2016 Anzisha Prize for Africa applications open, new $25,000 prize category created


The 6th Anzisha Prize application phase is now open, and the search is on to find 12 of Africa’s youngest, most innovative social and business entrepreneurs under the age of 22. Organisers are calling for more nominations from the public this year to ensure they discover the very best talent on the continent.

African Leadership Academy (ALA) and The MasterCard Foundation – co-hosts of the Anzisha Prize – are also excited to announce a significant increase in the support available to selected entrepreneurs over the next five years. Each of the 12 finalists will now receive a US $7,500 fellowship package with the ALA’s Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit (YES-U) which includes the Anzisha Week boot camp, mentorship and consulting services, travel opportunities to network and business equipment.

In addition, a new US $25,000 prize category has been created to recognize Anzisha Fellows who have created further social and economic value through their ventures by effectively leveraging the opportunities provided by the fellowship with ALA.

This brings the total prize pool to US $100,000 annually, with the Grand Prize Winner taking home US $25,000, 1st Runner-up receiving US $15,000 and 2nd Runner-up receiving $12,500 USD. The remaining nine finalists will receive US $2,500 each.

“It is essential that we nurture young, African entrepreneurial talent if we want to see the economic gains we all hope for in the future,” says Koffi Assouan, Program Manager for the Anzisha Prize at The MasterCard Foundation. “Through the provision of leadership skills, access to finance and business networking opportunities, these young entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to reach their full potential and to improve their lives and the lives of others.”

The prize is open to any African national under the age of 22 with an active project, social venture or for-profit business based on the continent. Judging criteria for the prize have been refined for 2016 to better represent the entrepreneurial talent that the Anzisha Prize wants to uncover and support. These criteria can be found in all application materials.

Applications will close on 15 April 2016, and the Anzisha Prize team wants to encourage nominations from teachers, parents and community members to identify talented young people. The Anzisha Prize is one of the most accessible and inclusive pan-African opportunities for youth. Application forms and information are available in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic, and the Anzisha Prize Tour team will visit key hubs across the continent and engage local media in every region. Both paper and electronic applications are accepted.

“The true impact of our work is only possible if we can find the top entrepreneurial potential wherever it may be,” comments Grace Kalisha, Manager of the Anzisha Program at African Leadership Academy, “If anyone out there has seen or heard of young people running amazing projects or businesses, we want to hear from you!”

The 2015 Grand Prize winners were Chris Kwekowe, (Nigeria), Fabrice Alomo (Cameroon) and Mabel Suglo (Ghana).

The Anzisha Prize aims to stimulate, celebrate, nurture and scale young African entrepreneurs and catalyse the ecosystem that supports them. It seems to recognise young innovators, aged 15 – 22, who have developed and implemented solutions to challenges facing their communities and created dynamic businesses. The program celebrates young leaders who are blazing a trail for others to follow.

African Leadership Academy (ALA) seeks to transform Africa by developing a powerful network of entrepreneurial leaders who will work together to achieve extraordinary social impact. Each year, ALA brings together the most promising young leaders from all 54 African nations for a pre-university program in South Africa with a focus on leadership, entrepreneurship and African studies.
About The MasterCard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa.