This year's winner of the $25,000 grand prize in the 5th year of the Anzisha Prize for youth entrepreneurship is Chris Kwekowe (22) of Nigeria, founder of Slatecube, which offers job-relevant skills learning platform and job placement services.
Slatecube has had significant success to date with potential for scale and will serve as an inspiring beacon for other youth interested in entrepreneurship. Kwekowe founded it to increase job access for youth through creating a platform on which they can build job-relevant skills and linking them with virtual internship opportunities that enable them to develop experience. His vision for the venture is to see it grow into a wide-scale provider of relevant job market access, with increasing ability to open doors for job seekers. "I did not believe that I could have won the prize when the competition started. However, I feel confident in what I can achieve now, given the capital and training that I have received through the Anzisha Prize. I congratulate all the other finalists as I believe they were all very impressive and look forward to engaging them as we support each other to grow going forward," he says.
The first runner up was Fabrice Alomo from Cameroon, founder of My AConnect. The venture aims to increase the ease with which unbanked people in Cameroon transact and gain access to financial services and the second runner up was Mabel Suglo from Ghana, founder of Eco Shoes. Mabel offers an assortment of shoes and accessories that are fashionable and Afro-themed, using recycled materials. Her employee-base is predominantly disabled individuals.
The 2015 Finalists were celebrated at a prestigious invitation-only ceremony on 17 November 2015 at Room Five in Rivonia, Johannesburg. The keynote speaker was Alex Okosi, pioneer of MTV Networks in Africa, a staunch proponent for a truly African voice for youth.
The Anzisha Sector Prize in Agriculture was awarded to Chantal Butare, founder of Kinazi Dairy Cooperative. Her cooperative collects milk from over 3 000 families in her community and processes the milk for sale. She generates income for these families, as well as for ten milk collectors who are in her employ. Her ambition is motivate sufficient capital to mechanize her process and increase scale to create revenue for yet more families in her community.
"Over the past five years, we have seen the Anzisha Prize evolve from a one-time prize for social entrepreneurship, to an entire community of young, innovative leaders across Africa who have access to comprehensive support and networking opportunities," says Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation. "I continue to be impressed by the calibre of youth entrepreneurs that Africa has to offer and congratulate them on their ability to inspire both ourselves and the rest of the continent."
Applications for the next cycle of the Anzisha Prize will open on the 15th of February in 2016. However, nominations for promising youth entrepreneurs are open all year round. For more information, go to www.anzishaprize.org.