Honoring Role Models: 2013 Africa Awards For Entrepreneurship

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Written by Dana Sanchez

The Gambia’s first Internet provider and a Madagascar producer of organic manure from bat droppings were among a diverse group of business owners named African Entrepreneurs of the Year, according to a report in The Guardian.

The 2013 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship were held Oct. 4 at a gala in Mauritius, now in its seventh year and organised by the African Leadership Network. Award judges had to whittle down thousands of entries from 35 countries to produce 12 finalists. More than $200,000 of prize money was awarded to the winning African entrepreneurs who were able to demonstrate business excellence and social impact.

For the fourth consecutive year, the awards were sponsored by the Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives.

Each winner demonstrated the courage and determination needed to create positive change in Africa, said Malik Fal, managing director of Omidyar Network Africa. “While a culture of entrepreneurship is growing in Africa, the value of role models such as these cannot be underestimated.”

The winners include:

Lifetime achievement award: Dr. Manilal Premchand Chandaria, one of the most accomplished industrialists and entrepreneurs in Africa. He is CEO of Comcraft Group, a billion-dollar industrial sector conglomerate with business operations in 40-plus countries.

Transformational business award: Interswitch, a Nigeria-based integrated payment and transaction processing company that provides technology integration, advisory services, transaction-processing and payment infrastructure to government, banks and corporate organisations.

Outstanding mature business award: QuantamNet is Gambia’s first and largest Internet service provider, leading distributor of global technology brands and luxury vehicles, with business operations in Gambia and Sierra Leone.

Outstanding small and growing business award: Guanomad is a a company that produces and supplies natural fertilizers and organic manures from bat droppings in Madagascar’s caves for use in organic agriculture.

Outstanding social entrepreneur award: Sustainable Development For All is a Kenyan company that aims to improve livelihoods and education in areas without electricity, by providing households with solar energy.

Finalists included the following, according to a report in NewEra.

•   Haggar Holdings Co. Ltd. (Sudan), one of Sudan’s largest fast-moving consumer goods and information and communications technology conglomerates.

•   Chemi & Cotex Ltd. (Tanzania), a leading East African fast-moving consumer goods company, and leading distributor of beauty products in Tanzania.

•   MODE (Kenya), one of the most innovative technology companies that provides mobile value-added services to mobile network operators in 12 African countries.

•   Pygma Communications (Democratic Republic of Congo), an integrated communication services company offering advertising, Sims audio/visual production, public relations, event management, and media strategy services in the DRC.

•   VIA Aviation (Tanzania), the first-of-a-kind private-jet logistics firm in Tanzania that provides clearance permits and ground handling services for companies and individuals who own and operate private jets.

•  Koko King Ltd. (Ghana), provides traditional breakfast meals in Ghana. The company has grown from delivering 20 meals by taxi in 2007 to an operation with more than 200 employees and 100 outlets.

•   Golden Baobab (Ghana), an awards program that recognizes and awards the most talented writers and illustrators in Africa with cash prizes to encourage books that inspire the imagination of African children.

•   Akili Dada (Kenya), a leadership incubator investing in high-achieving young African women from underprivileged backgrounds who are passionate about social change.