Africa’s beaming youths are championing entrepreneurial causes across the continent, the Anzisha Prize has shown, with five finalists of the contest coming from the region, with Togo and Ivory Coast making their debut.
Also revealing was the number of African women listed. This is indicative that women are becoming more ambitious and tenacious and thus embracing entrepreneurship. The finalists also include young entrepreneurs from East, Southern and Central Africa.
“We are excited to see such a talented cohort of innovative and entrepreneurial young people join the Anzisha prize community,” said Deepali Khanna, Director of Youth Learning at The MasterCard Foundation,” Said Chi Achebe, Program Manager, Develop Prize.
The Anzisha prize, a partnership between the African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation, scours the continent for entrepreneurial individuals between the ages of 15 to 22, who have identified opportunities to better their communities through socially impacting causes.
I Kodo, 22-year old Togolese, has employed six employees and plans to add more to his team as he expands his IT hardware company that assembles low cost computers. Its primary target market focuses on local students, though his firm exports to neighbouring countries.
Ivorian teenager, Gabriel Kombassere is another young West African that made the final cut in this year’s contest. The 17-year-old runs a farming association that seeks to eradicate poverty in his community. He produces maize and cassava annually, feeding the association’s 30 members and their families.
The 12 finalists are vying for the $75,000 prize money that will be awarded next month in Johannesburg, South Africa, before a panel of judges from across the entrepreneurial sphere.
The finalists, who have started ventures in a diverse range of economic sectors including energy, health care, tourism and hospitality, will receive training from African Leadership Academy’s renowned Entrepreneurial Leadership faculty and engage with industry leaders, mentors as well as engage with change agents from across the continent, during the Anzisha week holding
The 12 finalists chosen from the 339 applications received this year from 32 countries for Africa’s premier youth entrepreneurship award are Benedicte Mundele, 20, DRC. Founder of Surprise Tropical, an organic local produce canteen to promote a healthy lifestyle in her community; 17-year-old Gabriel Kombassere, Ivory Coast. Founder of Rible Neda, a farming association that produces 20 bags of maize and 1 cargo of cassava per year feeding its members and their families; and Noah Walakira, 21, Uganda. Founder of Namirembe Sweater Makers, a community based organization that provides school uniform sweaters to over 40 schools across the country.
Nteff Alain, 22, Cameroon. Founder of the gifted Mom project, an e-content platform for pregnant women to combat the high mother and infancy deaths; Winifred Selby, 19, Ghana. Founder of the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, a bamboo bike making technology to manufacture affordable multi-purpose bikes suitable for the Ghanaian terrain; 18-year-old Tom Osborn, Kenya. Founder of Greenchar, a clean energy project that produces smokeless charcoal briquettes and distributes clean cook stoves throughout Kenya; Martha Chumo, 19, Kenya. Founder of Nairobi Developer School, an institution that provides the youth with computer programming knowledge and skills to build sustainable solutions using technology; Chineye Karl Numbers, 19, Ghana. Founder of the Mosaicpiration Project, an initiative that uses recycled material to create art and impact entrepreneurial skills to young people through training and mentorship.
Others are Chukwuwezam Obanor, 22, Nigeria. Founder of Prepclass, an online platform that provides study content (past tests, answers etc.) for local Nigerian schools in preparation for national exams; Thato Kgatlhanye, 21, South Africa. Founder of Repurpose Schoolbags, an initiative that designs school bags made from up-cycled plastic shopping bags that integrate solar technology, charging up during the day and transforming into light for learners to study after dark; Jeffrey Mulaudzi, 22, South Africa. Founder of Mulaudzi Bicycle Tours, a lifestyle tour in Alexandra township that engages members of the community by telling their stories and enveloping them into the business, creating a socio-economic transformation; and I Kodo, 22, Togo. Founder of LC-COM (Low cost-Computer) / Infinite Loop, a company that produces low cost personal computers for students.