Ugandan Best Aiyorworth Wins the Grand Prize for the 2013 Anzisha Prize Celebrating Youth Entrepreneurs

In March, we announced the call for entries for the 2013 Anzisha Prize for young and innovative Africans with plans to change their community.

The Anzisha Prize is part of the  African Leadership Academy’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which was established through a multi-year partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. The idea behind the prize was to seek out young and innovate African entrepreneurs because Anzisha is a Swahili word which means initiative and this prize has been able to achieve just that – reward and support the initiative of the young African entrepreneur.

The shortlist of 12 finalists was released in August with each finalist bringing unique concepts to the table.

There were over 400 entries from 32 countries and these 12 finalists showed a distinct and remarkable passion for the projects they’re running. All the finalists are 23 years and below and we’re very excited that such positive energy is coming out of African youth.

Ugandan Best Aiyorworth has now emerged as the grand prize winner of the 2013 Anzisha prize. Best won the prize with her project the “Girls’ Power Micro Lending Organization“. She is described by the organizers as “an advocate for education in her home district Nebbi in northern Uganda. The 21-year-old has started the Girls’ Power Micro Lending Organisation. Its motto is “To help a mother, is to help a girl child.” Girls’ Power is a micro lending business that supports girls through their mothers. They give women starting capital or money to boost their existing businesses so that they are able to support their daughters with school fees and scholastic materials and ensure that they get an education. She has empowered over 400 women to date.”

The first runner up was fellow Ugandan Titus Mawano ,while Domitila Silayo of Tanzania was named as the second runner-up of this prestigious competition.

Between the three of them, the prize money of  $75,000 will be disbursed and shared with nine other finalists. They are to use the funds to continue their existing projects and improve on them. Aiyorworth received $25,000, Mawano $15,000 and Silayo $12,500. They also received networking and learning opportunities, provided through a partnership between the African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation.

A $10 000 Energy Award given by Donor Circle for Africa, went to Rwanda’s Joie Laurent Sangwa.

Here’s a little insight into a few of the finalists

Titus Mawano (22) wanted to get African businesses “in the cloud” and launched Ffene, a one-stop shop for a SMME’s accounting, customer and inventory management needs. With more than 400 current customers in the first six months of operation, Ffene is well on its way to revolutionising how SMMEs do business in Uganda.

Domitila Silayo (21) saw the potential of using the jathropa plant for cosmetic and medicinal uses. She began research on how to produce a soap made from the herbal plant that could heal a variety of skin problems including ringworm and dandruff. Jathropa Soap Production has gone on to help thousands of people in Tanzania fight off skin problems while turning a healthy profit and creating employment.

Nineteen-year-old Joie Laurent Sangwa from Burera in Rwanda realised that her community needed cheap and renewable energy resources. Working with a team, she discovered that human waste is a good source of energy and worked to install domestic biogas units throughout her home region. This offers a cheap, alternative energy source while helping with the environment.

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