The Anzisha Prize has today announced that from Feb. 17th, 2021, they will start accepting applications for its 11th annual search to find Africa’s youngest, most exciting social and business entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 to 22 and award them.
Accepting application will close on March 30th, 2021, which will later go through an evaluation process, due diligence made on July 30th, 2021, where winners will be announced in August 30th, 2021. Successful entrepreneurs will sharing the cash prize of USD$100,000 (approximately UGX36.6 million) and join the prestigious Anzisha Prize fellowship program.
The Mastercard Foundation and African Leadership Academy have called on young African entrepreneurs to join the Anzisha Prize Fellowship Program. Entrepreneurs are advised to download the application guide or apply for the prize at anzishaprize.org/apply.
Last year the Anzisha Prize, and a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, celebrated 10 years of supporting Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs. The three parties announced and awarded winners of the 2020 Anzisha Prize competition —which saw Egyptian Entrepreneur, Alaa Moatamed, 21 emerge as the overall winner. Matina Razafimahefa (Madagascar) and Mohamed Bah (Sierra Leone) came as first and second runners-up respectively.
Their solutions were able to help businesses to cope with demand during the outbreak of Covid-19, as well as provided a pivot to online learning platforms. As the pandemic still disrupts the world, young entrepreneurs are building opportunities for their communities and peers.
“The world of work has drastically changed as we experience a global pandemic. Young entrepreneurs have remained steadfast and have supported their communities through difficulties. We’re thrilled to celebrate the next 20 young business owners who are, no doubt, paramount to job creation on the continent,” Ms. Melissa Mbazo-Ekpenyong, Deputy Director of the Anzisha Prize, said in a press statement.
It is reportedly said that young entrepreneurs are among the hardest hit during the Covid-19 crisis. An international Survey from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) states that nearly 90% of young entrepreneurs report a negative impact on their business, including reduced customer demand, supply chain disruptions, and distribution disruptions.
Women-led businesses across Africa are more susceptible to closure than those led by men because of the pandemic. To boost support of female entrepreneurs, the program is encouraging young women to apply to access various offerings of the fellowship and become role models for other young women who want to pursue entrepreneurship.
Daniel Hailu, the Regional Head, Eastern and Southern Africa, Mastercard Foundation, said, “To drive economic recovery in Africa, we’ve to tap into every available resource. That includes young entrepreneurs and young women entrepreneurs. Doing so takes intentionality.”
Hailu concludes that the Anzisha Prizes’ commitment to identifying and supporting very young entrepreneurs has only become more important in the wake of the pandemic. And the creativity, agility, and resourcefulness of young people has only become more valuable.
As the future of work is altered by a global pandemic, job creation by young entrepreneurs remains an important solution for youth unemployment. Youth employment continues to be a key challenge in many countries and Africa’s high unemployment rate is one of the leading barriers to growth prosperity on the continent.
Young entrepreneurs are an indication that the youth demographic could be the asset needed to transform the continent’s employment climate. Supporting and investing in them is smart business for an economically strong future, according to Anzisha.
Through the Anzisha Prize initiative, to date, the 142 business owners in the program have created more than 2,500 jobs.