Nigerian skills learning and job placement platform Slatecube has been named winner of this year’s Anzisha grand prize for African youth entrepreneurship, with founder Chris Kwekowe awarded US$25,000.
Disrupt Africa reported in February the fifth edition of the Anzisha prize was opened, inviting applications from young African social entrepreneurs who have developed and implemented innovative solutions to social challenges or started successful businesses within their communities.
12 entrepreneurs from across Africa were named finalists from a field of 494 applicants from 33 countries, with the shortlisted candidates invited to a week-long bootcamp in South Africa, before winners are selected to share US$75,000 in prizes.
This year’s finalists hailed from Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Cameroon (two), Nigeria (two), Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, with the latter two represented for the first time.
Nigeria’s Kwekowe was yesterday named first prize winner, with his startup Slatecube, which offers a job-relevant skills learning platform and job placement services.
Kwekowe’s ambition for Slatecube is to increase job access for youth through creating a platform on which they can build job-relevant skills, and by linking them with virtual internship opportunities that enable them to develop experience.
“I did not believe that I could have won the prize when the competition started. But I feel confident in what I can achieve now given the capital and training that I have received through the Anzisha Prize. I congratulate all the other finalists as I believe they were all very impressive and look forward to engaging them as we support each other to grow going forward,” Kwekowe said.
Cameroon’s Fabrice Alomo was granted second prize, with his fintech startup My AConnect, taking home US$15,000. My AConnect provides AMoney, an electronic currency with which unbanked individuals can make purchases at over 500 enterprises by depositing money through charge cards.
In third place, and awarded US$12,500, came Ghanaian Mabel Suglo, founder of Eco Shoes which makes fashion footwear from recycled materials, employing predominantly disabled people.
The Anzisha prize is run through a partnership between the African Leadership Academy and the MasterCard Foundation.
“Over the past five years, we have seen the Anzisha Prize evolve from a one-time prize for social entrepreneurship, to an entire community of young, innovative leaders across Africa who have access to comprehensive support and networking opportunities,” said Koffi Assouan, programme manager for youth livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation.
“I continue to be impressed by the caliber of youth entrepreneurs that Africa has to offer and congratulate them on their ability to inspire both ourselves and the rest of the continent.”