Last night Rise Academy was invited to attend the 2018 Anzisha Prize Awards Gala at African Leadership Academy. Always an inspiring event, we walked away with many new ideas and lessons to pass along to the Rise students.
The Anzisha prize selects 20 of the best young African entrepreneurs across the continent and gives them a platform to search for funding and development partners to take their businesses to the next level.
The keynote speaker this year was Sim Shagaya, a prestigious e-commence entrepreneur from Nigeria. He sees Africa’s youth as the solution to Africa’s problems. In particular, he believes that African entrepreneurs will provide solutions and guidance for the future. His exact words were, “It will take heroic ambition to fix this place, but entrepreneurs already have more credibility than politicians. You are literally the best of us. This comes with tremendous responsibility.”
We know that entrepreneurship drives social change and that entrepreneurs shape our future. It was nice to be reminded of this and we’re re-energized to continue inspiring our students and cultivating their entrepreneurial skills and mindsets.
Here are some of the young entrepreneurs that impressed us most this year.
Alhajisiraj Bah from Sierra Leone has developed a charcoal alternative that is made from coconut waste, the husks specifically. His product burns for longer than regular briquettes and is a brilliant sustainable alternative to burning charcoal. We hope his product reaches South Africa soon!
Richard Turere from Kenya has solved two problems with one product. Kenyan cattle farmers lose their livestock and livelihood to lions. As a result many lions are hunted by farmers to try solve this problem. Lions are a tourist drawcard for Kenya so the country needs to protect them and can’t afford to have them hunted by farmers. Richard’s solution to this catch 22 is his invention of ‘Lionlights.’ These lights are set off by sensors and are programed to emit light in sequences that mimic farmers walking around with flashlights. These lights are highly effective in deterring lions. Farmers no longer lose their livestock and the lions in turn are protected.
The winner of the Anzisha prize this year was Melissa Bime from Cameroon. Cameroon has a problem with efficiently delivering blood to patients in hospital who desperately need transfusions. She has created a blood bank and delivery system that can get blood to those in need via digital service.
All these entrepreneurs are under the age of 23. They are not only starting businesses, they are solving social problems, and creating jobs. The overwhelming message from this event was that the youth are the solution and they shouldn’t wait to get stuck into building Africa’s future. They should start now.