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22 Year Old Cameroonian Entrepreneur Alain Nteff wins $25,000 Anzisha Prize



Fellows group shot 2Alain Nteff, founder of Gifted Mom was announced as the grand prize winner of the 2014 Anzisha Prize, receiving a $25,000 cash prize to support his business. He leads a rising tide of West African youth entrepreneurs.

Schoolbag manufacturer Thato Kgatlhanye (South Africa) was first runner up, with second runner up going to 17-year-old farmer Gabriel Kombassere (Ivory Coast). They received cash prizes of $15,000 and $12,500 respectively to catalyze their venture growth.

1395-140924pc18-year-old Tom Osborn from Kenya received a special $10,000 energy prize award from Donors Circle for Africa, for his eco-fuel venture, Greenchar. This year’s awards were judged by respected entrepreneurs Wendy Luhabe (South Africa), Khanyi Dhlomo (South Africa), Willy Mukiny Yav (DRC), Wanjiru Waithaka (Kenya) and Mohamed Nanabhay (South Africa).

The 2014 Anzisha Finalists were honoured at a prestigious ceremony last night at the Focus Rooms in Sunninghill, Johannesburg. The keynote speaker was Divine Ndhlukula, founder and Managing Director of Securico, one of Zimbabwe’s largest security companies.

Alain NteffAlain Nteff (22) founded the Gifted Mom project, an e-content platform for pregnant women in underserved areas, to help them have safe pregnancies and combat the lack of access and knowledge that has led to high mother and infant deaths in Cameroon. Gifted Mom works with health providers and medical students to create profiles for pregnant women to send automated alerts that help them track antenatal care. Since starting his project, more than 200 medical students have been trained, 1200 pregnant women impacted resulting in a 20% increase in antenatal attendance rate for pregnant women in 15 rural communities.

Thato KgatlhanyeThato Kgathlanye (21) co-founded Repurpose Schoolbags that designs schoolbags made from up-cycled plastic shopping bags integrated with solar technology. Mini solar panels are encased in the bags, charging up during the day and transforming into light for learners to study after dark. She runs a factory in Rustenburg, South Africa where she employs eight women, has impacted the lives of over 120 children and taken major strides in reducing her carbon footprint through recycling over 10,000 plastic bags.

Gabriel KombassereGabriel Kombassere (17) founded Ribla Neda, an association seeking to eradicate starvation in his region. His principle is “We may be students but we can help our parents.” Having grown up farming from the age of eight, he invested in what came naturally by asking his uncle for a piece of land and started to grow maize and cassava. He employees four students and has 30 members in his organisation. Annually, he produces over 20 bags of maize and a cargo of cassava.

Tom Osborn (18) is founder of Greenchar, a clean energy project that produces charcoal briquettes and distributes clean cook-stoves throughout Kenya. It was started to fight deforestation and the health problems that result from smoke inhalation from charcoal. Greenchar coals are carbonized, producing long-lasting, high-energy and smokeless coals, made from revitalized agricultural forests. Tom was recently named an Echoing Green fellow.

Every year it gets harder to choose a winner,” commented Josh Adler, Director for the Centre of Entrepreneurship at African Leadership Academy. “All of our finalists this year are shining examples of youth entrepreneurship – examples we hope will inspire teenagers across the continent to start and grow similar ventures.

Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, Economic Opportunities for Youth, The MasterCard Foundation, added, “We are thrilled once again to be part of this wonderful program and wish the grand prize winners every success as they invest the prize money to grow their businesses.

The Anzisha Prize received 339 applications this year from 32 countries for Africa’s premier youth entrepreneurship award.

Now in its fourth year, the Anzisha Prize is a partnership between African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation. 12 finalists were flown to Johannesburg, South Africa for the 2014 Anzisha Week that took place from 18 – 25 September where a panel of judges from across the entrepreneurial sphere convened to select the grand prize winners. They received training from African Leadership Academy’s renowned Entrepreneurial Leadership faculty and engaged with industry leaders, mentors and engaged with change agents from across the continent.


  1. Beedee

    September 26, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Amazing!they are all creative and inspiring

  2. efe

    September 26, 2014 at 10:37 am

    They are all WINNERS and SUCCESSFUL ,impacting lives very key.

  3. #cameroon

    September 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    im proud of my cameroonian brother.#cameroon going places #hein pere

  4. oj

    September 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    this should be an inspiration to we nigerians. we should stop building our hopes on multinationals and other oil companies.

  5. tunmi

    September 26, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    I am so blown, these right here….I’m speechless, absolutely genius. These should be the folks we interview.

  6. Kiks

    September 26, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    We need more of such articles.
    It has made my day
    Instead of wiz Khalifa and his cheating ways

  7. Tony

    September 26, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Good news. At least lets read something positive. The fake and bad news has become order of the day. Topics like this have the least comments. However when it has to do with witchcraft, rape, homosexuality, cheating comments would be as long as history lessons.

    The world and its people

  8. Tosin

    September 27, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Go tell it on the mountains!
    Lovely stories.

    And here in Lagos, Slum2School (which educates hundreds of children in under-served areas like Makoko, and was founded by a corper but now has many many friends and volunteers – I am a friend and fan) invites you to watch some musical theater at Terrakulture and support the charity.
    @Slum2School on twitter for details, the last show is tomorrow. It’s a really fun educational but very humorous pre-independence show presented by Crown Troupe of Africa (if you don’t know Crown Troupe…)

    Chai, I can advertise!

  9. ada

    October 1, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    wow.. i feel challenged, didnt no abt such a competition would have applied.

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