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African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation Announce the Launch of The Anzisha Prize to Celebrate Innovative Young African Entrepreneurs

$70,000 USD Prize seeks to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among African youth

Johannesburg, South Africa, March 28, 2011 – African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation are proud to announce the launch of the Anzisha Prize (www.anzishaprize.org), the premier award for Africa’s young entrepreneurial leaders.

This annual prize – the first of its kind for youth in Africa – seeks to celebrate young innovators, ages 15 to 20, who have developed and implemented innovative solutions to challenges facing their communities. African Leadership Academy will collaborate with its vast network of schools, youth organizations and other partners across Africa to help identify young leaders whose passion for Africa drives them to design and develop innovative projects that transform their communities and the continent.

“The Anzisha Prize celebrates the innovation and entrepreneurship of outstanding young men and women in Africa,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “African Leadership Academy is inspiring youth across Africa to use their ideas to become leaders of positive change, and The MasterCard Foundation is proud to be a partner in this important initiative.”

“We will comb Africa in search of young people ages 15 to 20 who are creating value and addressing pain points in their communities by launching innovative for-profit and non-profit ventures. We will publicly celebrate the winners, giving away over $70,000 dollars in Prize money and broadcasting their stories across Africa and around the world,” said Chris Bradford, Founder and Executive Vice President of African Leadership Academy. “By sharing the stories of these incredible role models with other African youth, we hope to ignite their passions and inspire their confidence to follow in the footsteps of their fellow leaders and entrepreneurs.”

Anzisha Prize applications are available online at www.anzishaprize.org and may be submitted by young leaders across North, South, East, West, and Central Africa. The Anzisha Prize will celebrate young entrepreneurs in the private and social sectors – both for-profit efforts that generate employment for other members of the community, and non-profit efforts that address entrenched social problems in the community. Applicants will be evaluated on the impact, ingenuity, and scalability of their entrepreneurial efforts.

The inaugural Anzisha Prize will be awarded in August 2011. Eight Anzisha Prize finalists from across the continent will win an all-expenses paid trip to South Africa to be a part of a week-long entrepreneurship workshop at the African Leadership Academy campus in South Africa.  The grand prize winners, selected from these finalists, will share prizes worth $70,000 USD – prizes that they may use to take their projects to new heights.

The Anzisha Prize is managed out of African Leadership Academy’s Entrepreneurship Center, which was established through a $1.6 million multi-year partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. Through the Entrepreneurship Center, African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation seek to catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship among young people across the continent. The Entrepreneurship Center will further develop and share African Leadership Academy’s entrepreneurship curriculum with organizations across the continent, and will promote entrepreneurial leadership across Africa with initiatives like the Anzisha Prize.

“The Anzisha Prize will have widespread impact on Africa by encouraging a new generation of entrepreneurial leaders across the continent,” added Bradford. “We are thrilled to have the support of The MasterCard Foundation – one of the most innovative philanthropic organizations working in Africa today – in delivering this crucial initiative.”

African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation invite youth organizations, schools and individuals to nominate talented and innovative African youth to apply for The Anzisha Prize.

Candidates should describe a project of their initiation that offers a new and better approach to a pressing problem in their community. Application forms can be downloaded online at www.anzishaprize.org. For more information, email prize@anzishaprize.org, call +27 11 699 3000, or SMS +27 79 979 1361.

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 ongoing leadership and entrepreneurial training and connecting them to high-impact networks of people and capital that can catalyze large-scale change. For more information, visit www.africanleadershipacademy.org.

About The MasterCard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation believes that people have the potential to transform their lives and to improve the lives of their families and communities. Through collaboration with committed partners, The MasterCard Foundation is increasing access to microfinance and youth education, helping people living in poverty to learn and prosper.  The MasterCard Foundation has programs in 33 countries.  An independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada, The MasterCard Foundation was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2006. For more information, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.

BY: African Leadership Academy
CONTACT: Stephen Parks, Communications Manager
E-mail: media@africanleadershipacademy.org

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