The 5th Anzisha Prize application phase is now open and the search is on to find Africa’s youngest, most exciting social and business entrepreneurs under 22 years of age. Africa is the world’s youngest continent, with over 600m people under the age of 25. The Anzisha Prize is a growing social impact program entirely focused on accelerating the entry of millions of young Africans into viable and exciting entrepreneurship opportunities within high growth economic sectors.
The impact and success of the program to date has encouraged co-hosts African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation to extend their collaboration for a further 5 years. The Anzisha Prize will be a feature of the entrepreneur landscape in Africa until 2020, and aggressively expand its activities to not only encourage young entrepreneurs, but strengthen and celebrate the ecosystem of organisations that develop young African entrepreneurial talent in this age group.
They call it the #AnzishaEffect and it is the power of stories about the very youngest entrepreneurs among us to encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Africa needs strong, innovative entrepreneurial young leaders to create jobs, solve problems and drive our economies. Our continent’s future will be determined by entrepreneurial leaders across all sectors.
“We have already seen the #AnzishaEffect at work through the inspirational stories and leadership of Anzisha Fellows like Laetitia Mukungu, Andrew Mupuya and Thato Kgatlhanye. They are now globally recognized and celebrated role models,” says Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “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.”
Each year, 12 finalists win a two-week trip to South Africa for a learning experience of a lifetime at African Leadership Academy, and share over $75,000 USD in cash funding. At a Gala Dinner, the grand prize winner is announced and recieves $25,000 with which to grow their business. From 2015, Anzisha Fellows will be actively supported through the recently launched Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit (YES-U), based at African Leadership Academy, which is a collaboration with leading business incubators on the continent. Mentorship, consulting services, community gatherings and travel opportunities will now define the fellow experience as they grow their business ventures. New programs will be announced soon that focus on and invest into other areas of the youth entrepreneur value chain.
Applications close on April 15th, 2015, and nominations are encouraged. The Anzisha Prize is one of the most accessible and inclusive pan-African opportunities for youth from any background. Application forms and information are available in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic, and the Anzisha Prize Tour team will visit key hubs and engage local media in every region. There are also over 25 country partner organisations who are available to assist applicants in countries where the tour does not reach. Both paper and electronic applications are accepted.
“There are few programs with the reach and potential of the Anzisha Prize that are so focused on this age group,” comments Josh Adler, Director for the Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership at African Leadership Academy, and Manager of the Anzisha program, “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!”