Top 16 Youth Owned Brands Awards expands to include Pan African categories

The launch of the third Annual Top 16 Youth Owned Brands Awards (YOBAs) has introduced the inclusion of other African countries in the awards to recognise and celebrate the brands that are owned and run by the youth.

Youth influence

The title 'Top 16' symbolises the importance of the youth's influence on 16 June 1976.

The African Union (AU) dubbed 16 June as the Day of an African Child, hence the introduction of the new categories to include the rest of Africa.

These categories will highlight the efforts of young Africans in challenging the status quo through job creation and contributing to the country's economic growth.

In addition to the new Pan African categories, other new categories include Top Manufacturing Brand, Top Women-Owned Brand and Top Creative & Arts Brand.

There will also be a special award for a young South African who embodied global excellence and stature. Some previous categories have been merged: Food and Beverages; Education and Literature; Footwear and Accessories.

Below is the full list of all the 2024 categories:

  • Top Agriculture Brand
  • Top Apparel Brand
  • Top Creative and Arts Brand
  • Top Food and Beverage Brand
  • Top Footwear and Accessories
  • Top Hair and Beauty Brand
  • Top Homeware Brand
  • Top Education and Literature Brand
  • Top NPOs and Charity Brand
  • Top Technology Brand
  • Top Health and Wellness Brand
  • Top Manufacturing Brand
  • Top Media Brand
  • Top Personality and Influencer Brand
  • Top Services Brand
  • Top Travel and Tourism Brand

Notably, the YOBAs have expanded their reach beyond South Africa by including the Pan African Brands category, which encompasses the Top West African Brand, Top East African Brand, and Top SADC Brand, which aim to recognise and celebrate youth-owned brands from Pan African countries.

“This year, the YOBAs will be bigger than they have ever been. We are excited about the new categories. They are the reflection of our commitment to act on the feedback that we receive from our stakeholders. The festival will feature exhibitors from other parts of the continent”, said Pat Mahlangu founder of the Top 16 Youth-Owned Brands Awards.

Nominations are officially open on 13 February 2024 and will close on 17 April 2024. The public can nominate their favourite youth-owned brands or brands of their choice on the YOBAs website

Before nominating a brand, the public is encouraged to consider the following criteria:

  • The brand should be owned and operated by individuals aged between 18 and 35.
  • The brand must have been established for more than a year.
  • the brand should have a website with its name as the domain, although this is not mandatory.
  • The brand should have an active presence on social media or any other form of digital footprint.
  • The brand must operate in one or more of the listed categories.
  • The brand should be South African, except for pan-African categories.

The awards will be preceded by the two-day Festival of Youth-Owned Brands on 20 and 21 June 2024. The awards ceremony will be held on the evening of the 21 June 2024 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Tickets will be available from 1 March 2024.

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