By Iminza Keboge
Published December 6, 2020
Winners of the 2020 Anzisha Prize that is touted as being the premier award for Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs have been announced.
Alaa Moatamed, a young female entrepreneur whose venture provides business owners with an affordable and convenient delivery service for customers, has beaten a field of 20 finalists from 15 African countries to the US$25,000 Grand Prize.
Matina Razafimahefa, the first runner up, has won US$15 000 for her Sayna, an innovative EdTech venture that ‘sources, trains and produces highly equipped young Africans in industry-specific digital skills, while the second runner up, Mohamed Bah, has won US$12500 for his Information for All venture that constructs drills and repairs water wells and toilets while ensuring water sustainability and hygiene for water deprived communities.
The 20 finalists were selected from an initial pool of more than 1,000 young entrepreneurs, up from 600 in 2019. The Anzisha Prize organisers say they are proud to have attracted applicants from more than 30 African countries, across multiple sectors.
“Each of the 20 finalists, who made it through the rigorous selection process, will receive $2,500 and will have the opportunity to join a fellowship of 122 entrepreneurs who receive venture building support and mentorship,” the organisers say. “Since 2011, Anzisha Fellows have created over 2,000 jobs – 56 percent of which have been for young Africans under 25.”
Oh, back to the winners and their initiatives.
At an early age, Alaa Moatamed had a passion for business. In 2016, she participated in EYouth where she co-founded and headed her first initiative “Fettrah”, a project aimed at teaching people with mental disabilities. After Fettrah, Alaa went on to co-found CFI “Camps for Intelligent,” an organisation targeting youth aged 12 to 17 that provided them with skills not offered in traditional schools like art and design, Android and web design, and languages. Through CFI, Alaa and her team reached more than 70 young people. Post 2017, Alaa worked as a community manager for a Cloud co-working space, one of the leading business hubs in Al Minya, Egypt. With the sum of her experiences, Alaa co-founded Presto.
Presto is an automated delivery system that connects vendors with customers and suppliers. The platform provides a crowd-sourced network of delivery agents for small businesses. Presto has been successful since it launched in 2019 and serves 300 stores and merchants in two cities.
“Across upper Egypt, I saw people suffering from the problem we are solving and I wanted to try my best to help them, especially small businesses owned by women. I want to expand my service across Africa to help women who are suffering from operational hassles.” says Moatamed.
Matina Razafimahefa, on her part, is the founder of Sayna, an innovative EdTech venture. Her business sources, trains, and produces highly equipped young Africans in industry-specific digital skills. Since its inception, the venture has expanded its training to Comoros, Ivory Coast, Benin, and Senegal. To date, Sayna has placed 80 percent of its students in the global IT marketplace.
Mohamed Bah, the third winner, is the founder of Information for All (IFA), a venture that constructs drills and repairs water wells and toilets, which ensures water sustainability and hygiene for water deprived communities. To date, the IFA team has drilled over 20 wells and provided clean water to thousands of people.
“The young people who have participated in the Anzisha Prize over the last decade remind us that betting on Africa’s young people is a recipe for success,” says keynote speaker, Reeta Roy, President and CEO of Mastercard Foundation. “Now more than ever, we need their entrepreneurial spirit.”
The Anzisha Prize is a partnership between African Leadership Academy and the Mastercard Foundation. The 2020 Anzisha Prize Finalists were celebrated on Tuesday, October 27, during the programme’s 10th year virtual awards ceremony.
Applications for the next cycle of the Anzisha Prize will open on February 15 , 2021 and anyone interested in nominatingyoung entrepreneurs may do so from the Anzisha.org/nominate/ website.