Rewarding Youth-Led Change In Africa: Anzisha Prize Winners 2015

Rewarding Youth-Led Change In Africa: Anzisha Prize Winners 2015

Three 22-year-old entrepreneurs from Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana shared $52, 500 in Anzisha Prize money this week at a ceremony in Johannesburg where they were rewarded for innovations that embody the spirit of youth-led change in Africa.

Prizes totaling $75,000 went to inventors of uniquely African solutions ranging from a low-tech milk cooperative to an electronic currency platform.

Winners were chosen from among 494 young entrepreneurial applicants in 33 African countries vying for a chance to get global recognition and ongoing support to scale their enterprises and expand their impact.

The Anzisha Prize team — a partnership between the African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation — searched for African entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 22, according to an earlier AFKInsider report.

Nigerian Chris Kwekowe, 22, is the grand prize winner of $25,000. He is the founder of Slatecube, a job placement service and job-relevant skills-learning platform. Slatecube has already enjoyed success and has the potential for scale. Judges were impressed with its ability to inspire other youth interested in entrepreneurship, according to Anzisha.org.

Kwekowe founded Slatecube to increase job access for youth. His platform links users with virtual internship opportunities that help them gain experience. His vision is to see it grow.

The first thing you see on the Slatecube website is its ability to connect with viewers. The second is this testimonial by Dehab Gebreab, U.S. Consul General to Nigeria: “It’s amazing to see how Slatecube’s ingenuity and creativity can solve a problem as herculean as unemployment.”

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When he started in the competition, Kwekowe said he didn’t believe he could have won the prize. “But I feel confident in what I can achieve now given the capital and training that I have received through the Anzisha Prize,” he said.

Fabrice Alomo, 22, from Cameroon, is first runner up, winning $15,000 for My AConnect, a venture that aims to make it easier for 17 million unbanked Cameroonians to access to financial services. My AConnect provides AMoney and electronic currency that people can use to buy things at more than 500 businesses by depositing money through charge cards.

Mabel Suglo, 22, from Ghana, won $12,500 as second runner up with Eco Shoes — a line of Afro-themed shoes and accessories made by mostly disabled people using recycled materials. She aims to increase their economic participation through job opportunities, Anzisha Prize says. Suglo believes that disability is not inability.

The Anzisha Prize in Agriculture went to Rwandan Chantal Butare, founder of Kinazi Dairy Cooperative. Butare’s co-op collects milk from over 3,000 families in her community and processes it for sale. She generates income for these families and employs 10 milk collectors. Her ambition is to get enough capital to mechanize her process and grow to create revenue for yet more families in her community.

“Chantal is a shining example of youth role models that Anzisha Prize aims to celebrate: Youth who are operating successfully in sectors that are considered non-traditional for youth, but that have immense potential to catalyze economic growth in Africa,” Anzisha Prize said.

You can check out all 12 Anzisha prize 2015 finalists here at AFKInsider.