For the first time ever, African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation are delighted to have Anzisha Prize finalists from Togo and Ivory Coast, revealing strong growth in entrepreneurship activity amongst youth in West Africa. Five young women are among the 12 finalists in the running for the $75,000 prize money that will be awarded on 23 September 2014, and will fly to Johannesburg from DRC, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria.
The Anzisha prize scours the continent seeking to find entrepreneurial youth between the ages of 15 and 22, who have identified opportunities to better their communities and done so inclusively. This year’s finalists have started ventures in a diverse range of economic sectors including energy, health care, tourism and hospitality.
Sam Kodo (Togo), 22, began designing robots at the age of eight and now runs an IT hardware company that assembles low cost computers that he sells to students. He has six employees and plans to expand the rest of Togo and neighbouring countries. Gabriel Kombassere (Ivory Coast), 17, runs a farming association geared to eradicated poverty in his community. Annually, he produces maize and cassava feeding the association’s 30 members and their families.
“2014 has been an exciting one for the Anzisha Prize search team. We brokered partnerships with key local organisations enabling them to play a primary role in evangelising the Anzisha Prize in their country. This has led to not only a stronger pool of applications but also more female applicants than ever before.” said Chi Achebe, Program Manager, Anzisha Prize.
“We are excited to see such a talented cohort of innovative and entrepreneurial young people join the Anzisha prize community,” said Deepali Khanna, Director of Youth Learning at The MasterCard Foundation. “This Pan-African prize has had tremendous success over the past four years and is inspiring other young entrepreneurs across Africa to develop their own businesses or social innovation ventures.“
Now in its fourth year, the Anzisha Prize received 339 applications this year from 32 countries for Africa’s premier youth entrepreneurship award.
The 2014 finalists are:
– Benedicte Mundele, 20, DRC. Founder of Surprise Tropical, an organic local produce canteen to promote a healthy lifestyle in her community.
– Gabriel Kombassere, 17, Ivory Coast. Founder of Rible Neda, a farming association that produces 20 bags of maize and 1 cargo of cassava per year feeding its members and their families.
– Noah Walakira, 21, Uganda. Founder of Namirembe Sweater Makers, a community based organization that provides school uniform sweaters to over 40 schools across the country.
– Nteff Alain, 22, Cameroon. Founder of the gifted Mom project, an e-content platform for pregnant women to combat the high mother and infancy deaths.
– Winifred Selby, 19, Ghana. Founder of the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, a bamboo bike making technology to manufacture affordable multi-purpose bikes suitable for the Ghanaian terrain.
– Tom Osborn, 18, Kenya. Founder of Greenchar, a clean energy project that produces smokeless charcoal briquettes and distributes clean cook stoves throughout Kenya.
– Martha Chumo, 19, Kenya. Founder of Nairobi Developer School, an institution that provides the youth with computer programming knowledge and skills to build sustainable solutions using technology.
– Chineye Okoro Onu, 19, Ghana. Founder of the Mosaicpiration Project, an initiative that uses recycled material to create art and impact entrepreneurial skills to young people through training and mentorship.
– Chukwuwezam Obanor, 22, Nigeria. Founder of Prepclass, an online platform that provides study content (past tests, answers etc.) for local Nigerian schools in preparation for national exams.
– Thato Kgatlhanye, 21, South Africa. Founder of Repurpose Schoolbags, an initiative that designs school bags made from up-cycled plastic shopping bags that integrate solar technology, charging up during the day and transforming into light for learners to study after dark.
– Jeffrey Mulaudzi, 22, South Africa. Founder of Mulaudzi Bicycle Tours, a lifestyle tour in Alexandra township that engages members of the community by telling their stories and enveloping them into the business, creating a socio-economic transformation.
– Sam Kodo, 22, Togo. Founder of LC-COM (Low cost-Computer) / Infinite Loop, a company that produces low cost personal computers for students.
The Anzisha Prize is a partnership between African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation. The 12 finalists will be flown to Johannesburg, South Africa for the 2014 Anzisha Week taking place from 18 – 25 September where a panel of judges from across the entrepreneurial sphere will convene to select the grand prize winners. They will receive training from African Leadership Academy’s renowned Entrepreneurial Leadership faculty and engage with industry leaders, mentors as well as engage with change agents from across the continent.
The Anzisha Prize team is running a social media campaign where members of the public can rally behind the young entrepreneurs and offer words of support and encouragement on their Anzisha journey. For more information on the Anzisha Prize and the campaign, go to: