Every year, Africa’s youngest, most innovative social and business entrepreneurs under the age of 22 are recognized by the Anzisha Prize, an initiative of the African Leadership Academy (ALA) and the MasterCard Foundation. The top three winners out of a shortlisted 12 win a total of $75,000; this has been increased to $100,000 in 2016. Organisers are now calling for more nominations from the public this year to ensure they discover the very best talent on the continent.
“It is essential that we nurture young, African entrepreneurial talent if we want to see the economic gains we all hope for in the future,” says Koffi Assouan, Program Manager for the Anzisha Prize at The MasterCard Foundation. “Through the provision of leadership skills, access to finance and business networking opportunities, these young entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to reach their full potential and to improve their lives and the lives of others.”
Sponsors of the Prize have announced a significant increase in the support available to selected entrepreneurs over the next five years. Each of the 12 finalists will now receive a $7,500 fellowship package with the ALA’s Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit (YES-U) which includes the Anzisha Week boot camp, mentorship and consulting services, travel opportunities to network and business equipment.
In addition, a new $25,000 prize category has been created to recognize Anzisha Fellows who have created further social and economic value through their ventures by effectively leveraging the opportunities provided by the fellowship with ALA.
This brings the total prize pool to $100,000 annually, with the Grand Prize Winner taking home $25,000, 1st Runner-up receiving $15,000 and 2nd Runner-up receiving $12,500. The remaining nine finalists will receive $2,500 each.