The Anzisha Prize is a leading venture-building program championing young African entrepreneurs between the ages 15 and 22. The initiative has officially opened applications for the 2023 cohort and can be accessed on anzishaprize.org/apply.
African changemakers who are under 22 years old and are running businesses and creating employment opportunities for their peers are encouraged to apply. Thirty fellows will then be selected for a three-year fellowship and receive business consulting support, over $5000 in cash stipends and coaching services from a team of experts.
“Application season is always an exciting time for the program because we get to see how Africa’s youth are thinking innovatively to solve some of our pressing issues. For the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in Agri-Tech and Fin-tech businesses that are reshaping how we do business on the continent,” says Selection Lead, Suzan Kibirige for The Anzisha Prize. “What I enjoy most about this work is seeing how tenacious young people are. They never take no for an answer and that is what we need.”
The Three-Year Fellowship at a glance
The fellowship supports the growth of young entrepreneurs and recognises and incentivises their achievements – big and small. Through an individual and collective entrepreneurial development journey, the fellowship focuses on key areas of support: Business Development and Personal Leadership. During the fellowship, entrepreneurs will have access to a plethora of tools, resources, and experiences, and access to a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Every six months, entrepreneurs will unlock key features such as cash stipends or experiential learning workshops and courses based on predetermined milestones they have achieved. At the end of the second year, entrepreneurs will pitch their improved business and plans for a chance to win their share of grand cash prizes valued at over $50,000.
Since 2011, Anzisha Prize, a partnership between Mastercard Foundation and African Leadership Academy, has supported and celebrated the entrepreneurial endeavours of very young people. The program alumni network includes 202 entrepreneurs who have gone on to create businesses that have transformed their communities. To date, just 130 of these fellows have created 8708 employment opportunities and have raised over $6 million in investments.
The fellowship has been an integral program in ensuring that young African entrepreneurs are celebrated and nurtured on their path to creating sustainable futures for those around them. “We encourage young job creators to apply for this opportunity and we are looking forward to championing their efforts, as creating clear pathways for young people to succeed is a core goal for Mastercard Foundation,” says Didi Onwu, Managing Editor of the Anzisha Prize.
Some of the entrepreneurs include alumni Joan Nalubega, a Ugandan entrepreneur who has proven that social entrepreneurship can be profitable. Having grown up as an orphan and battling Malaria-related illnesses as a young woman, Nalubega established Uganics – a company that produces anti-Malaria products to combat Malaria in the country.
Another notable entrepreneur is South African Karidas Tshintsholo. Tshintsholo’s business, Khula!, is one of the most admired African startups among investors. The startup’s business-to-business (B2B) marketplace helps small-scale farmers bring their products to formal markets, by offering them cost-effective logistics services. The company has signed up more than 3000 farmers, and over 100 suppliers now work with the company.
Those selected as Anzisha Prize fellows will become members of an active and dynamic community of changemakers across Africa who are exploring how to drive, scale, and make positive and lasting change in their communities through entrepreneurship.
The Anzisha Prize program is open to young people who are running businesses operating in any sector on the continent. Prospective applicants are encouraged to apply before the closing date of 27 November 2022. Entrepreneurs are advised to download the application guide and apply for the prize at anzishaprize.org/apply.