Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are invited to compete for their share of $350 000 in the Africa Enterpreneurship Awards.

The awards were lauched by Legatum, a private international investment group, and Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm. And, for the first time, the Africa Awards is open to entries from every country in Africa.
Owners of profitable, growing enterprises (with annual revenues between $1-million to $15-million) may submit entries online until August 24, 2011.  The grand prize winner will receive $100 000 and five other companies will receive awards of $50 000 each.
Kicking off its fourth successful year, the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship recognises and rewards African business leaders who embody the entrepreneurial spirit and demonstrate the qualities required to succeed in business. Applicants will be evaluated on key areas such as profitability, return on investment and growth; long-term business strategy; leadership, culture and values; investment in employees; innovation to address market needs; and contribution to the community.
Connie Nkosi, CEO of Lidonga Investment Holdings, comments: ‘Initiatives such as these encourage the much needed development of SMEs in South Africa. Nearly half of all private sector jobs are generated by the SME sector and as such, the growth of sustainable enterprises in South Africa are imperative if we are to stem problems of unemployment in the country.”
“Entrepreneurs hold the reins of Africa’s future and the Africa Awards programme is evidence of the business revolution that is now sweeping the continent,” says Alan McCormick, an MD of Legatum. “The Africa Awards has expanded and now for the first time is open to every country in Africa. We believe that neither location nor size of the population is a barrier to world-class entrepreneurs competing for one of the most prestigious business awards. Entrepreneurs drive local economies, create jobs, support communities, and deliver the most effective solution to sustainable development. They are the inspirational role models who are crucial to the future of Africa’s continued growth.”