The African Leadership Academy and the MasterCard Foundation have announced Heritiaina Randriamananatahina, a 22 year-old agriculture entrepreneur from Madagascar, as this year’s winner of the US $25,000 Grand Prize in the sixth annual edition of Africa’s premier award for youth entrepreneurship.
Heritiaina is the founder of Fiombonana, an agro-processing enterprise that manufactures dairy products and confectioneries using only Malagasy raw materials, employing farmers and providing local job opportunities. He was selected from a competitive pool of diverse entrepreneurs from all over Africa. This is the first time the Anzisha Prize has been won by a finalist from Madagascar.
This year, Anzisha Prize celebrated increased representation of winners from francophone countries. The first runner-up was environmental entrepreneur Yaye Souadou Fall, 21, from Senegal (who will receive US $15,000) while agricultural entrepreneur N’guessan Koffi Jacques Olivier, 19, from Côte d’Ivoire was the second runner-up (and will receive US $12,500).
The presence of two agriculture entrepreneurs in the top three is emblematic of the important role agriculture plays in Africa’s economies. Agriculture represented the sector with the largest share of applicants for the prize this year. The Agriculture Sector Prize was also claimed by N’guessan Koffi Jacques Olivier who demonstrated the potential for agriculture to create jobs for youth.
As the Grand Prize-winner, Heritiaina impressed a pan-African panel of judges with his venture response to a real need within his community, effective business model, job-creation potential, scalability, and demonstrated leadership potential. Fiombonana has enjoyed significant success to date including sizeable growth as Fiombonana produces 800 kg of cheese a week, with potential for rapid and low cost expansion due to innovations such as reverse-engineering machinery for food processing.
“I am so excited to win the Anzisha Prize for 2016, even though I had to drop out of school when I was in grade six. My hard work in my business is paying off. I appreciate the training I have already received so far. Now that I have won, I will invest in my own education and grow my business,” said Heritiaina.
The first runner up for the prize, Yaye Souadou from Senegal and founder of E-cover, is also the first Senegalese entrepreneur ever in the top three in the history of Anzisha Prize. The core need the venture meets is to repurpose the many discarded tyres that are available in her home city, Dakar, into multi-purpose tiles for paving playgrounds, pavements, roads, and other surfaces. Yaye believes that youth can be agents of change to solve the problems that Africa faces and can drive pursuit of opportunities for economic growth. Her win will enable her to build the production capacity that her venture desperately needs in order to meet customer demand.
N’guessan Koffi Jacques Olivier from Côte d’Ivoire is the second runner-up who founded Yaletite Entrepreneurship Group CI. Yaletite Entrepreneurship Group CI is an agricultural group with the aim of producing and selling chocolate and food crops for profit and mobilizing youth for agricultural employment. It is unique for the manner in which Koffi operates his farm, through modern methods to ensure maximum yields during processing. Koffi has managed to tirelessly pursue this innovative venture, and create employment for 35 people. Koffi creates improved livelihoods for over 100 households through access to innovative farming practices.
The Anzisha Sector Prize in Agriculture was also awarded to N’guessan Koffi Jacques Olivier. The Anzisha Prize in Agriculture is offered with the sponsorship of the Louis Dreyfus Foundation, which promotes projects in the areas of sustainable agriculture, food security and self-sufficiency, particularly through education and direct support to farmers. The Louis Dreyfus Foundation Award for Entrepreneurship in Agriculture was offered for a second time this year, and aims to recognize young African entrepreneurs who are making a sustainable impact in the agricultural sector.
The MasterCard Foundation continues to support both entrepreneurs and the Anzisha Prize support program that the entrepreneurs will now access. “Joining the ranks of the Anzisha Fellows, this impressive group of young men and women are igniting the entrepreneurial spark in young people across Africa,” said Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, Youth Livelihoods at the MasterCard Foundation. “This ripple, the #AnzishaEffect has the power to transform the continent as these young entrepreneurs rise to become the next generation of change agents.”
“Anzisha Prize is a truly inclusive and pan-African Prize. The program is run in a multi-lingual learning environment in which entrepreneurs can learn regardless of their preferred language of instruction such as Arabic, French, Portuguese, and even Malagasy this year. The entrepreneurs really represent the true cream of the crop from the entire continent,” says Grace Kalisha, Program Manager for the Anzisha Prize.
The Anzisha Prize is a partnership between African Leadership Academy and the MasterCard Foundation. The 12 Anzisha Prize finalists were hand-picked from an applicant pool of 550 entrepreneurs from 32 African countries. Now in its sixth year, the Anzisha Prize winners were announced on Tuesday October 25, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The 12 finalists presented their ventures to a panel of judges after spending 10 days in a business accelerator camp to strengthen business fundamentals. They join a now 67 strong pool of Anzisha Fellows and will receive ongoing business-consulting support, access to experts, and access to networking opportunities to enable sustainable venture growth.
Applications for the next cycle of the Anzisha Prize will open on February 15, 2017 while nominations for promising youth entrepreneurs can be submitted throughout the year.