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The Future of Africa is Bright! Meet the 12 Young African Entrepreneurs shortlisted for the $75,000 Anzisha Prize in 2013

BellaNaija.com

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With all the bad news we are constantly bombarded with, it’s so refreshing to see that the tide is turning and the future of Africa is bright! With young and innovative minds building solutions that can change our continent.

Twelve inspirational entrepreneurs from around Africa are the finalists for the prestigious Anzisha Prize, Africa’s foremost youth entrepreneurship award. The contenders, who hail from 10 countries on the continent, stand a chance to share in over $75 000 USD in cash prizes and receive networking and learning opportunities, which is provided through a partnership between African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation.

The Anzisha Prize identifies and celebrates Africa’s young entrepreneurial leaders between the ages of 15 to 22, who have addressed challenges in their communities and launched innovative ventures. This year these range from renewable energy projects and technology solutions to agriculture and education.

For the first time in the prize’s history, South Africa has two finalists. Kolawole Olajide, 21, is the chief developer and co-founder of Funda, an award-winning online learning management system. Neftaly Malatjie, 22, has been running Diepsloot Youth Projects (DYP) for more than eight years since he founded it at the age of 14. DYP is an NGO that focuses on income generating programmes that enable young people to engage in business opportunities.

Uganda also boasts two finalists. Best Ayiorworth, 19, has empowered over 200 young women in her home district through her microfinance lending programme while Titus Mawano’s vision to get African SMMEs “in the cloud” inspired him to develop Ffene, a business management platform.

Says Chi Achebe, Anzisha Prize programme manager: “There are thousands of entrepreneurial African youth who are making a difference in their communities every day. We are honoured to be able to share a subset of their stories with the world and enable them to take their businesses to the next level. These are the African business leaders of the future and our goal is to help support their growth.

The Anzisha Prize illustrates the potential, ingenuity and entrepreneurial energy of young people across Africa,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “Each year, the Anzisha Prize finalists encourage young people from across the continent to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions and make a difference in their communities.

All 12 finalists will take part in the 2013 Anzisha Prize Finalist Week which takes place from Sunday, August 25, to Friday, August 30 2013. While there, they will be taught by the African Leadership Academy’s renowned Entrepreneurial Leadership faculty as well as members of the South African Chapter of Entrepreneurs Organisation.

The grand prize winner will be announced at a gala function to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the evening of August 30 2013. As part of The MasterCard Foundation’s partnership with African Leadership Academ (ALA), winners will share $75,000 USD and will join the esteemed Anzisha Fellows network, composed of the 20 Anzisha Fellows to date. The winners will also be given networking and learning opportunities to take their projects to the next level.

Now in its third year, the Anzisha Prize, celebrates the initiative and innovation of youth in Africa. It identifies exceptional young entrepreneurs who are leading by example and underscores their ability to significantly shape the future of Africa.

The word ‘Anzisha’ is taken from Swahili and translates into ‘initiative’ and is a project that is gaining significant momentum in African business circles as its impact is beginning to be felt.

The 12 Anzisha 2013 finalists (in country order) are:

CAMEROON
David Morfaw
Project Title: Poult-Vault Inc.
Industry: Agriculture
Nineteen-year-old David Morfaw, from Bafut in Cameroon, has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and started his first business at the age of eight. His current venture is the poultry business Poult-Vault Inc. However, it is not simply about the bottom line but also helping the community he lives in – he currently employs six people. His business plan maximises each opportunity, whether it is selling chicks after three weeks, keeping them until they are grown at nine weeks or selling the chickens and their eggs. He also provides the waste produced to local farmers for fertile manure.

EGYPT
Khaled Shady
Project Title: Mubser
Industry: Information technology
Khaled Shady, from Shebin El-Kom, is a 21-year-old computer engineering student at Menoufoia University in Egypt. His university curriculum and technical knowledge gave him a unique opportunity to develop a system that could make a difference for the blind community. He decided to develop a cutting-edge product that could aid them in their daily lives. Shady’s invention Mubser is a wearable belt, fully equipped with Bluetooth and Microsoft Kinect, which allows the wearer to navigate safely around objects and obstacles using a system of vibrating motors. It is already making an impact and improving the quality of life for blind people.

KENYA
Barclay Okari
Project Title: Safi-pads
Industry: Consumer products
Paul Barclay is a 21-year-old entrepreneur from Kitale in Kenya. His business, Safi-pads, provides inexpensive, reusable and washable sanitary towels for women and young girls. Barclay saw that the prices of regular disposable towels were simply too expensive for families strapped for cash so he and his team developed a product that could help thousands of women while still turning a profit. Barclay has already sold more than 14 000 units of his sanitary towels and plans to expand when he can afford to pay for various mechanisms to make his production system more efficient. He currently employs 14 women but impacts so many families by providing an affordable option of a necessary hygiene product.

MALAWI
Gonjetso Chinyama
Project Title: Pakwathu
Industry: Information technology
Gonjetso Chinyama is a 21-year-old student at the University of Malawi in Blantyre where he is studying Management Information Systems with a passion for art, design, and computer programming. He joined these passions to start a creative design agency called Twenty2 Creative. From there he saw a niche in the marketplace and created the Internet real estate venture, Pakwathu. This online classifieds website enables Malawians to find property throughout the country and sift through a plethora of options based on location and price.

NIGERIA
Temitayo Olufuwa
Project Title: JobsinNigeria
Industry: Information technology
Temitayo Olufuwa, from Fadeyi, is a graduate of N.I.I.T. where he focused on computer science and software. The 21-year-old created JobsinNigeria (www.jobsinnigeria.com.ng), a web-based system that allows users to search, find and apply for new jobs at the click of the mouse or even on mobile devices. JobsinNigeria only started in 2012 and yet its impact on the Nigerian community is growing substantially with more than 200 Nigerians already finding jobs.

RWANDA
Joie Laurent Sangwa
Project Title: Domestic Biogas Use Promotion Project
Industry: Energy and waste
Nineteen-year-old Joie Sangwa from Burera in Rwanda realised that her community needed cheap and renewable energy resources. Working with a team, she discovered that human waste is a good source of energy and worked to install domestic biogas units throughout her home region. This offers a cheap, alternative energy source while helping with the environment.

SENEGAL
Donald Bambara
Project Title: Green Act
Industry: Energy and waste
Nineteen-year-old Donald Bambara grew up in Burkina Faso but after completing his high school education, moved to Dakar, Senegal, to start international management studies. Bambara quickly came to recognise a big problem in his university community – waste. He came up with a dynamic plan for how to combat the waste problem and started Green Act. This project helps separate trash from recyclable materials on campus. But his quest to clean up his campus, and campuses around him, doesn’t end there as he processes the recyclables into plastic pellets, funds cleaning services on campuses, and tries to educate students and young people in Senegal about the impact of current waste management practices and future possibilities for recycling.

SOUTH AFRICA
Neftaly Malatjie
Project Title: Diepsloot Youth Projects (DYP)
Industry: Youth development and education
Neftaly Malatjie has a passion for social entrepreneurship and a track record of commitment to community work. Since the age of 11, he has worked as a preschool teacher, peer educator, library assistant, HIV/Aids counsellor, drugs awareness and prevention teacher, learning and development advisor and afternoon care coordinator. In 2005, at the age of 14, using cash he had saved from his part-time job, he started Diepsloot Youth Projects (DYP) to make an impact in the poverty stricken Diepsloot area. Diepsloot Youth Projects focuses on income generating programmes that enable young people to engage in business opportunities. It has created employment for 16 young people.

Kolawole Olajide
Project Title: Funda
Industry: Information technology and education
Kolawole Olajide, 21, is a native of Nigeria and schooled in Cape Town, South Africa. He is the chief developer and co-founder of Funda, an online learning management system that brings together educational resources to make the lives of teachers, students and parents easier. For example, a teacher can create a website that serves as an online discussion board for students to collaborate on an assignment while students can create a class website to work on and submit assignments electronically. He is part of a five man team of young entrepreneurs who represent five different African nations – Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Kenya. Olajide and his team have gone on to win a number of awards, recognition from prestigious groups like the UNDP and an invitation to attend the Davos World Economic Forum.

TANZANIA
Damotila Silayo
Project Title: Jathropa Soap Production
Industry: Health and wellness
Domitila Silayo is a 21-year-old university student from Moshi, Tanzania. After visiting an agricultural festival, Silayo saw great potential for using the jathropa plant for cosmetic and medicinal uses. She began research on how to produce a soap made from the herbal plant that could heal a variety of skin problems including ringworm and dandruff. Jathropa Soap Production has gone on to help thousands of people in Tanzania fight off skin problems while still turning a healthy profit and creating employment.

UGANDA
Best Aiyorworth
Project Title: Girls’ Power Micro Lending Organisation
Industry: Microfinance and education
Best Aiyorworth is an advocate for education in her home district Nebbi in northern Uganda. The 21-year-old has started the Girls’ Power Micro Lending Organisation. Its motto is “To help a mother, is to help a girl child.” Girls’ Power is a micro lending business that supports girls through their mothers. They give women starting capital or money to boost their existing businesses so that they are able to support their daughters with school fees and scholastic materials and ensure that they get an education. She has empowered over 400 women to date.

Titus Mawano
Project Title: Ffene
Industry: Information technology
Titus Mawano, a 22-year-old from Kampala, is the brains behind Ffene, a business management platform for SMMEs in Africa who are struggling to stay organised, yet still use a loose-leaf notebook to keep record of clients and sales. Ffene’s vision is to get African businesses in the cloud. Whether it is accounting, inventory management or data keeping, Ffene is the one stop shop for a SMME’s accounting, customer and inventory management needs. With more than 400 current customers just three months after launch, Ffene is well on its way to revolutionising how SMMEs do business in Uganda and beyond.

For more on the Anzisha Prize, visit www.anzishaprize.org

6 Comments

  1. Olaoluwapamilerin

    August 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Nice ,if only we all can think enough ,watch out for this people in 5 years maximum.

  2. James

    August 6, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    One of the most innovative African companies I have come across is Minku. Someone should track down their CEO. They are one company that’s really doing something different and tied to the continent.

  3. X- Factor

    August 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Wow!

  4. ChicCPO

    August 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    WOW!……tho am above 25 but i believe i can start something now….So Inspired!!!

  5. kikelomo

    August 9, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    G R E A T !

  6. Tosin

    August 10, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Cooool.

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