Anzisha Prize Announces African Youth Entrepreneurship Award Judging Panel for 2016

The Anzisha Prize is pleased to announce a diverse, experienced and representative judging panel for the 2016 Anzisha Prize award for African youth entrepreneurs.

The Anzisha Prize has invited a panel of five experienced African professionals from both the business and social sectors who represent a holistic view of contributors to the dialogue around youth entrepreneurship in Africa. The judge’s experience stems from a diverse knowledge and experience base ranging from both established and scaling stages. Our judges have served on the Anzisha Prize panel before and have been invited to be judges again due to their experience working with start-ups, their leadership within both the social and business sectors along with their contributors to the African business dialogue through media.

The finalists for the Anzisha Prize will pitch their ventures to the judges on 24 October 2016. The panel will consider each project on its own merits in responsiveness to a market opportunity or social need and the grand prize-winner will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony on Tuesday 25 October at The Venue, Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“The Anzisha Prize judges are chosen for their expertise, experience, diversity and their willingness to share their knowledge with budding entrepreneurs. We have a stellar mix of individuals yet again this year whose experience within their fields provide them with a unique perspective on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.” says Grace Kalisha, Anzisha Prize Senior Manager.

The 2016 Anzisha Prize Awards Judges are:


Kolawole Olajide

Co-founder of Funda and 2013 Anzisha Fellow

As a 2013 Anzisha Fellow, Kola is a trailblazer within his field and a successful young entrepreneur who epitomizes the journey that the finalists are embarking on. Kola is extremely passionate about bringing high quality education to all. After he had completed his studies in Information Systems and Engineering, he co-founded Funda, an organisation that develops technology for forward thinking institutions. Funda works with, among others, the Continuous Education Department at the University of Pretoria and African Leadership University.


Michelle Atagana

Head of Communications and Public Affairs at Google South Africa

Michelle graduated with a Master’s Degree in New Media and Journalism, which led to her position as Managing Editor at Burn Media, where she managed the editorial direction of Memeburn, Ventureburn, Gearburn and Motorburn. She was named one of Mail & Guardian’s top young South Africans in 2012, writes a column about technology in Africa for CNN and Venturebeat, judges occasional start-up competitions and spends her free time working on the final draft of her PhD. Michelle is very interested in the start-up ecosystem in Africa and how entrepreneurship and tech can solve some of the continent’s pertinent problems.


Gossy Ukanwoke

Higher Education Investor & Founder at Beni American University R&D

Gossy is working towards transforming how education is structured and provided in emerging economies. He seeks to make high quality education readily available for people who otherwise might not have access or the resources for it. Gossy founded Students Circle Network, an academic network for students, teachers and institutions that brings over 10,000 academic resources from over 200 universities and shares it free for students and teachers.


Wendy Luhabe

Member of the Board at The Abraaj Group

Wendy has been a pioneering social entrepreneur and economic activist for the past 20 years. She is most known for her pioneering social enterprises and for the economic participation of women, through a portfolio investment company called Wiphold, and a Venture Capital Equity Fund for women. With Wendy serving as a judge for the second time, the Anzisha Prize values her experience having worked with corporations internationally for 10 years and her dedication to empowering African women in business.


Willy Mukiny Yav

Co-founder and Director of Pygma Group.

Willy is serving as an Anzisha Judge for the third time due to over 21 years’ experience in communications specialising in African Markets. He is Congolese and the Co-founder and Director of Pygma Group. Having developed excellent high-level contacts within Africa, Willy has used these to become involved in developing numerous ventures in Africa. As a consequence, he has expertise in modus operandi and business practice in both French and English speaking Africa and further developed a network of contacts in the upper political, business and social echelons.

The Anzisha Prize applauds outstanding youth entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 22 for effecting change through innovative, people-centred solutions across Africa. The 2016 cohort comprises a diverse blend of young minds who are leading the mandate of socio-economic development and job creation in their communities and beyond. They are competing for their share of US$100,000 in cash prizes. This year’s 12 Anzisha Prize finalists were hand-picked from an applicant pool of 550 entrepreneurs from 32 African countries. The 12 finalists receive an all-expenses paid trip to Johannesburg for a rigorous two-week business accelerator camp beginning on 13th October, 2016. The grand prize-winner will be announced at an exclusive gala event on 25 October, 2016.