The 12 youth entrepreneurs selected for the final round of the 2016 Anzisha Prize have been announced, with the finalists competing for a share of US$100,000 in prizes.
The Anzisha Prize celebrates outstanding youth entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 22, who are effecting change through innovative, people-centred solutions across Africa.
Applications opened for the sixth annual Anzisha Prize – this year co-hosted by the African Leadership Academy, and the MasterCard Foundation – in March; prompting submissions from 550 entrepreneurs from 32 countries around Africa.
From the applicant pool, 12 entrepreneurs have been selected to receive an all-expenses paid trip to Johannesburg for a two-week business accelerator camp, to begin on October 13.
Winners will be announced on October 25, at an exclusive gala event. The grand prize winner takes home US$25,000; the first runner-up receiving US$15,000 and the second runner-up receiving US$12,500. The remaining nine finalists will receive US$2,500.
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 US$7,500. 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 momentum behind the Anzisha Prize has grown and we are starting to see a real impact,” said Koffi Assouan, programme manager for 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.”
The 12 finalists hail from Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda. Anzisha said this year’s group celebrates increased presence in North African and francophone markets.
In 2015, Nigerian skills learning and job placement platform Slatecube was named winner of the Anzisha grand prize, with founder Chris Kwekowe awarded US$25,000; Cameroon’s Fabrice Alomo was granted second prize, with his fintech startup My AConnect; and Ghanaian Mabel Suglo, founder of Eco Shoes which makes fashion footwear from recycled materials, placed third.