Johannesburg, South Africa, August 14, 2017 – Fifteen 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. 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.”
Among these young innovators is Liberian Satta Wahab, founder of Naz Naturals, a cosmetics company that creates organic hair care products that empower young girls and women to feel beautiful and confident with their natural hair. The pool of finalists also includes 21-year-old South African Maemu Lambani, the young owner of a digital marketing agency; and Thowiba Alhaj, the founder of Work Jump-Up Sudan, an organisation empowering university students by linking them to job opportunities.
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 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.
The 2017 finalists for the Anzisha Prize are:
Keep up with the latest news, meet the finalists, hear more about their ventures, and watch the awards gala live on YouTube.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
About the Anzisha Prize
The Anzisha Prize is delivered by African Leadership Academy in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. Through the Anzisha Prize, the organisers seek to catalyse innovation and scale entrepreneurship among youth across the continent.
About African Leadership Academy
African Leadership Academy (ALA) seeks to transform Africa by developing a powerful network of entrepreneurial leaders who will work together to achieve extraordinary social impact. Each year, ALA brings together the most promising young leaders from all 54 African nations for a pre-university program in South Africa with a focus on leadership, entrepreneurship and African studies. ALA continues to cultivate these leaders throughout their lives, in university and beyond, by providing on-going leadership and entrepreneurial training and connecting them to high-impact networks of people and capital that can catalyse large-scale change. For more information, visit awww.africanleadershipacademy.org.
About Mastercard Foundation
Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.