Brought to you by: The Anzisha Prize
Applications for the 2016 Anzisha Prize will close on the 30 April, and this is the last chance for African entrepreneurs between 15 and 22 to apply.
Already the Prize has received an impressive pool of applicants. As in previous years, the majority have come from African countries with larger populations or more developed entrepreneurial ecosystems – such as Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Cameroon and Rwanda.
However, there are some entrepreneurs who are the sole applicants from a number of countries – and we decided to highlight a few.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Finalists for the Anzisha Prize have not been announced. The entrepreneurs profiled below have been selected randomly, and are not necessarily winners.
Swaziland’s aspiring business advisory firm
Lungile Manyatsi (22), who is currently pursuing a degree in business management, is the founder of Great Stars Marketing and Advertising Company in Mbabane, Swaziland. The business targets start-ups run by young entrepreneurs and it offers various services – from marketing strategies to business guidance around accessing finance and developing business plans.
“Most people have great ideas but lack the guidance as to how they can go about putting their ideas into practice. My company offers those services to young entrepreneurs who are hungry for success and eager to make it. This helps create more jobs for young unemployed youth, therefore reducing crime and poverty.”
While the company is still in its own start-up phase, and is struggling with access to finance, Manyatsi hopes to see it grow to impact many other start-ups in Swaziland and beyond.
“To see the youth getting jobs, not from big companies but from their peers, will encourage them to work even harder so they can have the same success.”
Fresh farm produce in The Gambia
Modou Lamin Gassama (21) is an ambitious young Gambian entrepreneur who has recently started an agriculture business. His company, Visionary Enterprise Group, is still in the pilot phase and is looking to increase its production of fresh produce and vegetables on a 16 hectare urban farm.
A huge part of the venture’s business model is around youth employment and, as the business expands, Gassama hopes to implement a skills development programme.
“Part of the income generated from the business will be used to support the training of youth interested in agriculture and contribute in the Vision 2016 food self-sufficiency agenda of the Gambian government – which requires concerted efforts,” he explains.
“Most importantly the business will discourage the desperate journey taken by many youths to Italy by engaging in productive agribusiness.”
German language classes in Benin
Hounsou Grâce (22) completed her German language university studies last year, and decided to use her knowledge to start a business. She has recently started Deutsch Fitness Zentrum which teaches the German language to aid students in their studies, or help people develop specialised skills that can help them get certain jobs.
“Through our project students can better understand their German teacher at school, become more skilled and develop a leadership talent,” adds Grâce.
“We also write and sell a monthly journal for German students in public and private schools.”
She hopes to acquire funding to invest in more teaching material to grow capacity.
Budding natural cosmetics company in Niger
Lamine Chamsiya (20) founded her health and beauty products company, E3D Cosmetique, two years ago in Niamey, Niger. The business manufactures and sells cosmetics and consumer products made with extracts from the neem tree, which offers health benefits. For example, the company produces a soap that protects consumers against mosquito bites and acts as an antiseptic. And its neem oil for skin and hair care also offers a natural alternative to many of the harmful chemical products used for skin lightening in the market.
The company has four full-time staff members and also provides work for many others during times of harvesting the neem.
“E3D is a solution for the preservation and protection of the health of the population, but also an alternative to synthetic pesticides for sustainable environmental management. We contribute positively to the fight against malaria, the food crisis, unemployment and poverty,” explains Chamsiya.
“We have a large value chain that begins with the collection and transformation of the neem grain. We have created hundreds of temporary jobs, principally during times of collecting grains, and we provide our customers with innovative products which meets environmental standards.”