Two Nigerians, Abdulwaheed Alayande and Emmanuel Okon made the cut among 20 finalists to contend for the $25,000 Anzisha Prize for young African Entrepreneurs.

Over 500 budding African entrepreneurs applied for the award, across Africa. The winner will be announced at the ninth Anzisha Prize Forum on 22 October in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Alayande is the founder of TREP LABS, an enterprise offering a product called REALDRIP, which is an infusion meter that makes blood transfusion and drip treatment simpler and safer. Okon founded Vmedkit – a health company that focuses on alleviating mental illnesses using virtual reality technology.

The Anzisha Prize, an African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation partnership, is dedicated to identifying, supporting and celebrating young African entrepreneurs between the ages of 15-22 on the continent whose ideas, ventures and businesses harness the power to redefine and reimagine Africa’s growth trajectory.

Applicants from Somalia to Chad showcased their business acumen with enterprises that provide solutions to some of the continent’s biggest problems.

According to the organisers, the Prize Forum has been stepped up from being just a gala event.

Invited guests will experience a new format, including a day-long affair where they will have an opportunity to get to know and understand the young entrepreneurs’ journeys. They will share in an immersive experience where they will better understand the world of youth entrepreneurship – from expert panels to experiential workshops. The event will be a bevy of innovative discussions and activities.

“This year, we’re particularly excited about the new format. We’ve created a tailored experience that will allow people to explore the Anzisha movement in all its entirety,” said Melissa Mbazo, Anzisha Program Manager. “From start to finish, the day will look at shaping the future of entrepreneurship on the continent and young entrepreneurs will be at the helm, steering the conversations.”

While the candidates are from various sectors, agricultural businesses submitted the highest number of applications this year. Excitingly, for the very first time, finalists from The Gambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia have been chosen as part of the 2019 cohort.

The Anzisha Prize Forum
The top 20 will gather in Johannesburg for a 12-day accelerator boot camp where they will be coached by local and global experts in preparation for the independent judging panel who will decide the winner of the $25,000 USD Grand Prize. The boot camp marks the start of the Anzisha Prize fellowship, through which each entrepreneur will access coaching support, market access services and further funding opportunities.

“Africa’s greatest asset is its young people and the Anzisha Prize Forum, now in its ninth year, is a testament to their passion and creativity,” said Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, Mastercard Foundation. “Their commitment to the continent is reflected in the very nature of the businesses they choose, often focussed on social good and on improving the lives of those around them.”

All the 20 finalists:

Asia Saeed, 20, Somalia: Founder of 2doon, a social enterprise established to reduce unemployment for the Somalian youth.

Godiragetse Fareed Mogajane, 21, South Africa: Founder of Goodie tutors, a tutoring agency which provides extra tutorial classes by offering one-on-one tutoring; university pre-exam workshops, and exam-focused math workshops for high school students.

Marvellous Nyongoro, 22, Zimbabwe: Founder of The Housing Hub, a service provision platform founded by Marvellous that uses smart technology.