A private international investment group, Legatum, and a philanthropic investment firm, Omidyar Network, Thursday announced the launch of the 2011 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship, one of the continent’s most prestigious business awards.
For the first time, organisers said the Africa Awards is open to entries from every country in Africa.
“Legatum and Omidyar Network share the belief that motivated entrepreneurs can foster positive social impact from within Africa,” said Matt Bannick, Managing Partner of Omidyar Network.
“We are proud to renew our support of the Africa Awards, a programme that honours and connects a growing network of leaders that are creating terrific new opportunity across the continent,” added Bannick.
Owners of profitable, growing enterprises (with annual revenues between US$1 million and US$15 million) may submit entries online (www.AfricaAwards.com) until 24 August 2011.
The Grand Prize winner will receive US$100,000 and five other companies will receive awards of US$50,000 each.
Kicking off its fourth successful year, the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship said it recognises and rewards African business leaders who embody the entrepreneurial spirit and demonstrate the qualities required to succeed in business.
The Grand Prize Winner will receive US$100,000 and five other companies will receive awards of US$50,000 each at a Gala Awards banquet on 8 December 2011in Nairobi, Kenya.
In a joint statement, the two firms said that applicants would be evaluated on key areas such as profitability, return on investment and growth; long-term business strategy; leadership, culture and values; investment in employees; innovation to address market needs; and contribution to the community.
“Entrepreneurs hold the reins of Africa’s future and the Africa Awards programme is evidence of the business revolution that is now sweeping the continent,” said Alan McCormick, managing director of Legatum.
“The Africa Awards has expanded and now for the first time is open to every country in Africa. We believe that neither location nor size of the population is a barrier to world-class entrepreneurs competing for one of the most prestigious business awards.
“Entrepreneurs drive local economies, create jobs, support communities, and deliver the most effective solution to sustainable development. They are the inspirational role models who are crucial to the future of Africa’s continued growth,” McCormick added.
The 2011 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship builds upon the highly successful 2010 programme, which included over 2,700 entries received from 15 countries and 18 different industry sectors.
Ten finalists from Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda were recognised. Since 2007, the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship programme has grown from five countries to including every country in Africa.
The announcement of this year’s Africa Awards coincides with the publication of a report on entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa from the Legatum Institute, publishers of the 110-country Global Prosperity Index.
According to the report, entrepreneurs are the “enablers of growth” who break down economic barriers and social constraints, and entrepreneurship and access to opportunity are by far the most highly correlated indicators of a nation’s overall prosperity.
The 2011 Africa Awards will conclude by honouring the ten finalists and winners in the presence of an international audience of leading business people, investors, policymakers, and entrepreneurs.
Legatum is a private investment group with a 25-year heritage of generating and allocating capital and ideas that can help people to lead more prosperous lives, and which applies its investor’s expertise to a long standing involvement in the sustainable development of communities around the globe.
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives.
Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organisation invests in and helps scale innovative organisations to catalyse economic and social change.
To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than US$400 million to for-profit companies and non-profit organisations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including micro-finance, property rights, consumer internet, mobile and government transparency