A recent research paper on entrepreneurship development as a mechanism to curb youth unemployment, found that more than half of Africa’s population is under the age of 21 and two-thirds is under 30 years. In all African countries, the median age of the population is 20 years and up to one fifth is between the ages of 15 and 24. Youth will therefore be central to the future of Africa. It is thus vital that youth development and empowerment opportunities are created for young people to create innovative solutions, avoid poverty and lead better and more fulfilling lives.
The Anzisha Prize (@anzishaprize) is one such opportunity. Now in its fifth year, the Anzisha Prize is the premier award for young African entrepreneurs aged 15-22 whose passion for Africa drives them to design and develop projects that transform their communities and the continent. The Prize is the result of a partnership between the African Leadership Academy and The Mastercard Foundation. This year, 12 finalists will be selected to share a grand prize of $75,000.
Early bird applications will be reviewed from 15 March 2015 and the deadline for entries is 15 April 2015. Semi-finalists will be chosen on a rolling admissions basis so the earlier you submit your application, the better. The prize is named for the Swahili word for initiative, which is what the judges will undoubtedly look for as they screen applications according to the following criteria:
- Leadership Potential
Allan Gray Fellow, Ludwick Marishane, (@TheHeadboy) demonstrated all of the above and earned a place as one of eight finalists in the inaugural Anzisha Prize competition in 2011. Reflecting on his journey, the accomplished Founder and Inventor of DryBath® believes that no idea is too small. Marishane advises entrants to see the prize not just in terms of its financial reward but for the media-profiling, networking and business support opportunities that it presents. “I have made a life-long friendship with a fellow finalist. It’s wonderful getting peer advice and having him to bounce my ideas off,” he says.
These are the stories that make the #AnzishaEffect come alive – the power to encourage others to follow in the footsteps of the Anzisha Fellows. Africa needs strong, innovative, entrepreneurial young leaders to create jobs, solve problems and drive our economies. Peer mentors, youth business networks and inspirational young role models fuel the creation of successive generations of young entrepreneurs.
A second opportunity is the UN Habitat Urban Youth Fund which empowers urban youth in developing countries by providing grants and capacity building to selected youth-led organisations. The Youth Fund aims to advance the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals by piloting innovative approaches to employment, good urban governance, shelter and secure tenure. On average, more than 8,000 youth-led organisations apply each year and approximately 30 organisations are selected to receive a grant up to $25,000 each as well as capacity-building support. Like Anzisha, applications for the UN Habitat Urban Youth Fund also close on 15 April 2015.
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Good luck young entrepreneurs! Don’t delay, apply today!