$75,000 Anzisha Prize deadline extended to April 15

The application deadline for the 2014 Anzisha Prize has been extended to 11:59pm SAST on 15 April. The Anzisha Prize has received over 320 applications to date, a 150% increase from last year, with submissions coming from over 27 countries, including new entrants like Sudan, Togo and Namibia.

“We’ve worked hard this year to break down barriers to entry and increase youth access to the Anzisha Prize opportunity by translating official documents into French, Arabic, and Portuguese, partnering with youth and entrepreneurship organisations and media across the continent, and hosting regional indaba events in each corner of the continent – Johannesburg, Lagos, Cairo and Nairobi,” says programme manager Chi Achebe.

However, applications from North Africa and female applicants continue to wane. There is also an interest in seeing more applications who tackle renewable energy, agribusiness, retail, hospitality, construction and manufacturing solutions – sectors that are increasingly of critical importance for the African continent.

“In a statement last week, we posed important questions around youth entrepreneurship in North Africa, among women, and in specific sectors in an effort to ignite a dialogue and engage organisations and young people that work within these fields,” continues Achebe. “The response thus far has been excellent and we’ve extended the deadline to give more access to young people to apply.”

Organisations, educators and individuals are encouraged to nominate young people to apply online. So far no applications have been received from the following countries: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger and South Sudan.

In just three years, the Anzisha Prize – hosted by the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation – has grown into one of the most sought after awards for young entrepreneurs globally. On top of the significant cash prizes, the 12 Anzisha finalists are flown to South Africa for a powerful one-week entrepreneurship program on ALA’s campus and a culminating awards ceremony that crowns the grand prize winners. The 12 finalists also join a growing Anzisha fellowpreneur network of the continent’s top youth entrepreneurs.

Current Anzisha fellows include Andrew Mupuya (Uganda), who was recently featured on CNN for his growing paper bag manufacturing empire; Kolawole Olajide (South Africa/Nigeria), developer of online education platform Funda; rabbit farm owner Laetitia Mukungu (Kenya); and Khaled Shady (Egypt), inventor of Mubser, a wearable belt for the visually impaired. Shady was recently listed by Forbes as among the 30 most promising young entrepreneurs under 30. Profiles for all 33 of our past Anzisha fellows are available online.

The Anzisha Prize seeks to find youth between the ages of 15 and 22 who have started and actively run a social venture or for-profit business with potential. The judging panel is looking for ventures that demonstrate ingenuity, scale and positive impact.

Aspiring fellows can apply directly online at anzishaprize.org or at the offices of any one of the 2014 country partners. Application forms are available in English, French or Arabic, and will be accepted through April 15.

Follow the story of this year’s Anzisha Prize and what has become known as the #AnzishaEffect online, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.