young entrepreneurs is not really helpful. Very often it consists of very senior people who only donate a little bit of time and are unable to help actualise their advice,” he explained.
“The Anzisha Prize has hired specialist business consultants who have been tasked with identifying the challenges these young entrepreneurs face, and then working with them on solving it.”
This year, the first YES-U programme will be delivered in South Africa by Gauteng-based incubator, the Awethu Project, and its team of experienced business consultants. However, Adler noted the aim is to enter into similar contracts with organisations in other countries on the continent in coming years.