Fifteen (15) young African entrepreneurs have emerged as finalists from a field of more than 800 applicants for the seventh annual Anzisha Prize, Africa’s premier award for her youngest entrepreneurs.
Supported by African Leadership Academy (ALA) in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, the Anzisha Prize celebrates and cultivates the next generation of young African entrepreneurial leaders who are creating job opportunities, solving local development problems and driving economies.
Ignatius Ahumuza, 21, a Ugandan is one of the 15 finalists set to share US$100,000 (about Shs360m).
Ahumuza is one of the founders of Art Planet Academy, which provides practical agriculture training in schools. Art Planet creates and innovates climate-smart farming technologies, tests them at demonstration farms and incorporates them into a practical agriculture training curriculum.
Art Planet works with 21 primary schools, 18 secondary schools, 2 universities and 4 institutions to deliver their training. Art Planet works with a school for 3 months and they have 4 training sessions a month for each of the schools. The children then replicate what they have learnt in their homes with the help of the trainers.
Selected from 14 countries, nearly half of all candidates are young women representing sectors as diverse as clean energy, agriculture, waste recycling and youth empowerment.
For the first time, candidates from Angola, Liberia, Mauritius, and Sudan entered the competition.
“We are excited by the number of young women finalists and thrilled that the prize is contributing to their economic empowerment,” Anzisha Prize Associate Melissa Mbazo said. “The success of these women-led businesses will be accelerated by access to Anzisha’s financial and mentorship support.”
According to a press statement issued on Monday by the organizers of the awards, finalists will fly to Johannesburg to attend a 10-day entrepreneurial leadership boot camp where they will be coached on how to pitch their business to a panel of judges for a share of US$100,000 worth of prizes and support.
The grand prize winner will receive US$25,000, while the runners-up and third place winners will receive US$15,000 and US$12,500, respectively.
The remainder of the prize will be divided among outstanding finalists, including a $10,000 agricultural prize funded by Louis Dreyfus Foundation, as well as four $5,000 challenge prizes to bolster initiatives led by past Anzisha Prize finalists. All other finalists will each receive $2,500 prizes.
Finalists will also benefit from ALA’s Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit (YES-U), which provides consulting and training support to Anzisha finalists. This includes the Anzisha Accelerator boot camp, mentorship and consulting services, travel opportunities to network, and business equipment, valued at US$7,500.
Finalists will be evaluated by a panel of five experienced judges who have contributed to building youth entrepreneurship in Africa, such as Wendy Luhabe, a pioneering social entrepreneur and economic activist. Laureates will be announced during an inspiring gala evening on October 24, which will include a keynote address from serial entrepreneur Fred Swaniker, founder of both the African Leadership Academy and African Leadership University.
Other finalists include Ajiroghene Omanudhowo, 22, from Nigeria, Victoria Olimatunde, 15, also from Nigeria, Dina Mohamed Ibrahim, 22, from Egypt, Edgar Edmund, 17, from Tanzania, Fadwa Moussaif, 22, from Morocco, Gerald Matolo, 20, from Kenya, Ibrahima Ben Aziz Konate, 22, from Cote D’Ivoire, Jessan Kumar Persand, 22, from Mauritius, Maemu Lambani, 21 from South Africa, Moonga Chowa, 22, from Zambia, Rebecca Andrianarisandy, 20, from Madagascar, Satta Wahab, 21, from Liberia, Thowiba Alhaj, 20, from Sudan and Vicente Zau, 19, from Angola.