African Leadership Academy, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, has announced Africa’s top youth entrepreneur finalists for the sixth annual Anzisha Prize.
This year, the prize celebrates increased presence in Northern African markets such as Morocco and Egypt, and francophone countries such as Madagascar and Niger, and increased diversity in the business ventures represented.
The increased reach is made possible by Anzisha Prize outreach efforts and a partner network of youth development organisations supporting the spread into new communities in order to recognise the yet uncelebrated youth agents of change across Africa. The 12 Anzisha Prize finalists were hand-picked from an applicant pool of 550 entrepreneurs from 32 African countries.
The Anzisha Prize recognises 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 $100 000 in cash prizes. 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.
“The momentum behind the Anzisha Prize has grown and we are starting to see a real impact,” says Koffi Assouan, program manager, Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation. “Anzisha Fellows are forming a strong, African network of young business innovators that transcends their individual sectors and geographical areas. They are learning from each other, growing their ventures and advancing the spirit of social entrepreneurship.”
In addition to winning a share of the prize money, the finalists are given access to Anzisha Prize Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit services valued at $7,500. The fellowship package includes business support, implementation of projects to grow their businesses, access to business subject matter experts and access to numerous networking opportunities.
“The tide is turning around the youth entrepreneurship narrative in Africa,” Anzisha Prize senior programs manager, Grace Kalisha says. “There has been an extraordinary rise of Africa-bred entrepreneurs in the continent and their stories are being told. We are pleased that such an impressive group of entrepreneurs will participate in the Anzisha Prize this year. This is a promise of great things to come for African entrepreneurship.”
Some of the innovations seen among the applicants and finalists for the 2016 Anzisha Prize are in the agriculture sector, which is gaining in prominence among youth. The entrepreneurs have embarked upon opportunities and explored a wider spectrum of the agricultural sector’s value chain. For example, 2016 Anzisha Fellows N’guessan Olivier and Heritiana Randriamananatahina are this generation’s players in food processing, while Benedict Ampofo empowers smallholder farmers and rural youth with requisite skills in agriculture. These forward-thinking entrepreneurs announce/herald an era in which Africa’s youth are driving job creation for other youth.
The 2016 finalists for the Anzisha Prize are:
1. Aly Abd ElAzem, 20, Egypt. Co-founder of Teens Club, a city youth hub providing teenagers with a platform for professional self-development by linking them to experts, improving their skillsets, and providing a safe space for the expression of opinions and talents, with 30,000 youth applying to participate in the program in 2015 alone.
2. Issam Darui, 22, Morocco. Founder of Lagare.ma, the first electronic bus station in Morocco, available in 10 languages and 25 currencies, established to provide efficient travel services for the first time in Morocco, with schedules to over 150 destinations.
3. Ifrah Mohamed, 19, Kenya. Founder of Supermom, which empowers unemployed and under-employed women by providing them with jobs in a door-to-door last mile distribution network for essential goods in rural Kenya, with over 20 “super moms” in the network.
4. Benedict Kusi Ampofo, 22, Ghana. Founder of Project KIRIKU, a demonstration farm aiming to create sustainable agricultural communities with reduced poverty, providing over 60 farmers with skills, knowledge and agricultural innovations.
5. Lamine Chamsiya, 21, Niger. Founder of E3D Cosmetique, which manufactures and markets a range of neem-based hair and skin cosmetic products with antiseptic properties.
6. Yaye Souadou Fall, 21, Senegal. Founder of E-cover which produces innovative multi-purpose tiles for paving, playgrounds, swimming pools, shoe soles and other products, from recycled tyres, employing six people to date.
7. Geoffrey Mulei, 20, Kenya. Founder of INKISHA, aimed at increasing access to eco-friendly packaging among African consumers by partnering with advertisers and innovative brands, providing around 350,000 free bags monthly, supported by an innovative revenue model.
8. N’guessan Koffi Jacques Olivier, 19, Cote d’Ivoire. Founder of The Yaletite Entrepreneurship Group CI, an ambitious initiative producing and marketing food crops for profit, locating subsidies for students with disabilities, and mobilizing youth for employment, with over 30 people employed.
9. Heritiana Fabien Randriamananatahina, 22, Madagascar. Founder of FIOMBONANA, an agri-processing initiative that drives import substitution through local manufacture of dairy products and confectioneries, sourcing from local farmers with 12 people currently employed.
10. Faustino Quissico), 22, Mozambique. Founder of TQ Group and Services, which supplies, installs and maintains hardwood floors, sourcing inputs and providing employment to 13 people.
11. Asha Abbas, 17, Tanzania. Founder of Aurateen, an online platform providing teenage health and sex education by raising awareness of high-risk behaviours, working with medical practitioners and youth experts, and offering counselling services both online and in-person.
12. Andrew Ddembe, 20, Uganda. Serial entrepreneur, and Founder of Heart for the Hurt, a diversified business supplying school uniforms, restaurant services and growing coffee, all of which reduce income variability for the business and around 30 employees, who predominantly have speech difficulties..