African entrepreneurs under the age of 22 have until April 15 to submit applications for the fifth Anzisha Prize, which aims to identify Africa’s most exciting young social and business entrepreneurs.
This year, the prize was expanding to provide increased support to entrepreneurial youth and partner organisations in driving pan-African economic growth to 2020.
There were more than 600-million people under the age of 25 in Africa and the Anzisha Prize was a growing social-impact programme focused on accelerating the entry of millions of young Africans into viable and exciting entrepreneurship opportunities within high-growth economic sectors.
The impact of the programme, to date, has encouraged co-hosts African Leadership Academy and MasterCard Foundation to extend their collaboration for another five years.
The Anzisha Prize would be a feature of the entrepreneur landscape in Africa until 2020 and would work to not only encourage young entrepreneurs, but also to strengthen and celebrate the ecosystem of organisations that develop young African entrepreneurial talent.
MasterCard Foundation president and CEO Reeta Roy said in a statement that Africa needed strong, innovative entrepreneurial young leaders to create jobs, solve problems and drive economies and added that the continent’s future would be determined by entrepreneurial leaders across all sectors.
“We’re excited about expanding our support of the Anzisha Prize so that many more young entrepreneurs in Africa can make a lasting impact in their communities and countries,” noted Roy.
Each year, 12 finalists won a two-week trip to South Africa for a learning experience at African Leadership Academy and shared over $75 000 in cash funding.
The grand prize winner was announced at a gala dinner and received $25 000 with which to grow their business.
From this year, Anzisha Fellows would be actively supported through the recently launched Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit (YES-U), based at African Leadership Academy, which collaborated with business incubators on the continent.
Mentorship, consulting services, community gatherings and travel opportunities would define the fellow experience as they grow their business ventures. New programmes would be announced soon that focus on and invest into other areas of the youth entrepreneur value chain.
“There are few programmes with the reach and potential of the Anzisha Prize that are so focused on this age group. This year, we will see the various parts of the ecosystem we’ve been investing into since 2010 begin to really work together for the benefit of Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs, wherever they may be,” said Anzisha Prize programme manager Josh Adler.