Nigerian Hephzibah Ijeje among 20 finalists for Anzisha Prize

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Nigerian young entrepreneur Hephzibah Ijeje has emerged among the top 20 finalists for the Anzisha Prize.

Ijeje, who is 20 years old, is the co-founder of Port Harcourt-based Recyclift, a recycling company with the sole focus of recycling plastic bottles and plastic bottle caps.

The Anzisha Prize rewards Africa’s young entrepreneurs. A record 1 200 applicants vied for a chance to join the Anzisha Prize fellowship, now in its 10 year.

The winners will be announced at this year’s Anzisha Prize Conference on the 27th of October,

The other 19 finalists are from Ghana, Madagascar, Uganda, South Africa, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Cameroon and Sierra Leone.

Others are from Benin, Kenya, Malawi and Egypt.

“2020 has seen a global shift in the future of work. This year’s applicants have personified the resilience and innovation that Africa needs as we navigate our way into a post-COVID-19 future,” said Melissa Mbazo-Ekepenyong, Deputy Director of the Anzisha Prize.

For the past decade, the Anzisha Prize, which is a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, has championed and supported very young African entrepreneurs.

The programme has supported 122 entrepreneurs and 77 of those businesses have created over 2 000 jobs, with 56% of those being employment provided for young Africans under 25.

Peter Materu, Chief Program Officer, Mastercard Foundation said, “The success of the Anzisha Prize over the last decade stands as a resounding testament to the creativity and entrepreneurial potential of Africa’s very young people—a hugely under-tapped resource.

“Through Anzisha, we’re reminded of what they can achieve when challenged and enabled to own and solve the problems they see around them. Now, as ever, the innovations that have emerged through the Anzisha Prize inspire and renew our faith in and commitment to their promise.”

This year, the top 20 will gather virtually from their various countries to share knowledge and learn from expert coaches and mentors as they prepare for their final pitches to a panel of external judges. All the entrepreneurs will receive a cash prize of $2 500. The grand prize winner will receive $25 000, while the 1st runner and 2nd runner receive $15 000 and $12 500 respectively.

The 2020 finalists for the Anzisha Prize are:

Mustapha Zeroual, 22, Morocco: Founder of IA4YOU, a business/social initiative that designs different systems and digital platforms using artificial intelligence.

Aseitu Olivia Kipo, 22, Ghana: Founder of agribusiness Kobaa-Ok that focuses on the production and sales of vegetables and providing training and advisory services for other agri-entrepreneurs with farming businesses.

Omonlola Loïs Aniambossou, 21, Benin: Founder of Abiathar Services, a business that offers installation, monitoring and repair services for owners of electrical appliances.

Ian Khonje, 20, Malawi: Founder of an innovative agri-business called Ian Khonje Food Processers (IKFP) that procures raw baobab from smallholder farmers – both within Malawi and from Mozambique – and produces and packages baobab jam.

Mohamed Bah, 22, Sierra Leone: Founder of Information For All (IFA) an NGO that constructs drills and repairs water wells and toilets – enabling water sustainability and hygiene for water deprived communities.

Benjamin Mushayija Gisa, 21, Rwanda: founder of Kaso, a manufacturing company that manufactures and packages natural organic products both for consumption (e.g. honey, tea, oils, baking soda) and for cosmetic purposes (e.g. lotions, bee wax, coconut soap).

Joshua Adabie Armah, 22, Ghana: founder of PopKing Ghana, a business that sells fresh popcorn in multiple flavors to vendors in Ghana.

Adjei Nyamekye, 17, Ghana: founder of Mosquito Trapping and Emergency LED Bulbs, an initiative that sells state of the art light bulbs that provide 12 hours of emergency electricity during power outages and trap mosquitoes.

Wilfred Chege, 20, Kenya: co-founder of Shulemall Limited, an e-commerce platform that sells uniforms, textbooks, stationary, etc. for students in boarding schools.

Abdelouahab Toukkart, 22, Morocco: founder of Isla Pack, a business that processes used industrial paper into boxes and wrappings for confectionery items.

Mahlatse Matlakana, 22, South Africa: the founder of Wozilex, an agri-business that produces and sells vegetables.

Abdul Dumbuya, 21, Sierra Leone: co-founder of a social enterprise that produces raw ginger and processes it into ginger powder. The social enterprise uses 25% of its generated revenue to support educational programs.

Saly Sarr, 22, Senegal: founder of SallyMaa, a fashion brand that designs and manufactures leather accessories such as heels and sandals for women of all ages.

Frida Agbor-Ebai Nenembou, 20, Cameroon: founder of Supreme Sparkle, a multifaceted business that offers tailoring, salon and spa services.

Jonathan Paul Katumba, 22, Uganda: founder of Minute5 – an online grocery delivery service with a focus on fresh farm products. Minute5 sources fresh fruits, vegetables, and other produce from small scale farmers and then delivers to consumers and businesses.

Alaa Moatamed, 21, Egypt: co-founder of Presto, one of the leading delivery management platforms in Egypt. The venture enables business owners to provide an affordable and convenient delivery service to their customers.

Hamidu Biha, 22, Uganda: founder of Biha Eco Venture, an innovative recycling company that uses poultry eggshells to make various eco-friendly products including eco-charcoal and eco-tiles.

David Denis, 22, Tanzania: founder of Cutoff Recycle, a Tanzania-based human hair waste recycling venture.

Matina Razafimahefa, 22, Madagascar: founder of an innovative EdTech venture based in Madagascar. The business sources, trains, and produces highly equipped young Africans in industry-specific digital skills.

Ijeje Hephzibah, 20, Nigeria: Co-founder of Recyclift, a Nigerian based recycling company with the sole focus of recycling plastic bottles and plastic bottle caps.