Anzisha Prize announced the finalists of its Very Young African Entrepreneurs annual competition on Thursday, September 17, 2020.

The annual competition is the brainchild of the African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation. This year's edition will come to a close at the Anzisha Prize Conference to hold on October 27, 2020.

The programme supports young Africans whose businesses are paving a new entrepreneurship landscape in Africa. That means businesses that help other young Africans pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Over the course of its 10-year existence, the Anzisha Prize has empowered 122 entrepreneurs. It has also brought jobs to over 2,000 Africans through 77 supported businesses.

Speaking on the continuing success of the program, Peter Materu, Chief Program Officer at 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, Anzisha received a record-breaking 1200 applications from entrepreneurs around the continent. Applications came from different industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, and education. Of the 1200 applications, 20 made the shortlist to the finals.

Alaa Moatmed - An Egyptian Finalist

The 2020 finalists for the Anzisha Prize are:

  • Mustapha Zeroual, 22, Morocco: founder of IA4YOU. It is a social initiative that designs digital platforms using artificial intelligence.
  • Aseitu Olivia Kipo, 22, Ghana: founder of agribusiness Kobaa-Ok. The business focuses on the production and sales of vegetables. They also provide training and advisory services for other agri-entrepreneurs with farming businesses.
  • Omonlola Loïs Aniambossou, 21, Benin: Founder of Abiathar Services. The organization offers installation, monitoring and repair services for owners of electrical appliances.
  • Ian Khonje, 20, Malawi: Founder of Ian Khonje Food Processers (IKFP). The company procures raw baobab from smallholder farmers in Malawi and Mozambique and uses them to produce baobab jam.
  • Mohamed Bah, 22, Sierra Leone: Founder of Information For All (IFA). IFA is an NGO that constructs drills and repairs water wells and toilets. The NGO enables water sustainability and hygiene for water-deprived communities.
  • Benjamin Mushayija Gisa, 21, Rwanda: founder of Kaso. It is  a  company that makes natural organic products for consumption and cosmetics. Products include honey, tea, oils, baking soda,  lotions, bee wax, coconut soap.
  • Joshua Adabie Armah, 22, Ghana: founder of PopKing Ghana. The business sells fresh popcorn in various flavours to vendors in Ghana.
  • Adjei Nyamekye, 17, Ghana: founder of Mosquito Trapping and Emergency LED Bulbs.  They make modern light bulbs that provide up to 12 hours of electricity during power outages. The bulbs also help to trap mosquitoes.
  • Wilfred Chege, 20, Kenya: the co-founder of Shulemall Limited. The innovation is  an e-commerce platform that sells utilities for boarding school students.
  • Abdelouahab Toukkart, 22, Morocco: founder of Isla Pack. The business processes used industrial paper into boxes and wrappings for confectionery items.
  • Mahlatse Matlakana, 22, South Africa: the founder of Wozilex. Wozilex is an agri-business that produces and sells vegetables.
  • Abdul Dumbuya, 21, Sierra Leone: the co-founder of a social enterprise that processes raw ginger into powder. The social enterprise uses 25% of its generated revenue to support educational programs.
  • Saly Sarr, 22, Senegal: founder of SallyMaa. It is a fashion brand that produces leather accessories for women of all ages.
  • Frida Agbor-Ebai Nenembou, 20, Cameroon: founder of Supreme Sparkle. It is a multifaceted business that offers tailoring, salon and spa services.
  • Jonathan Paul Katumba, 22, Uganda: founder of Minute5. It's an online grocery delivery service with a focus on fresh farm produce. Minute5 sources fresh produce from small-scale farmers and delivers to buying customers.
  • Alaa Moatamed, 21, Egypt: co-founder of Presto, a delivery management platform in Egypt. The company helps business owners access affordable and convenient deliver service.
  • Hamidu Biha, 22, Uganda: founder of Biha Eco Venture. It is a recycling company that uses eggshells to make eco-friendly products. Products include eco-charcoal and eco-tiles.
  • David Denis, 22, Tanzania: founder of Cutoff Recycle. It is a Tanzania-based  human hair waste recycling venture.
  • Matina Razafimahefa, 22, Madagascar: founder of an innovative EdTech venture based in Madagascar. EdTech sources, trains, and produces young Africans in industry-specific digital skills.
  • Ijeje Hephzibah, 20, Nigeria: Co-founder of Recyclift, a Nigerian-based recycling company. Recyclift focuses on recycling plastic bottles and plastic bottle caps.
Ijeje Hephzibah - A Nigerian finalist

Per the Anzisha Prize, the chosen entrepreneurs exemplify the importance of  young Africans choosing entrepreneurship to build sustainable businesses.

In preparation for the finals, the top 20 will undergo training from expert coaches and mentors. All 20 finalists will also receive a minimum cash prize of $2500. The winner of the grand prize will cart away $25,000 in grant funding. The first and second runners-up will also take away $15,000 and $12,500 respectively.

The finals will see the 20 entrepreneurs pitching to external judges for a shot at the top prize. It will also serve as an occasion to celebrate a decade of empowering African entrepreneurs. The Anzisha Conference will gather key stakeholders within the youth entrepreneurship community. Interested attendees can register for the conference to see who wins the competition. Registered attendees are also allowed to vote their favourite entrepreneurs.