The finalists, who are between ages 17 and 21, and selected from over 550 applicants from 32 African countries, are described below.
Aly Abd ElAzem (20) from Egypt.
Co-founder of Teens Club, a city youth hub providing teenagers with a platform for professional self-development by linking them to experts, improving their skillset, and providing a safe space for the expression of opinions and talents, with 30,000 youth applying to participate in the program in 2015 alone.
Issam Darui (22) from Morocco.
Founder of ma, an electronic bus station in Morocco, available in 10 languages and 25 currencies, established to provide efficient travel services for the first time in Morocco, with schedules to over 150 destinations.
Ifrah Mohamed (19) from Kenya.
Founder of Supermom, which empowers unemployed and under-employed women by providing them with jobs in a door-to-door last mile distribution network for essential goods in rural Kenya, with over 20 “super moms” in the network.
Benedict Kusi Ampofo (22) from Ghana.
Founder of Project KIRIKU, a demonstration farm aiming to create sustainable agricultural communities with reduced poverty, providing over 60 farmers with skills, knowledge and agricultural innovations.
Lamine Chamsiya (21) from Niger.
Founder of E3D Cosmetique, which manufactures and markets a range of neem-based hair and skin cosmetic products with antiseptic properties.
Yaye Souadou Fall (21) from Senegal.
Founder of E-cover, which produces innovative multi-purpose tiles for paving, playgrounds, swimming pools, shoe soles and other products, from recycled tyres, employing six people to date.
Geoffrey Mulei (20) from Kenya.
Founder of INKISHA, aimed at increasing access to eco-friendly packaging among African consumers by partnering with advertisers and innovative brands, providing around 350,000 free bags monthly, supported by an innovative revenue model.
N’guessan Koffi Jacques Olivier (19) from Cote d’Ivoire.
Founder of The Yaletite Entrepreneurship Group CI, an ambitious initiative producing and marketing food crops for profit, locating subsidies for students with disabilities, and mobilizing youth for employment, with over 30 people employed.
Heritiana Fabien Randriamananatahina (22) from Madagascar.
Founder of FIOMBONANA, an agro-processing initiative that drives import substitution through local manufacture of dairy products and confectioneries, sourcing from local farmers with 12 people currently employed.
Faustino Quissico (22)
Founder of TQ Group and Services, which supplies, installs and maintains hardwood floors, sourcing inputs and providing employment to 13 people.
Asha Abbas (17) from Tanzania.
Founder of Aurateen, an online platform providing teenage health and sex education by raising awareness of high-risk behaviours, working with medical practitioners and youth experts, and offering counselling services both online and in-person.
Andrew Ddembe (20) from Uganda.
Serial entrepreneur, and Founder of Heart for the Hurt, a diversified business supplying school uniforms, restaurant services and growing coffee, all of which reduce income variability for the business and around 30 employees, who predominantly have speech difficulties.
“The tide is turning around the youth entrepreneurship narrative in Africa,” said Grace Kalisha, Anzisha Prize Senior Programs Manager.
She added, “There has been an extraordinary rise of Africa-bred entrepreneurs in the continent and their stories are being told. We are pleased that such an impressive group of entrepreneurs will participate in the Anzisha Prize this year. This is a promise of great things to come for African entrepreneurship.”
The 12 finalists will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Johannesburg, South Africa for a rigorous two-week business accelerator camp beginning on October 13, 2016.
The grand prize winner, chosen by a group of unbiased judges and The grand prize-winner will be announced at an exclusive gala event on October 25, 2016.
In addition to winning a share of the prize money, each of the 12 finalists will receive a US$7,500 fellowship package courtesy of ALA’s Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit (YES-U).
The fellowship package includes business support, implementation of projects to grow their businesses, access to business subject matter experts and access to numerous networking opportunities.
“The momentum behind the Anzisha Prize has grown and we are starting to see a real impact. Anzisha Fellows are forming a strong, African network of young business innovators that transcends their individual sectors and geographical areas. They are learning from each other, growing their ventures and advancing the spirit of social entrepreneurship,” said Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation.
The 2015 edition of the competition was won by Nigerian entrepreneur and technology consultant, Chris Kwekowe, taking home the US$25,000 in the process.
His startup, Slatecube, which offers a job-relevant skills learning platform and job placement services, impressed the judges.
The Anzisha Prize, termed Africa’s premier award for our young entrepreneurs, is the brainchild of the African Leadership Academy, and is sponsored by The MasterCard Foundation and Louis Dreyfus Foundation.