The Anzisha Prize, Africa’s premier entrepreneurship initiative for young people of ages of 15 – 22, on Tuesday announced its next cohort of 30 leading young entrepreneurs set to join its three-year Venture Building Program.

The prize, which was launched in 2011, is a partnership between the Mastercard Foundation and the Africa Leadership Academy and the only venture program of its kind in Africa.

Its next cohort includes pacesetters in health, agriculture, fashion and education sectors and join 172 young African entrepreneurs who have passed through the fellowship since 2011.

Businesses and entrepreneurs showing model growth and initiative get benefits and services like short courses, cloud services and cash stipends worth $140,000 (an equivalent of Sh17.2 million) over three years.

“This year, we received a record number of 1,888 applications. This is particularly encouraging, as we have remodelled the program slightly to award progress and achievement over some time,” said Anzisha Prize Executive Director Josh Adler.

Adler added: “Young people are looking for committed support that improves the longevity of their businesses and it’s been especially exciting to see young women take up this opportunity with 17 young women being part of the top 30.”

He said the prize is boosted by a few fintech businesses that have worked with early-age entrepreneurs over the last decade and seen their impact on the economy.

“We continue to create an enabling environment – making it easier for them to do business through support programs like ours, which build debt-free instruments that are useful for these entrepreneurs,” he went on.

The prize awards young entrepreneurs who have developed and implemented innovative solutions to social challenges and started successful businesses in their communities.

The Adler says the program has been redesigned to run for three years per cohort with the fellows graduating and joining the Anzisha Prize alumni network when the three years end.

The applying entrepreneurs, who represented 11 sectors, were rigorously assessed on their leadership potential, scalability and job-creation potential of their business models.

Further, 17 countries across Africa and all five regions within the continent have a representative in the top 30 and include Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Egypt and Mali.

The fellowship will recognise growth and impact over time with fellows accessing business training, mentorship, learning initiatives and access to key networks and Anzisha alumni.

At the end of the second year, entrepreneurs will have the chance to win one of four grand prizes and have their business growth evaluated by a panel of external judges in Job Creation, Revenue Growth, Integrating Systems and Storytelling categories.

Each winner will be walk away with a cash prize of $10,000.

“One of the most exciting things we have seen with the Anzisha Prize is that young entrepreneurs who create jobs are far more likely to hire other young people,” said Philip Cotton, Human Capital Development Executive Director at the Mastercard Foundation.

He added: “As a Foundation focused on enabling 30 million young people in Africa, particularly young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work, the implications of this finding are clear: investing in young people’s leadership—including as entrepreneurs—is profoundly catalytic.”

Cotton noted that the solutions offered by cohorts are part of how many countries will solve some of the world’s most complex challenges including unemployment among the youth.

The 2022 Anzisha Prize Fellows are:

• Lynnet Muritu (21, Kenya) – She is the founder of MimiPambo, a jewellery company that uses recycled material to create genderless pieces for everyday wear.

• Collins Kathuli (20, Kenya) – He is the founder of Kyanda, a fintech business with a 360-degree digital financial service through its infrastructure that serves both individuals and businesses.

• Abubakar Sadick Fuseini (22, Ghana) – he is the founder of Quick Step Delivery, a logistics and delivery company based in Ghana.

• Aminata Becanty Coulibaly (22 Côte d’Ivoire) – She is the founder of L’Africaine, a company that produces hair and skin products for the modern Ivoiran woman.

• Athingahangwi Ramabulana, (22, South Africa) – He is the founder of Athinga’s Corner, a restaurant and catering company that provides nutritious and healthy meals to university students.

• Baké Faouziyatou Bani (21, Benin) – She is the founder of El Gusto, a business that is involved in the production of naturally sourced foods.

• Delali Magnon (21, Togo) – she is the founder of Ladies Delight, an online business that sells taro, sweet potato, and potato chips.

• Gustave Chabilakoun (22, Benin) – He is the founder of Bio Production, a firm producing and commercializing organic green chilli, using the aqueous extract of neem as a biopesticide.

• Joseph Ssempebwa (22, Uganda) – He is the founder of Scaling Pathways, a firm aiming to grow agricultural activity by introducing a Pay-for-Use for farming communities in Uganda.

• Mathias Charles Yabe (22, Ghana) – He is the founder of Ako Fresh, an initiative offering a green preservation solution to smallholder farmers and traders to help reduce the menace of post-harvest losses.

• Noreen Mutavhatsindi (22, South Africa) – She is the founder of Phindulo Tutoring, a tutoring company with a mission to improve the grades of all learners in schools.

• Oumar Mamoudou Sylla (22, Mali) – He is the founder of Sylla bio et Divers, a social enterprise that assists rural communities in Mali to develop a sustainable economy through agricultural training.

• Salimata Traoure (22, Mali) – He is the founder Sa’Hello, a company that manufactures and sells cashew nuts-based products such as juice and syrup in Mali.

• Sharon Yayra Alornyeku (22, Ghana) – She is the founder of PengStreet, a fashion house that sells clothes to meet the fashion needs of university students.

• Upendo Ngussa (22, Tanzania) – She is the founder of Mkaa Safi, a company that deals in the production of renewable energy from agricultural wastes.

• Mahmoud Ali Soltan (22, Egypt) – He is the founder of Shabab Talented, a youth initiative that brings together youths who have scientific and practical qualifications with community participation and experiences in volunteer life.

• Amina Nakiboneka (22, Uganda) – She is the founder of Mon Amie Cakes, a catering company that creates and sells baked goods.

• Bassim-swé Bamassi (22, Togo) – He is the founder of H-express courier, a company that transports meals, packages, and goods to households.

• Bismwa Gulain (21, Democratic Republic of Congo) – He founded Bing, a processing business that turns raw produce into bread, porridge, and biscuits, which are then sold to customers.

• Angela Razafindravonona (21, Madagascar) – She founded Ascent, a women’s clothing business creating statement pieces for the modern Malagasy woman.

• Gaoagwe Jeje (22, South Africa) – He is the founder of Kgosi Poultry, a farming business that deals with the production of chickens for meat consumption.

• Jessica Gybere (22, Burkina Faso) – She founded Africa Energy and Service, a company that provides electrical, solar systems, and photovoltaic lighting installations.

• Mariana Mahitiko (22, Democratic Republic of Congo) – She founded Top Confection, a company that sells women's and men's clothing made from bespoke African materials.

• Vanessa Ngwi (21, Cameroon) – She is the co-founder of Papylon, a clothing line devoted to producing high-quality designs for customers of all ages.

• Willine Ikerezi (22, Rwanda) – She is the founder of DotPharma, an e-pharmacy platform that allows patients or caregivers to order medicines and other personal care products (cosmetics, food supplements, etc.) and have them delivered to their homes.

• N’zinga Antonio (22, Angola) – He is the founder of Gailza, a bakery that specialises in selling cakes and pastry products and also provides training to customers in pastry-making and baking.

• Sheila Chivura (20, Mozambique) – She founded Quitutes, a home-based online restaurant/food service that ensures the customer's comfort in ordering delicious meals.

• Ivo Bonfirm (19, Angola) – He is the CEO of Optica Ipris, a vision centre in Angola that manufactures lenses and frames for glasses.

• Abdulwhab Mohamed (22, Egypt) - He founded Alfarysy, a water tank cleaning company based in North Egypt that serves residential homes by draining, cleaning and facilitating the refill of the tanks.

• Mohamed Mahmoud (22, Egypt) - Mohamed Mahmoud is the founder of Mahweeb, an app that connects talented soccer players with sports clubs and talent scouts.