Young innovators eye Sh10 million funding programme

Kenya’s youngest innovators are looking at Sh10 million funding for their ideas after nominations open for this year’s Anzisha Prize by Mastercard Foundation and partners.

This is even as the prize is set to open a second process to accept applications on February 15.

The Anzisha Prize is an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation and the African Leadership Academy that aims to recognise founders under 22 years that have implemented innovative solutions to social challenges or started successful businesses in their locality.

The challenge will this year award 20 entrepreneurs across Africa with prizes worth Sh10 million including a grand prize of Sh2.3 million to the overall winner. The remainder will be awarded to the 17 finalists with each getting Sh250,000. A finalist will receive a Sh1milion agriculture prize.

Last year, two Kenyans were among 20 of Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs selected to compete for a share of Sh10 million cash prize.

Access to markets

They were Kevin Kibet (22), who is the founder of FarmMoja Ltd, a firm that works with smallholder farmers by giving them training and access to markets.

Richard Turere, 18 is the founder of Lion Lights, a firm that distributes LED lights that repel lions from coming close to livestock.

However, Melissa Bime, 22 of Cameroon, Alhaji Siraj Bah 18 of Sierra Leone, and Joan Nalubega, 21 from Uganda clinched the winner, first and second runners up positions respectively.

The three also won Sh2.5 million Sh1.5 million and 1.25 million respectively where Ms Bime was recognised for co-founding Infiuss, a Yaounde-based online blood bank that helps connect hospitals that have blood to those that don’t.

Mr Bah is the founder of Rugsal Trading, a firm that produces handcrafted paper bags and briquettes while Ms Nalubega, is the co-founder of Uganics that produces mosquito-repellent soap.  

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