African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation Tuesday announced the finalists, two of whom are from Togo and Cote d’Ivoire, for their $75,000 Anzisha Prize for Young Entrepreneurs, PANA reported from here.
According to a statement from the organizers, for the first time ever, finalists from Togo and Cote d’Ivoire have emerged, revealing strong growth in entrepreneurship activity amongst the 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 and will fly to Johannesburg from DR Congo, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria,” the statement noted.
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 are said to have started ventures in a diverse range of economic sectors including energy, health care, tourism and hospitality.
Sam Kodo, a finalist from Togo, aged 22, is said to have begun 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 reportedly has six employees and plans to expand his business in the rest of Togo and neighbouring countries.
Seventeen-year-old Gabriel Kombassere from Cote d’Ivoire runs a farming association geared to eradicated poverty in his community.
Annually, he is said to produce 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 organizations enabling them to play a primary role in evangelizing 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,” remarked Chi Achebe, Programme Manager of Anzisha Prize.
Deepali Khanna, Director of Youth Learning at The MasterCard Foundation was also quoted saying:”We are excited to see such a talented cohort of innovative and entrepreneurial young people join the Anzisha prize community. 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 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.
The finalists 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.