African Leadership Academy in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation is proud to announce 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 recognize 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 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 $100 000 USD 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,” said 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 USD. 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 said, “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.