The Anzisha Prize has revealed its top 20 finalists for 2020.
Winners will be announced at this year’s Anzisha Prize Conference on 27 October, when the programme will be celebrating 10 years of supporting young entrepreneurs.
This year’s application season saw a record number of 1,200 applicants vying for a chance to join the Anzisha Prize fellowship.
From these applications, 20 businesses emerged that were 45 per cent female-owned and represented sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and education. Young entrepreneurs from Morocco, South Africa and Tanzania displayed impressive ventures that are tackling critical issues within their communities while also turning a profit.
Through their businesses and entrepreneurial leadership skills, these job starters are paving a way for other young Africans to pursue entrepreneurship, according to a statement by Anzisha.
Selected as a top-20 finalist is 21-year-old Alaa Moatamed who is the co-founder of Presto, a company she described as one of the leading delivery management platforms in Egypt.
The venture provides business owners with an affordable and convenient delivery service for their customers.
Joining Alaa is 20-year-old Benjamin Mushayija Gisa from Rwanda who manufactures and packages natural organic products for consumption and for cosmetic purposes in the form of lotions and coconut soap.
“2020 has seen a global shift in the future of work. This year’s applicants have personified the resilience and innovation that Africa needs as we navigate our way into a post-COVID-19 future,” said Melissa Mbazo-Ekepenyong, Deputy Director of the Anzisha Prize.
For the past decade, the Anzisha Prize, which is a partnership between the African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, has championed and supported young African entrepreneurs such as Alaa and Benjamin.
The programme has supported 122 entrepreneurs and 77 of those businesses have created over 2,000 jobs, with 56 per cent of those being employment provided for young Africans under 25.
Peter Materu, Chief Programme Officer, Mastercard Foundation said, “The success of the Anzisha Prize over the last decade stands as a resounding testament to the creativity and entrepreneurial potential of Africa’s very young people—a hugely under-tapped resource.
“Through Anzisha, we’re reminded of what they can achieve when challenged and enabled to own and solve the problems they see around them. Now, as ever, the innovations that have emerged through the Anzisha Prize inspire and renew our faith in and commitment to their promise.”
This year, the top 20 will gather virtually from their various countries to share knowledge and learn from expert coaches and mentors as they prepare for their final pitches to a panel of external judges. All the entrepreneurs will receive a cash prize of $2,500 and the grand prize winner will receive $25,000, while the first runner-up and second runner-up receive $15,000 and $12,500 respectively.