Kenyan among Anzisha Prize finalists

NAIROBI, KENYA: A 20-year-old Kenyan is among 15 African finalists selected for the seventh Anzisha Prize Awards.

Gerald Matolo runs Angaza Africa Technologies, which provides a safe and affordable source of household and industrial energy through briquettes.

According to the company, the briquettes are “smokeless, burn for longer periods (six to eight hours) compared to charcoal, and are dust-free”.

Gerald, whose company also sells briquette-making machines from Sh18,000, is among young African entrepreneurs selected because their businesses are creating job opportunities, solving local development problems and driving economies.

The competition drew 800 entries from across the continent, with Angola, Liberia, Mauritius and Sudan participating for the first time. The 15 finalists were drawn from 14 countries.

“We are excited by the number of young women finalists (at nearly 50 per cent) and thrilled that the prize is contributing to their economic empowerment,” Anzisha Prize Associate Melissa Mbazo said. “The success of these women-led businesses will be accelerated by access to Anzisha’s financial and mentorship support.”

Gerald will fly to Johannesburg alongside the other 14 finalists to attend a 10-day entrepreneurial leadership bootcamp, where they will be coached on how to pitch their businesses to a panel of judges for a share of $100,000 (Sh10.4 million) worth of prizes and support.

The grand prize winner will receive $25,000 (Sh2.6 million), while second and third-placed finalists will receive $15,000 (Sh1.6 million) and $12,500 (Sh1.3 million), respectively.

The remainder of the prize will be divided among outstanding finalists, including a $10,000 (Sh1.4 million) agricultural prize, as well as four $5,000 (Sh520,000) challenge prizes to bolster initiatives led by past Anzisha Prize finalists. All other finalists will each receive $2,500 (Sh260,000) in prizes.

Gerald will also benefit from the African Leadership Academy’s Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit (YES-U), which provides consulting and training support for Anzisha finalists.

This includes the Anzisha Accelerator bootcamp, mentorship and consulting services, travel opportunities to network, and business equipment.

The annual Anzisha Prize is supported by the African Leadership Academy in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.

Some of the other 2017 finalists for the Anzisha Prize are:

1. Victoria Olimatunde, 15, Nigeria: Victoria is the founder of Bizkids, which teaches high school students about financial literacy, and encourages them to create jobs as entrepreneurs.

2. Edgar Edmund, 17, Tanzania: Edgar is the founder of GreenVenture Tanzania, which recycles plastic waste into cheap and affordable building products, like paving blocks.

3. Rebecca Andrianarisandy, 20, Madagascar: Rebecca is the founder of GasGasy, which supplies affordable, environmentally-friendly and sustainable bio-fertiliser made in Madagascar.

4. Ignatius Ahumuza, 21, Uganda: Ignatius is one of the founders of Art Planet Academy, which provides practical agriculture training in schools.

5. Satta Wahab, 21, Liberia: Satta is the founder of Naz Naturals, a cosmetics company that creates organic hair care products from unrefined shea butter.

6. Ajiroghene Omanudhowo, 22, Nigeria: Ajiroghene is the founder of three businesses operating under ‘360 Needs’. ASAFOOD delivers food to universities, ASADROP is a logistics company specialising in parcel delivery, and Beta Grades helps students prepare for exams by providing them with computer training.

7. Dina Mohamed Ibrahim, 22, Egypt: Dina is a founder of Metro Co-Working Space, which rents work spaces to entrepreneurs and provides workshops and resources for them to thrive.