Best Aiyorworth of Uganda being awarded the 2013 Anzisha Prize for her Girls’ Power Micro Lending Organisation.
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Entries are open for the African Leadership Academy’s US$75 000 Anzisha Prize, the continent’s top award for innovative social and business entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 22.
The Anzisha Prize identifies exceptional young entrepreneurs who have started and actively run a social venture or for-profit business, demonstrating ingenuity, scale and positive impact. Over US$75 000 in cash will be shared by 12 finalists. Entries close on 1 April 2014.
“This year, we’re determined to reach far and wide through our youth development partners, schools and the media to find the very best of Africa’s youngest entrepreneurial talent,” says Chi Achebe, the prize’s programme manager. “We encourage everyone to help us by nominating amazing young people in their own communities who have started a project or business with potential.”
The 12 finalists will be flown to South Africa for a one-week entrepreneurship programme run by the African Leadership Academy, after which the grand prize winners will be announced. Finalists also get the chance to become Anzisha fellows, a growing network of Africa’s top young businesspeople.
Find out more about the Anzisha Prize:
Last year’s grand prize winner was Best Aiyorworth of Uganda, who started the Girls’ Power Micro Lending Organisation, a micro finance business that loans women the capital they need to start and grow a businesses, support their daughters and ensure they get an education.
Thirty-three Anzisha fellows have been selected since the awards were first held in 2011. They include:
- Barclay Paul Okari of Kenya is one of the co-founders of Safi-pads, which produces, markets, and sells inexpensive, reusable and washable sanitary towels for women and young girls in his country, enabling better school attendance.
- Kolawole Olajide is the chief developer and co-founder of Funda, an online learning management system that brings together and organises educational resources, improving lives of teachers, students and corporates in South Africa and beyond.
- Khaled Shady of Egypt is the inventor of Mubser, a wearable belt for the visually impaired, fully equipped with Bluetooth and Microsoft Kinect, which allows the wearer to navigate safely around objects and obstacles, using a system of vibrating motors.
- Faisal Burhan is an inventor who designed and built a gas-producing biodigester, as well as a powerful microscope for science classes at his local school in Tanzania, using only sheet metal and other basic raw materials.
‘Pan-African network of business innovators’
The Anzisha Prize is presented in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation, which works to promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. “The Anzisha Fellows are a group of exceptional young entrepreneurs who are creating jobs, improving lives, and forming a truly pan-African network of business innovators,” says Reeta Roy, CEO of the foundation. “This prize provides them with an opportunity to learn from each other, and develop skills to grow their businesses and make a greater impact in their communities.”
This year, the Anzisha Prize has partnered with a youth NGOs across Africa to extend its reach. Anzisha country partners for 2014 include the Knowledge Institute in Swaziland, Egypt’s the District in, iEARN, which operates in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Mali, and the multi-nation AIESEC and Junior Achievement.
Aspiring fellows can apply directly online at anzishaprize.org or at the offices of any one of the 2014 country partners. Application forms are available in English, French or Arabic, and will be accepted through April 1 2014.
The Anzisha Prize team will also be visiting key regional hubs in the next few weeks to encourage applications as part of the annual Anzisha Prize Tour. The 2014 prize tour cities are Lagos in Nigeria, Cairo in Egypt, and Nairobi in Kenya, which will also host regional gatherings for all past Anzisha fellows in each region.
Best Aiyorworth of Uganda tells her story:
Edited by Mary Alexander