Twenty one year old Linnet Muritu 21, and Twenty year old Colins Kathuli were named in the weekend in the list of 30 that will be battling for the award.
Muritu is the founder of MimiPambo, a jewellery company that uses recycled materials to create genderless pieces for everyday wear while Kathuli founder of Kyanda, a fintech business with a 360-degree digital financial service through its infrastructure that serves both individuals and businesses.
The 30 cohort of entrepreneurs comprises an exciting mix of changemakers in the agriculture, health, education, and fashion industries. They will join its three-year Venture Building Program.
The entrepreneurs join the ranks of 172 young African entrepreneurs who have benefited from the fellowship since its inception in 2011.
Businesses and entrepreneurs that show exemplary growth and initiative receive benefits and services such as short courses, cloud services, and cash stipends valued at $140 000 USD over the course of three years.
The 30 business owners were selected from across the continent following rounds of rigorous evaluation. The entrepreneurs who applied were assessed on their leadership potential, as well as the scalability and job-creation potential of their business models.
The entrepreneurs represent 11 sectors such as health and education with agriculture and consumer products having the highest representation.
Additionally, 17 African countries and all five regions within the continent have a representative in the top 30, including Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Mali, and more.
Launched in 2011, the Anzisha Prize is a partnership between the Mastercard Foundation and the Africa Leadership Academy and the only venture program of its kind in Africa.
During a week-long virtual induction, the entrepreneurs met each other and learned about what the three-year fellowship involved.
The passion, excellence, and diversity of the finalists reflects the DNA of the program. The newly formatted three-year fellowship will recognise growth and impact over some time and the fellows will have access to business training, mentoring, and learning initiatives, as well as access to key networks and the vibrant network of Anzisha alumni fellows.
At the end of the second year, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to win one of four grand prizes and will have their business growth evaluated by a panel of external judges in the following categories: Job Creation, Revenue Growth, Integrating Systems, and Storytelling. Each winner will be awarded a $10 000 USD cash prize.
The Anzisha Prize, seeks to award young entrepreneurs who have developed and implemented innovative solutions to social challenges and started successful businesses within their communities.
Now in its twelfth year, the program has been redesigned to run for three years per cohort. At the end of the three years, the fellows will graduate and join the Anzisha Prize alumni network.
“This year, we received a record number of 1,888 applications. This is particularly encouraging, as we have remodelled the program slightly to award progress and achievement over some time.
Young people are looking for committed support that improves the longevity of their businesses and it’s been especially exciting to see young women take up this opportunity with 17 young women being part of the top 30.
This is also bolstered by a few fintech businesses, showing a growing trend. Having worked with early-age entrepreneurs over the last decade and seeing their impact on the economy, we continue to create an enabling environment – making it easier for them to do business through support programs like ours, which build debt-free instruments that are useful for these entrepreneurs,” says Josh Adler, Executive Director of Anzisha Prize.
“One of the most exciting things we have seen with the Anzisha Prize is that young entrepreneurs who create jobs are far more likely to hire other young people.
As a Foundation focused on enabling 30 million young people in Africa, particularly young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work, the implications of this finding are clear: investing in young people’s leadership—including as entrepreneurs—is profoundly catalytic.
It is part of how we will solve some of the world’s more complex challenges—including youth unemployment,” says Philip Cotton, Executive Director of Human Capital Development at the Mastercard Foundation.
As the past two years have shown, innovative young people need to be encouraged to pursue non-traditional career paths to secure their future and transform their communities for the better.